Guest Post – Internet Safety for Kids (A Parent’s Guide) Part 3

How do I protect my child from inappropriate websites?   Keeping our kids safe and secure on the Internet has always been a challenge, but the difficulty has only increased because of the pandemic and our new normal of Safe At Home, Work From Home, and remote schooling.  Our kids are online more than ever.  As parents, we need to be aware of the dangers and diligent about protecting our kids

This excellent four part series of articles covers the topic of Internet Safety for Kids in depth.  We will be publishing these articles over the next two weeks, on Monday June 15 , Wednesday June 17 , and Monday June 22 (today) and Wednesday June 24.

This is the third part of a 4 part series.


From Peter McBryde of VPNStreamer.com.au

Internet Safety Tips for Parents (FAQ)

How do I protect my child from inappropriate websites?

Quick ways to protect your child (and yourself) from social media are don’t allow children under 13 on Facebook. Check privacy settings on apps and cell phones, and disable location services. Use monitoring apps to track social media behaviour. Make sure they don’t post any personal information that can be used against them

How do I block websites from my child?

You can either use parental control software or do it manually you can follow these simple instructions for Google Chrome.

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Select the wrench icon
  3. Select the “Tools” menu.
  4. Locate the tab called “Under the Hood.”
  5. Select “Change Proxy Settings.”
  6. Click the “Security” tab.
  7. Select the icon “Restricted Sites.”
  8. Click the “Sites” button twice quickly and enter the web address of the website to block.
  9. Click the “Add” button.

How do you explain Internet safety to a child?

You can begin with a family discussion to set guidelines, but this does depend on the age of your child. For younger children, you can ask them things they like and then go through the sites or apps with them.

Here, explain about using strong passwords and why this is important. You can teach them how to use a password manager in case they struggle to remember. At all times you should not try and force your child, and come across as being reasonable.

Always reassure your child they can speak to you about any problem they have online or anything they may see which alarms them.

Do children really understand the danger of the Internet?

Young children are unaware of the full dangers. They see everything at face value and think whoever they are talking to is genuine and being truthful. They are also not aware that all free software is legally free, or that it contains things it shouldn’t (malware.)

What are the best internet filters?

The best security software is the ones which cover a host features. These can be ad blockers, web filtering, app blockers, and web filtering, screen time and location tracking and geo-fencing capabilities. They will also alert parents if there is anything suspicious happening. These filters can cover a host of parental controls in one convenient package.

The Best Children Safe Browser

A child-safe browser is very similar to a regular browser, but they have been explicitly configured for use by kids. Or, you can configure a regular browser to become a children safe browser, but this does take a little more effort.

Child-Friendly Search Engines

While kids may have to use a search engine for school work, this is the first point of access to the internet in many cases. A safe kids search engine will not allow access to many unsuitable sites.

Many come with specific ages in mind and can range from a safe web search that is very cartoony in looks so kids will enjoy using it.

These change when they are designed with older kids in mind, and they do allow a little more freedom, but they still operate in kid-safe mode.

Many of these search engines basically use the Google SafeSearch function, so they are reliant on this without delivering much more. A lot of what they block comes from a huge list of adult sites and banned keywords.

Best Free Chrome Extensions For Parental Control

When you do things manually, you can turn to Chrome extensions, and luckily, there are a few great free extensions that can turn Chrome from a regular browser to a kids safety web browser without much effort.

Here is a quick overview of extensions you can use:

  • Parental Control App – this enables safe browsing on the internet. It blocks sites and emails, parents, activity reports.
  • WebFilter Pro – this extension is a child safety internet blocker. It is cloud-based, and millions of websites are added which you can prevent your child from visiting. You have the option to custom this to children’s ability to understand what they are doing.
  • Blocksi Web Filter – This is both a web filter and a parental control panel all in one. There are numerous categories you can filter while allowing them, blocking or giving a warning.
  • YouDeemIt – This is a parental advice system. This social tool is designed to give kids a sense of responsibility as they use the internet.

Children and Mobile Devices

What age should a kid have a phone?

This can vary because some kids are more developed, and it may be a case of asking if your child actually needs a phone for other things apart from using them for social media or gaming. It is now shown that over 50% of kids under the age of 8 have their own cell phone. In some cases, if kids are not always with parents, then a cell phone is good mobile security.

How much time is too much?

The average time kids spend on their cell phones is only around 2 hours. However, it is when kids use them at meal times or while eating in restaurants. If they do this, then this does fall into kids using phones too much. The definition of screen time may say a certain amount of time is too much, but when they do interfere with other aspects of family life, it is way too much.

How much screen time should a child have daily?

The recommendations are still the same at 2 hours per day, for the age over 5, under this 1 hour per day is recommended. However, reports are showing that kids are spending around 7 hours per day of screen time. [Source]

Best Parental Control App for iPhone

There are actually a couple because the test results change depending on the age of the child in question. For younger kids, the best one available is Mobichip. For kids who are older and in high school and above, the well-known Covenant Eyes comes out on top.

Best Parental Control App for Android

The best parental control app for Android is Zift Parental Control with Net Nanny Filter. This has excellent filters and a great overall design. It is also pretty good on the iPhone.

On Wednesday I will publish the fourth and final article in this series with an in depth look at kids and social media.

 

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About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com
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