How safe are your children online?
This is a question I often ask about the boy, with his increasing use of all the computers in the house and even borrowing mine and Dad’s phone. It is getting increasingly difficult to keep him away from all the modern technology that is around today. Its not the same as when I was at school and there was one computer and that was only for geeks!
I have complete trust in the school that they have all the measures in place that are needed to keep the boy both well-informed and safe, but at home I find it can prove a little more tricky. Last year when we decided to buy the boy a tablet as his main Christmas present, one of the main decisions was that of how to keep him safe. For this reason I looked at lots of the specific children’s tablets with their parental controls. This would be great if the tablets were up to the standard of an adult tablet. It was quickly apparent that for the apps and for his usage a normal tablet would be more flexible, therefore I would have to look at other blocking measures. It turned out that for the time being this is easier than I had thought as I have simply linked his tablet to my e-mail account. I have also blocked Facebook and e-mails, while still allowing the boy access to the internet and free app stores.
There are some great articles on the internet from parents and other safety sources like this one from PC Advisor giving you extra information on how you can help to educate your child to online dangers. I have been lucky so far that the boy is responsible and is happy to ask before he accesses a site. But I don’t know how long this self control will be enough to keep him completely safe? One problem we have is his access to YouTube, where he loves to watch Minecraft videos as well as Lego making films. While these are innocent enough he has managed to use a whole month of broadband in one week before!
Our plan originally was for the boy to access the internet supervised but it turns out that this can be impractical. I think if the boy was less responsible than I would have been less keen for him to have access to some of the sites he does. Sometimes it can be frustrating that sites like CBBC who have all the shows he loves only run flash games which don’t allow access on android, or have video players embedded on every page. This can end up where computer time becomes just and extension of watching TV. I have found the best way for us to monitor use is to have certain times when the boy can have his tablet. This mostly falls at weekends and has proved a great tool for alleviating boredom on long car journeys!
So how do you keep children safe from the undesirable content which is defiantly out there, and cannot really be ignored? I know that maybe I have been trusting that the boy just wont find it but as you can see from this article in the Daily Mail even some of the best PC software wont block out 100% of the porn content online. I have some free software on the PC along with a piece of software that e-mails the boys usage to me each week. But think that now it will be better to invest some time in researching some good software to help, for both the tablet and the main home PC. I think I have been lucky so far, but after half term the boy will start to be given online homework. He is looking forward to this and I would hate to have to spoil his enjoyment if I had to be with him constantly.
I know that Norton is a brand that I can trust and from the Daily Mail article you can see it is one of the highest voted software providers for families with young children. Norton is also the software that I currently have on the home PC, and I have found the free version very easy to use. There is an easy comparison chart on their website which clearly shows you the difference in the online protection between the basic and premier versions. While the basic version has been fine for now I think that as the boy gets older the video monitoring of the premium version looks like a feature we will need:
Video Monitoring – Shows you the YouTube and Hulu videos your kids watch on their PC or Mac.
Norton Premier will be just what I need to stop any of the excessive YouTube viewing in the future along with being able to see exactly which pages he has visited. Along with the mobile app I think I will be happy in the knowledge that the boy will be as safe as I can hope for in the modern world!
Disclaimer: this is a PR collaboration