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Raspberry Pi Parental Controls: What Parents Need To Know

Between the Pandemic and increasing emphasis on STEM, many youth and adults are seeking to expand their tech skills. Many are using the RASPBERRY PI series of computer-on-a-chip systems. Middle schools, high schools, and even come colleges use them to teach programming (often called “coding”) as well as other computer skills such as hardware design and programming. Despite their small size, these are capable computers. It is important, therefore, for parents to be aware of the system’s risks, as well as its benefits. So, let’s take a look at Raspberry Pi Computers and Raspberry Pi parental controls.

Meet The Raspberry Pi

You can think of a Raspberry Pi as a “hobbyist’s” computer. The Raspberry Pi Foundation created it to promote basic education in computer science in schools, and in developing countries. There have been a number of generations, with the Raspberry Pi 4 and the Raspberry PI 400 being the latest. At its most basic, the Raspberry Pi is a single board computer. Unlike the motherboards in typical personal computers, the Raspberry Pi is TINY and extremely affordable.

First off, parents must know that the Raspberry Pi also does NOT run WINDOWS or macOS operating systems. It uses a modified version of LINUX called Raspberry Pi OS. (LINUX is pronounced “LEN-UKS”).

Here is the basic computer.

Raspberry Pi 4

This computer has the following features:

  • The microprocessor (the main “chip”)
  • 2GB – 4GB of RAM (Memory)
  • 2 x Micro-HDMI ports supporting 2 x 4K displays.
  • 2 x USB-2 ports
  • 2 x USB-3 ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • WIFI (802.11ac, 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Micro-SD Card slot for loading operating system and data storage.
  • 40 Pin GPIO Header for experiments and connection to other hardware

And that starts at $35.00US. NOT BAD!

Incredibly, it is roughly the size of your VISA card!

You still have to provide a power supply and USB-C cable to connect to the board. It also doesn’t have a case, keyboard, or mouse, nor does it come with micro-HDMI cables. There is not a micro-SD card or an operating system. It’s just the circuit card. So, you have to supply the missing pieces, and that includes downloading the operating system package and installing it on a micro-SD card. Seems like a pain, but this is not a computer for everyday use (although it CAN be).

Don’t worry, a number of enterprising firms have created “starter kits” that provide everything but a mouse, keyboard, and monitor. For my investigation I went down to my local Best Buy and picked up the Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Starter PRO Kit by CANAKIT. It was only $99.99US and included everything I needed except for the monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Fortunately that was not a problem! The kit also included a case, a micro-SD card w/ the OS installed, and an on/off switch.

Raspberry Pi, LINUX, and Included Software

The Raspberry Pi runs a version of the LINUX operating system. LINUX comes in many different flavors and is extremely popular with corporations and industry. Here are some stats:

  • In 2019, 96.3% of the top 1-BILLION servers ran on LINUX.
  • By the end of 2017, LINUX dominated the 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world.
  • The ANDROID system built upon a foundation of LINUX.
  • Compared to Windows and macOS systems, LINUX is far less user-friendly.
  • LINUX is seeing increasing use in “embedded systems” such as digital phone switching, TV sets, and more.
    Source: Fortune Mobile Insights,

So as you can see, if your child is going into engineering or computer science, a knowledge or LINUX could be very useful. The Raspberry Pi systems are a good introduction to the LINUX operating system which also allows some hardware interaction.

Like many operating systems, LINUX comes in different “flavors”, called “distributions”. While the Raspberry Pi OS is the primary OS for the Raspberry Pi system, it can use many other distributions of LINUX. For this article, I will stick to the recommended version.

When your Raspberry Pi OS is loaded and your system up and running you will see a fairly familiar sight: A computer screen with a menu button in the lower left, just like with Windows. This menu has a number of programs pre-loaded including TWELVE programming environments, including JAVA and PYTHON, two very popular coding languages.

It also comes with a very capable office suite: LibreOffice. And this is FREE.

Raspberry Pi Parental Controls

The basic package of Raspberry Pi OS also comes with an Internet browser (Chromium) and an email program. This is the major vulnerability. LINUX is NOT supported by the vast majority of parental control software. And the Raspberry Pi O install package has no Raspberry Pi parental controls included. The parental control solutions that do exist in the LINUX world are very technical and are mostly limited to web site filtering based upon web sites YOU input manually. Given the thousands upon thousands of inappropriate sites that we don’t want to expose children to, this is a cause for concern.

