7 Ways Your Children Might Bypass Parental Control Software

Gavin Phillips 21-04-2016

During my formative schooling years, when I really should’ve have been studying, I was putting my time to much better use. The Internet was a wonderful place full of amusing videos, school-specific bulletin-boards, and endless sites filled with amazing Flash games. However, the school overlords and network administrator decided this wasn’t okay, and they reasoned we should be using our time for much more useful activities.


Like studying.

Of course, it really didn’t take long to find a workaround. Children are smart, and Google is an easily accessible resource.

Security is now tighter, and we more readily consider just what our children will be accessing on our home networks. There are out-of-the-box parental controls installed in most devices, as well as a plethora of third-party applications we can use to track and protect them. But just because you’ve installed a safety net, that doesn’t mean your children won’t find a way to navigate through it.

Here’s how they’ll do it!

Proxy Sites

The big one from my restricted Internet days, proxy sites divert traffic via an innocent address, unobstructed by any filters. This means instead of your child attempting to visit directly, they’ll head to a site such as, and simply tap the restricted address into the site search bar.


The proxy site takes care of business, routing the request to an external server which in turn retrieves the content on the user’s behalf.

Proxy Site with Fake URL

Filtering software shouldn’t be able to trace the communication between the proxy site and the external server, but the proxy site itself will be listed in a filter. Many filters actually block the most popular proxy sites for exactly this reason. However, this can have other, unintended effects.

Any particularly dedicated child could eventually find a proxy site that works — they appear and disappear all the time — and while many proxy services are legitimate, your child may happen upon one that is not. A few “innocent” clicks here and there could lead to a massively irritating crapware cleanup, or worse, a full blown malware issue.


Changing or Brute-Forcing Passwords

An extremely common method of bypassing parental controls is by simply changing the password. I know my parents use a specific password on certain accounts, and have done since I was young. It made it easy to alter settings to my own choosing How to Disable Access to the Settings App and Control Panel in Windows 10 Let's see how you can disable access to both the Settings app and the Control Panel in Windows 10. Read More without alerting anyone to my presence. If the kids know your password, this could be a distinct possibility.

If your child is a little older, and a little more web savvy, they may have explored how to reset your password using their own in-house social engineering. Sure, a stranger doesn’t know the name of your first pet, your mother’s maiden name, and your favorite meal. But the kid’s sure do. And even if they don’t, will you notice they’re asking as part of a semi-elaborate social engineering scheme to change your passwords, or take it as an inquisitive mind?

Finally, and this is really unlikely, your child may brute-force your password. I cannot imagine why this would happen in day-to-day life, or where they would find access to this level of security tool. I would also hazard that if your child knows about and can make use of the powerful tools used for password cracking, you might have other info-sec issues taking place under your roof.

Different Wi-Fi

How well do you know your neighbors? You must know their names. Maybe their birthdays, names of pets, and a contact number for emergencies. How about their Wi-Fi password?


Okay, so this is becoming increasingly normal, especially if you are indeed friendly with your neighbors. But families living within a reasonable proximity to one another are likely to experience some Wi-Fi broadcast overlap. This means their SSID is viewable from your home. If their network security isn’t up to scratch, your child could easily log onto their unsecured network to access whatever content they desire.

It might not even be a case of lackadaisical Internet security, either. If your kids rampage in a cohort with the neighborhood kids, it could be as easy as asking one of the older children what their Wi-Fi password is. If it has been altered from an alphanumeric code to something “easy to remember,” 6 Tips For Creating An Unbreakable Password That You Can Remember If your passwords are not unique and unbreakable, you might as well open the front door and invite the robbers in for lunch. Read More it’ll be even easier to pass forward.


It isn’t just adults escaping regional Netflix restrictions using a Virtual Private Network. Just as with proxy sites, you’ll find numerous discreet, free VPN solutions prepared to encrypt your children’s search How Does Encryption Work, and Is It Really Safe? Read More entries and the route between their PC and the company servers.

Free solutions usually come with caveats such as speed restrictions, data logging, or a download cap, somewhat limiting the scope of achievable activities. That said, it is feasible they could switch between several VPNs installed on their system to mitigate download caps and speed restrictions. As well as this, it really is quite difficult to spot someone using a VPN with a cursory over-the-shoulder glance.


