Parental controls and filters matter. It is still an important component of online safety. Children can accidentally access inappropriate content that is highly explicit. They watch something innocent online, this comes to an end and some other suggested videos come up on their screen. What sometimes happens is the child views explicit content accidently and can then feel too embarrassed to tell their parent about it.
Basic security is also important. Installing a firewall and antivirus software on computers, as well as making sure that the software is up to date. The safer your computer is, the safer your kids will be.
At iSAT we are concerned with the welfare of children. As such we want to keep the parents informed as to how they can keep their children safe from all the negative content out there on the World Wide Web. Below we have highlighted some great third-party products you can use to filter and block website and content.
Child-Safe Internet Browsers
Kiddle is a visual search engine for kids powered by Google, offering safe kids web, image, and video search. Results are vetted by editors. The top results (usually the first 1 to 3 shown) have been suggested by Google editors as safe sites for children and are pages with content written specifically for kids. The next 4 to 7 search results are also ones checked by Google editors. The content on these pages is still easy for kids to read but may not be written specifically for kids. Results 8 and higher are sites written for adults but are informational and written by experts. The content may be more advanced for young kids. The content is filtered by Google SafeSearch, which blocks inappropriate or explicit images. For parents who are worried about their child's data being collected, Kiddle states that "we don't collect any personally identifiable information, and our logs are deleted every 24 hours." You can read more in their privacy statement.
Maxthon Kid-Safe Browser is a browser you’ll need to download on your Android device. You can set up a list of websites your child can visit and age-appropriate content, though the browser can do that for you, too.
Any site that is not on your safe list will be blocked. Not only will the site be blocked but also any links, advertisements, or promotions as well.
The browser has extra security since the safe list can only be changed by entering a password. The browser is available for Android, iPhone, and iPad as well.
KidSplorer Web Browser can also help keep your kids safe while they’re online. Your kids can only visit the sites you whitelisted, and you can remove, edit, or add URLs. You can make the browser run at startup if you want or can just manually launch it.
This kid-friendly browser can also block access to the Internet for the times you specify. So if the kids should be doing their homework, you can rest assured they won’t be able to go online. Kids won’t be able to switch programs that are installed on the computer, and you can also set up different website lists for each of your kids.
Below we have also highlighted some browser add-ons which can be installed within your browser that can block websites and limit browser content.
StayFocusd is a free add-on for Chrome.
StayFocusd has all the features you need to block any website for a certain amount of time, time of day, days of week, and more.
You also have the option of activating a “Nuclear Option” which overrides all of your existing settings and blocks the websites of your choice for a certain number of hours or minutes.
One of the best features is the “Require Challenge” option which requires you to complete a small challenge before being allowed to change any settings (unblock sites you want to visit).
Leechblock is a free add-on for the Firefox browser. It’s also the most popular extension for blocking websites in Mozilla Firefox.
Leechblock offers a lot of options for customizing the way you block websites. For a detailed look at how you can implement Leachblock, check out their list of usage examples.
One of the best features is the ability to “prevent access to options while sites are blocked.” This stops you from going into the options menu and unblocking the sites you want to visit.
Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge: Cold turkey
Cold Turkey is a desktop application that is only available for Windows.
With Cold Turkey, you’ll have the option to block both websites and applications.
Using their calendar view you can choose which days and times different groups of websites and applications should be blocked.
Settings can be locked (optional).
Online Bullying (Cyberbullying) - Protect your teen on the internet
Online bullying leads to long-term effects in your child's life such as Self-esteem issues and depression.
Studies show that cyberbullying can be a great threat to your young ones emotional well-being and may lead to suicide.
Make sure to notice any strange behavioural changes.
For more information on how to protect you teen, read this article addressing Cyberbullying.