There is a solution. You can filter and control a Raspberry Pi by using network-level parental control. Examples are OpenDNS, CleanBrowsing, or (our #1 recommendation) CIRCLE Home Plus. These solutions only work for systems are in your home, on YOUR network.

So, what parents need to know is:

  • Raspberry Pi systems are a great way to learn coding and computer science.
  • Since they have a browser and connect to the Internet, there is some risk of access to inappropriate content/persons.
  • Easily-implemented safeguards are available to the diligent parent for filtering at the network level via products like OpenDNS, CleanBrowsing, and Circle Home Plus.


To learn more about what we’ve talked about, here are some useful links:

Parental Control Caution for Parents

Last week was exciting for Apple MAC users: Mac Operating System (MacOS) 11, aka BIG SUR, was released. This is a major, MAJOR upgrade to the basic software that Mac computers use. It brings lots of new features, apps, and improvements.

One things parents need to be mindful of is this: Sometimes an operating system upgrade can impact your parental control software. In the past, I’ve seen it outright disabled, at least until an upgrade is made by the software’s publisher. Sometimes just a setting or two is “reset”, especially with SCREEN TIME.

If you have NOT YET upgraded your Mac:

It is time to do some “prep work”:

  • Contact the publisher or visit the web site of any 3rd party software publisher to make sure their app is compatible with BIG SUR.
  • Check to see if there is an new update to the software.
  • Review your current settings, and record them to make sure you can reset any after upgrade.
  • Be prepared to completely re-do SCREEN TIME settings.
  • Back up your Mac before the upgrade!

If You Have ALREADY Upgraded Your Mac:

Here are a few suggested actions to take!

  • If you use SCREEN TIME review all the settings to ensure none were reset during the install.
  • Go through any 3rd party parental control software and ensure that the settings haven’t changed.

Regardless, after you review your software following the BIG SUR install, run some tests to make sure everything works right. Not only should you test the filter, but also the time management features. The test will probably be fine. Still, a “live test” is always a good thing.

Now, when testing filters, if something is not right, you may not want to see the results! Here is my trick to test web filters without risking seeing adult material!

  • Move the web browser windows to the bottom of the screen, showing just a little bit of the main window area.
  • Type in the address used to test the filter.
  • If the test fails, you only see the top of the homepage, which will not be big enough to show adult images/pictures.
  • Check out this screen shot from one of my tests:

Enjoy your new MacOS!!!!


Due to COVID I have launched THE TECH-SAFE HOME Webinars, both for parents and for Church Staff. More editions are coming out over the holidays. You can find out more on the WEBINARS page of the Knights’ Quest web site:

Make sure to share this article
with your fellow Apple users!


We have added a 3rd date for THE TECH-SAFE HOME: PROFESSIONAL EDITION Webinar. It will take place on 18 November 2020.

The webinar is FREE, but registration is required. You can register via the link, below:


Should You Beta Test Apple’s New Operating Systems?

It’s that time of year, again when Apple conducts public testing for it’s new operating systems.

Apple typically begins a Public Beta Test of it’s new operating systems for it’s products in the Summer to support the Fall release of the new software! A beta test is the final step before releasing new software and consists of tests by folks who are not part of the development team.

Currently Apple is testing:

  • iOS 14 for iPhones and iPods
  • iPadOS 14 for iPads
  • macOS Big Sur (aka OS 11)
  • tvOS 14
  • watchOS 7

These public betas are very popular among those comfortable with experimenting with their devices. They get to try out “the latest and greatest” before it is released and even get to provide suggestions or report issues with the beta.

But, if you have been working on a TECH-SAFE HOME the question arises:

“Should you beta test Apple’s new operating systems?”

In a word: “NO!”

Beta test software is “incomplete” and often does not work with other programs until a program’s publisher updates their apps. There may be many iterations, or versions, of a package in beta test. Therefore many publishers will not release an update until the “Gold”, or final, version is released. Until that time there are always bugs and glitches and compatibility issues that arise. Specialized software, such as parental control and monitoring apps, is especially susceptible.

The Beta Test Hazard

In some cases, everything might work just fine. But, the changes in the new operating systems could result in parental controls not working as planned. This might happen even (though unlikely) the built-in Apple Screen Time controls.

