The internet is a scary place.
My husband and I recently watched the movie The Captive starring Ryan Reynolds, and that movie scared the bejeezus out of me. The scariest part of that movie is that it’s not an unrealistic scenario. There were a few parts that seemed a little out there, but after watching it, I wanted to insert a tracking device into my children’s arms! And while technology hasn’t gotten quite that far yet, (we do it to pets though, right??) there are GPS tracker devices that you could buy, if you were that nervous. More about that at the end of this. But realistically, for all of those who aren’t going to attach a tracker to our child, there are many products out there that can help keep our kids safe while using the internet.
Without giving away too many details about the move, a child is abducted by an internet pedophile who lures children in via the internet. Scary stuff. Really got me thinking about how I am protecting (or NOT protecting?) my kids when they are online. The threats from cyber-bullies, pedophiles, hackers, thieves, and scammers can make any mom cringe at the thought of allowing her child to roam the internet. Especially as they grow older and have more freedoms online, or are using the internet more for research.
[bctt tweet=”Am I doing everything I should to protect my kid online? #internetsafety”]
Traditional forms of parental control include monitoring and blocking sites of concern, limiting screen time, and talking to your children about all of the above concerns and how to avoid them. But with the onslaught of mobile devices that have access to everything, you might want to consider adding some additional layers of protection from the pros.
Here are a few Apps and products for keeping your kids safe online
Net Nanny offers cool features like secure Web-traffic filtering and ESRB-based game control. It can record IM conversations (only if they seem dangerous) so you’re not completely intruding on your kids’ privacy. You can manage from everywhere, and it will send e-mail alerts. Net Nanny is PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice for parental control.
Another free app for parental control is Qustodio.
Qustodio provides the following tools:
– Lets you customize a better online experience for your children
– Shows whether devices are used for homework or recreation
– Enables you to set healthy access limits for them
– Works on Mobile devices as well as PC
– Let´s you control which games and applications they should use (Premium)
– Blocks harmful websites and enables safe searching
– Alerts you of questionable activity and important events
– Can track multiple children and devices at the same time
It can be a little overwhelming to have to install and keep track on all the many devices that our kids can use to access the internet. Many of them have more than one. While we might consider putting everything on lock-down, that’s neither fair to the other adults living in the house, nor is it simple to do with so many devices and work-arounds.
So, here are some tools and products that do the work for you, and keep your kids safe on ALL of their devices, at least in your home.
iBoss Home Web Filtering Wireless N Router
The iBoss Home Parental Control Router/Firewall ($49.95 direct plus $59.95/year) applies parental control rules to the entire network with enough flexibility that parents needn’t labor under the same restrictions.
Some of the features of Netgear include:
- Guest Network Access – Separate and secure access for guests using the WiFi network
- Broadband Usage Meter – Monitors Internet traffic and sends customized reports to help keep costs under control
- Live Parental Controls – Keeps your Internet experience safe and protects all connected devices on your network such as PC’s, gaming consoles, and tablets
- Set time limits
- Block adult sites
- Set a homework mode so that kids are not distracted during homework time
And then there is that GPS tracker device I mentioned. This is for the parent who wants to make sure they can find their child AT ANY moment. Assuming your child remembered to take it. In addition to all of the above protective programs, slip this little guy in your kids’ pocket, and you can find them any time.
There are many, many other options for keeping your kids safe online. If you have recommendations, we’d love it if you’d share them!