If they are using a VPN, detecting their bypassing of parental filters will be extremely difficult. Your router will not show a new, alien IP address. Your broadband provider will have no access to the content delivered. Some VPNs do log the user data, for law enforcement and marketing purposes, but they are still unlikely to share the details of your children’s VPN searches with you.

Portable Browsers

I always installed a different browser on my home computers. Aside from the fact Internet Explorer was largely unhelpful, other browsers were faster, more secure, and came with many more features. It also meant I had sole control over what was seen within the browser history, and I could delete it as and when I needed.

Daily Tor Users

Most people know about browser InPrivate or Incognito modes, including the kids (age dependent, of course). Safe search filtering tools still catch blacklisted URLs, even when using private mode. Particularly savvy teenagers may have brushed up on their personal security homework, and be aware of the TOR Browser Really Private Browsing: An Unofficial User’s Guide to Tor Tor provides truly anonymous and untraceable browsing and messaging, as well as access to the so called “Deep Web”. Tor can’t plausibly be broken by any organization on the planet. Read More , which can easily be installed and deployed from a USB stick.

The TOR Browser reroutes web traffic through different international locations, consisting of more than 7,000 individual relays. This multi-layered routing makes it nearly impossible to ascertain what content a user is viewing while using the browser. Its inbuilt focus on privacy and anonymity are an excellent prospect for bypassing your filters.

“Accidental” Image Viewing

A slightly trivial “bypass” method, but I’m sure many children have stumbled upon this. Incognito and InPrivate mode browsing tabs still adhere to most safe search filters, dutifully blocking content and relaying the details to concerned parents. However, a user can enter their search, most likely in Google, then select the Image tab, effectively bypassing the safe search filter.

Most of the major search engine providers host and cache content on their own servers, meaning when the search is entered, there is no specific URL to filter, and numerous related images will be displayed.

Google Translate Proxy

This is another bypass method I would expect some children to be aware of. If a URL is blocked, they can use Google Translate as a makeshift proxy 4 Fun Things to Do with Google Translate Read More . It is as easy as setting a language you do not speak in the text input field, entering the URL you wish to access, and waiting for Google to automatically translate it.

The “translated” URL will become a link. The site will open in full, albeit within Google Translate. This can be slightly slow, but it is unlikely to be slow enough to discourage a determined mind.

What Can You Do?

It is difficult mitigating against an inquisitive mind with access to all the information the world has, at the click of a button. Simply put, if they are determined, they’ll get access to it. And if it isn’t on your home Internet, it’ll be on a friend’s, or on an unsecured network somewhere else. Younger children will likely crumble when faced with active filtering How to Modify and Manage the Hosts File on Linux Modifying a little known feature called the hosts file can improve your system security, whether you need to create shortcuts, block websites, or more. But how do you find and make changes to it? Read More ; teenagers are much more like to take up arms, and engage in battle.

And it is a battle you may well lose.

In this, education is a massive tool. Respectable and acceptable use of the Internet should form a core part of your children’s technological development. Past a certain age, there are likely other things you really should be discussing with them too, especially given the glorification of hacking in entertainment, giving rise to the popularity of hacking among kids and teens. Prohibition has never solved a problem, but has certainly created plenty more, and curious mind will remain so — just without the education to go alongside it.

Device usage should also be considered. Do the children really need an all-singing, all-dancing iPhone 6 “to keep in contact with you,” or would a $10 burner do the job just fine? Similarly, you could enforce an “Internet use in family areas only” rule, or bar tablets, laptops, and smartphones from the bedroom at night. If your kids do use an iPhone, however, find out how you can use family sharing to monitor their activities.

It doesn’t have to be an awful experience, but by taking an active, engaging, and realistic attitude toward your children’s Internet use, they’ll be far more likely to understand and respect your wishes. And if you need a little more help, take a look at how you can protect your child’s Android phone with Google Family Link Protect Your Child's Android Phone Using Google Family Link Google Family Link provides a simple and sensible solution for parental control on Android devices. Here's how to use it. Read More or Chromebook parental control apps.

Image Credit: child shows tablet by pathdoc via Shutterstock, Daily Tor Users via Wikimedia Foundation

Related topics: Computer Security, Online Security.

