Protect Your Kids
Internet access provides learning opportunities for Americans of all ages, particularly for our children. The internet has a wealth of educational information for kids if you know where to look. Navigating to whitehouse.gov gives you a very different result than typing in whitehouse.com (Warning: NSFW!). If you're not careful, your kids may get an education they're not ready for!
As they get older, your kids will be navigating the internet on their own. As in any situation, you want to give them some independence, but your top priority is keeping them safe, right? Whether you want to shield your kids from adult material or dangerous strangers with ill intent, several tools are available for parents to protect their children.
These tools fall into a two different categories: (1) tools to block content and (2) tools to track online activity.
Let’s not blame the child here. Even if your kid isn’t searching for adult content, the internet is a very open place. One minute they’re watching a harmless YouTube video, the next they’re served up a suggestive ad for intimacy products. While there is no way to be completely sure that this content doesn’t reach them, many sites offer parental controls that can reduce the risk.
Setting Parental Controls
For example, directions for setting parental controls are readily available on these sites:
There are also ways you can control your home internet traffic. You can use devices exist that allow you to build a profile for each user by device, and meter their web access. While a small child may get “G” rated material, your teen may have access to “PG” content. You can even set up tools to block internet traffic after a certain hour. Go to sleep, Timmy! You can perform a Google search to find options.
If you're concerned about your child's online activity, consider using technology to track their online actions. Whether they are using a desktop or laptop, a PC or Mac, or a smart phone -- tech companies have you covered.
One example is Microsoft Windows 10 Activity Monitoring, which emails you regularly with a summary of web session details including:
- Amount of time on the device
- Websites visited
- Games and apps they used
- Search terms on popular search engines
Many commercial offerings exist for mobile devices. Be sure to read the reviews on these products and read the terms of services CAREFULLY! We suggest looking for a reputable company that agrees not to sell both your information and your child's information. You don’t want to start monitoring your children and inadvertently make their browsing history vulnerable to access by the bad guys.
Given recent high-profile hacks of identity information (ie. Equifax), it is important to review your child's identity to ensure they are not a victim. Check for the Federal Trade Commission for your child’s personal information.