We all want to keep our children safe and far away from any unsavory parts of the world, including those on the internet. Yet, you also want to expose your children to all of the wonderful knowledge available through the World Wide Web and teach them early on how to access it and to skillfully use a computer. What’s the answer? Setting filters for kids who use computers.
There are pornographic sites, access to questionable television shows, hate sites, sites containing tobacco, alcohol and gambling, and, worse yet, those who prey upon children. It’s tough to manage your child’s computer use when you aren’t there and even when you are. Setting up parental controls allows you to block unsavory items and schedule computer time per user.
OnlineFamily.Norton is free, works on either PC or Mac and blocks certain sites according to age. It also sends messages to parents when children may be accessing inappropriate sites. Each web browser also offers its own ways of filtering sites you don’t want your kid visiting. Or don’t filter out. Filter in with Kids Browsers, which offers games, preapproved websites, email and various activities. Third-party apps such as Net Nanny and Qustodio can block websites, impose screen time limits, monitor online activity and send you a summary of what your kid does online. Router controls work in tandem with apps like Circle Home and Torch to give you the ability to turn off the internet with a single click.
As children get older, they are resistant to too much interference, but it is good to know you have options if you choose them. Programs such as uKnowKids and Social Shield can track social networking for Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, as well as texts and emails. McAfee Safe Eyes, at around $50, works on mobile devices and allows you to make remote changes when you are at work.