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  1. anonymous
    March 31, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    honestly mate, you really think having password cracking software is a problem, I'm definitely under 18 and I have had Aircrack-ng and JTR as well as RainbowCrack and just the default windows CMD terminal. so 1.) software like that isn't bad 2.) you gave me some ideas 3.) if you didn't restrict it people like me would go and learn how to code so we could bypass it. juts don't turn on restrictions and gives us space m8, works better that way

  2. Anonymous
    September 17, 2019 at 4:57 am

    This is also very helpful for kids trying to bypass aren’t restrictions

  3. Peppa Pig
    July 29, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    I practically laughed the whole way through that because it says “realistic attitude toward your children’s Internet use they’ll be far more likely to understand and respect your wishes” and I gotta say that is very false. Tbh if my parents don’t get rid of restrictions I am starting World War 3

  4. Kenneth Wang
    February 23, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Lmfao i just finished hacking my moms computer, and im just gonna say, my mom uses more extreme methods than the ones mentioned above, yet i still managed to crack it. If your teen wants to do something and only a parent is in the way, they will find a way past it

  5. Hannah the emo
    February 6, 2019 at 4:27 am

    Thanks for this dude, now I can view all the gore anime I want! Not so smart, are ya? I'm a 10 year old girl, I DON'T NEED YOUTUBE KIDS! I have 2 episodes of my series and with YT Kids I can't post! Besides, I don't think my grandpa meant to put it on parental controls anyways.

  6. bleu
    January 30, 2019 at 6:33 am

    kudos to you for making a good article showing kids like me how to hack all the systems. thankieee.

  7. pierre thompsone
    September 21, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    I am one parent WINNING.
    I have DNS - which can be circumvented sure, but the router (DDWRT) takes ALL dns queries and forces it through OpenDNS, so they cant get around that.
    Next, puffin browser uses different ports- All IP's blocked.
    Tor, bittorrent and VPN all blocked at the router.
    Last layer - Qustudio on all devices. No device is allowed unless its installed - so away from home they cant get on stuff either. It also lets you block apps all from a web console

    Me, i have my own router one level up with a seprate wifi that lets me get onto work vpn and more. Kids, no chance of getting on anything now.

    Oh and the wireless dies at 10pm, meaning they cant get online in the night either ;)


    • d0s394
      October 1, 2018 at 4:21 am

      your kids must feel so defeated

    • Pianonymous
      October 7, 2018 at 2:48 am

      As a young adult myself, I congratulate you on crushing your children's souls.

    • Kenneth Wang
      February 23, 2019 at 10:19 pm

      Lmfao, have you blocked all of windows vulnerabilities yet? i literally googled how to hack my moms computer and i got in soo...

    • John Doe
      October 4, 2019 at 3:26 am

      How much do you hate your children that you're willing to brag about giving you kids zero freedom? You're actually pathetic.

    • Randolph Laurentian
      February 18, 2020 at 9:30 pm

      I salut you! I wish I could do the same for my kids.

  8. S
    November 26, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    And the great thing about articles like these is they lay out exactly how teenagers like me can bypass parental controls... thx ; )

    • d0s394
      October 1, 2018 at 4:22 am

      ahahah thats what im doing too :))

      • Pianonymous
        October 7, 2018 at 2:48 am


  9. Anonymous
    November 10, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    How would i bypass iphone restrictions i am 12 and have tried 19 diffrent ways none of which have worked.Thanks!

    • someone
      December 29, 2017 at 3:44 am

      a vpn. Try the tunnelbear app

  10. Ky the karma Slayer
    October 6, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    This was really helpful, honestly. I have been having such a problem with the 5 billion internet restrictions that we have on our computers, and it is really starting to irritate me. I don't even know why my parents don't trust me, I feel like I am a generally good person, but because of this lack of trust I can't do anything on the internet. I'm going to try these strategies, only, my dad is a very tech savvy person, so I'm really going to have to fight this battle if I'm going to win.

  11. frustratedmom
    September 28, 2017 at 11:32 am

    My one child shared with me that the other had used a website to download software to the phone and desktop that would bypass my VPN parental control app so that there were no restrictions even after I "locked" the phone. I've been searching all over on my end but can't figure our what was done or where it is. Will I see an unfamiliar app listed?

