Teens Use VPN to Bypass Parental Controls: What Parents Need to Do

Teens Use VPN to Bypass Parental Controls: What Parents Need to Do

Today’s kids are more tech-savvy than their parents. For instance, some teenagers might use a VPN to access social media platforms blocked by their school’s network. Others might use it to download games or movies unavailable in their country.

More than 70% of teens hide their online activity from their parents. This desire to assert their independence and explore the digital world on their own often leads to them finding novel ways to bypass restrictions. Most want to keep their social lives, either physical or online, under wraps. This behavior is often accompanied by hiding their internet history.

Today, teens have several options to keep their online activity private. These include using the web browser in incognito mode, proxy websites, and a VPN connection. In this guide, we will focus on VPNs and how kids use them to get around parental controls. We’ll also discuss how you can monitor and manage your child’s online activities even if they use a VPN. 

What is a VPN?

A virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service that forms an encrypted and secure connection between the user’s device and the Internet. VPN masks the IP address and makes the user’s online activity almost untraceable. It is like a server in the middle; before the data travels to a particular website or app, it passes through the VPN, which removes traces of the digital footprint.

Almost 1.5 billion people in the world use VPNs, and most do it for legitimate reasons. However, techie kids also use them to circumvent parental restrictions and bypass content filters. Your kid can use a VPN to hide what they search for online and who they talk to, and they can use restricted websites.

One common reason for using a VPN is to access ‘geo-restricted content, ‘which refers to online content that is only available to users in certain geographic locations. For example, a teen might use a VPN to watch a TV show only available in another country.

The Potential Risks of Using a VPN

A VPN offers benefits such as enhanced privacy and access to geo-restricted content.

However, excessive use can open the door for potential risks that are

●      Malware and Viruses

Your child may install a free or unverified VPN to watch or download restricted content. Installing these VPNs can lead to malware infections and viruses that compromise the device’s data. Over the past decade, malware infections have increased by 87%.

●      Inappropriate Content

The Internet is filled with websites that host unsuitable content for children. With a VPN in place, kids can hide their activity and evade parental controls to access restricted websites. For example, a teen might use a VPN to access a website that hosts adult content, which would otherwise be blocked by parental controls.

●      Privacy Leak

Trusted VPN service providers assure privacy and anonymity. However, many free VPN services can compromise the user’s data. They might store private information and monetize it by selling the data. The leak of sensitive data threatens not only the kids but also their parents and family.

For example, a free VPN app might collect information about the websites a user visits and sell this information to advertisers, who can then use it to target the user with personalized ads.

●      Cyber Predators

VPNs provide cyber predators with the ideal cover to remain anonymous and prey on children’s immaturity. These predators stalk websites, social media networks, open forums, and gaming platforms. They often entice children to share private information and take part in other risky online activities.

A predator might use a VPN to hide their IP address and location while communicating with a child on a social media platform, making it more difficult for law enforcement to track them down.

How does Parental Control Work?

Parental control software tools allow parents to manage and restrict their children’s tech usage. These controls are available on smartphones, tablets, web browsers, and social media apps. Almost 75% of parents use parental controls to restrict their child’s screen time.

You can apply these controls to

  • Block access to inappropriate websites
  • Limit kid’s screen time
  • Filter content according to the child’s age
  • Monitor online activities

Your settings will filter and control the internet traffic and app usage. The controls often rely on the device’s IP address and ISP (Internet Service Providers) to implement the restrictions.

Can VPN bypass the Parental Controls You Apply?

Yes, a VPN connection bypasses the parental restrictions you apply for.

A VPN reroutes all the online information through a remote server before it gets to the ISP. This means no one can view the online activity, whether the ISP or those running the Wi-Fi network.

A VPN is a secure bridge through which online traffic can travel without being intercepted or monitored. All the information searched and the URLs the user accesses are encrypted. Furthermore, the VPN hides the device’s IP address and instead shows the IP address of the VPN server.

Parental controls primarily block specific IP addresses and prevent kids from accessing those websites. However, a VPN redirects the traffic from a remote server, rendering the IP blocks useless. Here’s why:

●      Encryption and routing

The VPN on the user’s device encrypts the internet traffic and redirects it to the remote server. As the data is encrypted, router-level parental restrictions can be bypassed.

●      IP address change

The VPN server assigns a new IP address to the user’s internet traffic, making it difficult for the router to identify and apply IP-level blockages.

●      Traffic forwarding

The VPN servers forward the traffic to a particular website or app. To the website, it appears that the traffic is coming from the VPN server instead of the user’s device, so even if there is a geo-level restriction on the website, this will be bypassed.

The Best Way to Monitor Kids Using a VPN

You can use parental controls to restrict the teen’s access to inappropriate websites and content. But as we discussed earlier, the challenge arises when the kid uses a VPN to bypass the screen time and content restriction. You need more than parental control to ensure the internet safety of your child.

The best way to monitor whether the teen uses a VPN to access the Internet is to use a reliable monitoring app such as XNPSY. This app acts as a digital ally for parents, providing a sense of security by tracking online activities even if the teen uses a VPN.

Here is how:

View Installed Apps

Once you install XNSPY on your child’s phone, the app will compile a list of all the existing apps. You can easily view the application name and identify any VPN service the child is installed and using. The app can even provide the date and time of the app’s installation. XNSPY helps parents know when VPNs are installed and used to bypass the set restrictions.

Screen Recording

XNSPY offers dynamic screen recording and screenshot features. These tools record all app activity and phone usage and upload the data to the dashboard. The screen capture starts as soon as the teen opens a particular app and functions regardless of a VPN connection. You can easily view the screen recordings and screenshots from the dashboard.

Monitor Internet Browsing History

XNSPY provides detailed logs on all the websites visited on the monitored device. The app records the list of URLs opened even in Incognito mode and uploads it to the dashboard. You can view the websites and determine if the teen accesses inappropriate content. The internet history logs offer key details like the number of times a website is opened with its date and time stamp.

Screentime Management

XNSPY is a robust screen time management tool that records a child’s time on their device. You can track the total time even if the child uses a VPN. XNSPY even shows the most used apps and the time spent on each app. You can limit teens’ digital usage and reduce their chance of accessing online content through a VPN.

Use Keylogger Tool

The keylogger logs each keystroke input the teen makes on the monitored phone. XNSPY ensures the keylogger records all text inputs on popular apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, and Viber. The keylogger records the keystrokes as they are typed, so you can monitor the activity even if the VPN encrypts the data.

Set Watchlist Alerts

The watchlist alerts feature lets you set notifications for certain keywords, contacts, and places. XNSPY will send an instant alert via email if a preconfigured keyword is mentioned on the device, even when the VPN mode is active.

Block App

If your teen continues to use a VPN to access inappropriate content, XNSPY lets you remotely block the app. By opening the installed apps from the dashboard, you select VPN and block it. If the child tries to open the app, an ‘app blocked’ warning will appear. However, blocking the app is a last resort and will notify the teen.


The ease of accessing the Internet is increasing for teens with each passing day. Parental controls provide temporary comfort in keeping their online habits in check. However, a VPN helps kids bypass content filters and restrictions.

Only an innovative monitoring app such as XNSPY can uncover the presence of VPNs on the child’s phone. The app not only helps identify the installation of VPNs but also tracks the activities performed while using them. The comprehensive monitoring of XNSPY ensures that the parental restrictions are not easily bypassed and you can keep the child safe from the potential risks.