You can call the publisher of a parental control (or just about any other) app to find out if they support it. If you do, you will get the party line: They do not support their product on unreleased operating systems still undergoing development and testing. I’ve asked!

You might consider participating in a beta test. Doing so might make your children’s devices become “unsafe”. I recommend that you wait until Apple launches the final commercial release of these operating systems.

Another reason is this: Your child is most likely homeschooling right now, to some degree, due to the Pandemic. Software that schools may require your child to use may not be compatible with the beta versions of the operating systems.

When you do upgrade to the new OS you need to check your parental control apps to make sure settings having changed. You can make sure your apps are automatically updated by following these instructions on Apple’s web site.

Don’t forget to register for a TECH-SAFE HOME Webinar!


I have scheduled additional dates for THE TECH-SAFE HOME Webinar through September 10th.


  • The many online threats to children and youth
  • First Steps to take for a TECH-SAFE HOME
  • Recommended software and hardware
  • Which phones you should, and shouldn’t give your children
  • How to deal with CHROMEBOOKS!
  • How to set online boundaries
  • How to monitor social media…and enforce them
  • Limitations parents face
  • How pornography harms children
  • How predators operate
  • Actions to take if you discover problems

All of this, and more, in two 1-hour session.

Register now: THE TECH-SAFE HOME Webinar

More Webinars Added!

We have added more dates for THE TECH-SAFE HOME Webinar!

This 4-part webinar is presented in 2 sessions:

Session 1:

  • Introduction
  • First Steps to a TECH-SAFE HOME

Session 2:

  • Defense In Depth (Software and hardware)
  • The Dangers of Pornography & Predators

Each session will last approximately 1 hour and requires separate registrations. And, I just lowered the price 50% to $10/Session!!!

Register NOW!

Monday, 24 August

Wednesday, August 26

Saturday, August

The GOTOWEBINAR platform will be used via your browser. Viewing the webinar on a small screen is not recommended.

Like our FACEBOOK page to keep up with more webinars coming in the next few months!

Who should you tell?
Email them this link to this blog post, now!



With social distancing and “un-schooling” our kids are at home and online a lot! Internet safety has never been as important as it is today!

We will help you make your home a TECH-SAFE HOME!

Knights’ Quest will hold the TECH-SAFE HOME WEBINAR on Saturday, August 15, to educate and equip parents on the dangers and defenses for building a safer high-tech, 21st Century home.

This 4-part webinar is presented in 2 sessions:

Session 1:

  • Introduction
  • First Steps to a TECH-SAFE HOME

Session 2:

  • Deeper Defenses (Software and hardware)
  • The Dangers of Pornography & Predators

Each session will last approximately 1 hour and requires separate registrations. The cost is $20US per Session.

Register NOW!


Additional sessions have been scheduled on weeknights.

Saturday, 15 August

Monday, August 17

Tuesday, August 18

The GOTOWEBINAR platform will be used via your browser. Viewing the webinar on a small screen is not recommended.

Like our FACEBOOK page to keep up with more webinars coming in the next few months!


With so many of us stuck at home for who knows how long I wanted to share this list of ideas that you and your family can attack while our Nation deals with this virus!

Here is the list, in PDF format! Click on the image or the DOWNLOAD button, below. Then print it out! The 3rd page has room to add your own ideas! Make some of them family projects!

Remember, none of this is catching God by surprise!


Parental Controls Review: Circle Home Plus

CIRCLE HOME PLUS is a combined hardware/software approach to parental controls that builds upon the previous CIRCLE WITH DISNEY product that came out in 2015. This new system improves functionality and addresses compatibility issues that the earlier product had with some routers and gateways.

The CIRCLE HOME PLUS system provides the following parental control features:

  • Location Services
  • Assignment of individual profiles
  • Assignment of specific devices to specific profiles
  • Usage reporting
  • Content filtering
  • Bedtime Controls
  • Time limits
  • Off Time (no internet access)
  • History
  • And the ability to PAUSE the Internet….remotely!

Let’s take a deeper look at CIRCLE HOME PLUS!

Continue reading Parental Controls Review: Circle Home Plus

NEW: Knights’ Quest Ministries’ Social Media App Quick Reference Guide 2019 is available for download!

Click the link to the left to download!

We’ve created a new Quick Reference Guide for social media apps. It provides a quick description and assessment of risk for children for roughly 40 popular social media apps used by children. Obviously it does not include every app!

Please feel free to share the file with friends and family!