  12. frustratedmom
    September 28, 2017 at 11:27 am

    My child snitched that the other one went to a website to download software on the phone and desktop which bypasses my vpn parental software so there are no restrictions. I've been searching all over and can't figure out what was done. Will I see an app when I look through the phone?

  13. Mihnea S.
    August 24, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    My parents tried to only monitor, not restrict me.
    Oh boy was it funny: turned it off, deleted it, blocked reinstallation and turned on parental controls for them.

  14. Sharon
    April 27, 2017 at 2:27 am

    My 13 yr old son gets past my Telstra gateway parental control by simply changing his mac name, then it drops off and he is allowed on! Its become a game of what has he called it next? So far I've had "ha ha its me again" etc etc!
    How do I prevent this???? He's way more tech savy than me...

    • Alex
      July 17, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Just remove the administration rights off his mac so he isn't able to change any settings or names/profiles etc.

  15. Kurstin
    April 11, 2017 at 6:00 am

    Very ineresting and eye-opening article. I stumble upon it as I was trying to figure out how my 13 year old son keeps getting to site I've blocked using Blocksi, which is supposed to be one of the top filtering tools. I still can't figure out how he's doing it. I had to create a blocksi email address for him on his Chromebook, so that is how he logs in, and it's supposed to block everything I have listed, but then I'll see he's been on restricted sites using his old gmail address, which I discovered when Blocksi started showing no activity. I knew that wasn't right. Do you happen to know how to find out how he's getting around Blocksi? I have deleted any extensions he added in the google chrome store, etc. Thanks!

  16. silvio grijalva
    November 23, 2016 at 9:52 am

    interesting read. i went on here to try and find a way to buypass the parental control restrictions my uncle put in place at my house which he only did because he doesnt trust his son (13) not to do naughty things on the internet while hes over at my place. im a 19 year old living with my slightly deranged grandmother. im getting so desperate to get frisky im honestly considering just buying a new broadband connection for myself. GOD DAMN YOU UNCLE PETER whhhhyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!.
    anyhow thanks for the info you provided.
    yours sincerely silvio (or maybe someone else.... oohhh who knowss oohh)

    • Gavin
      December 1, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Urm. Thanks, I guess. Good luck. Be safe online, please.

  17. luke the fluke
    September 28, 2016 at 4:54 am

    Thanks for all these ideas on how to bypass my parents parental controls

    • Gavin
      December 1, 2016 at 11:58 am

      No problem. Please be safe on the big bad innaneps.

  18. Rob
    July 13, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Good read Gavin! Samsung has made it extremely easy to bypass all parental control apps on a Samsung Android tablet. All you need to do is sign in with the Guest User profile. This can be done without entering ANY profile password and from ANY state the tablet is in, even if it is currently in a restricted profile or parental controlled user profile. When you are done browsing the content you choose via Chrome just push the conveniently located "Delete Guest" button. Your parents will never know because they assume you will be using your locked down profile. The Guest profile will be wiped and none of your history will be discover-able on the device. This only takes seconds.

  19. Reichard
    July 5, 2016 at 11:49 am

    maybe this one can be useful

  20. Islandr
    July 4, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    It's a fight that you should not win.

    If you do, you've just proven that your kids are either lazy or unimaginative.

    • Gavin
      December 1, 2016 at 11:57 am

      Perhaps. But how far is too far? And I think it also depends what you're trying to stop little Timmy and Jane from watching. The mindset of the parent largely takes precedence here. There is always a way, though.

  21. Jackowski
    June 18, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    I must find ways to do much more things like privilege escalation from limited account, extracting restrictions password from iphone backup or decrypting BIOS hash. My dad must find better ways to protect our pcs XD

    • Gavin Phillips
      June 23, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      Good luck - I just used to look at the note on the wall with the password on it.

  22. altnate
    April 27, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    And here I am, using Tails since I was 12 just because I liked Debian. Pressed a tad too many buttons and got welcomed by cute cannibal videos. People used to ask why I was behaving strangely that week.

    • Gavin Phillips
      June 23, 2016 at 2:34 pm


  23. Anonymous
    April 22, 2016 at 6:44 am

    And now when these kids grow up then their children gonna do the same thing

    • Gavin Phillips
      June 23, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      True. Birthing generation after generation of security obsessed parents-in-waiting.