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Tips for Protecting Kids in a World of Technology

 

Technological Protection for Our Kids

Technology has made our world a much more convenient place, but not necessarily a safer place.  How do we as parents encourage an effective use of technology while also protecting our kids from the potential dangers that are also present?  The following are some suggested tools for protection for computers, cell phones, gaming systems and other personal devices.  These tools can help us monitor our kids’ behavior and to help protect them from potentially harmful material.  However, no app or software device can completely protect from every situation.  Therefore, the more layers of protection provided, the greater likelihood of safe technology usage for our kids.  Three to four layers of protection on each and every device, combined with parents checking regularly, provides the best protection.

Here are some basics of securing your kids’ technology.

1. Secure each and every device: Kid's Phone, IPad/tablet, PC, gaming system, Nintendo DS, your phone, your PC, your tablet, any old phones/devices, and pretty much anything with an on/off button.  Do not assume any device is safe.  Assume every device, even the smallest handheld gaming device, has access to the internet.

2. No single app is the solution. It is best to use multiple layers of protection on each and every device.  Four layers on cell phones and three layers on all other devices. 

3. Block all installations and downloads unless you give your explicit approval through the input of a secure password. Remember that some apps have browsers built into the app.  Check every app to ensure that the app cannot launch any type of browser for web searches.  Some apps have youtub.com access built into the app.  These apps can circumvent the protections installed on the device.

4. Never allow the use of a VPN. VPNs can circumvent your protections.

5. Trust but verify.  Have kids turn in phones/mobile devices at night as they go to bed.  Check the device for improper usage.  Check the reports on the various apps to see the trends of websites, apps and time usage.

6. The following are not safe: YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, Safari, Spotify, Microsoft Edge or Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Netflix, any other social media site, any other browser, and pretty much any app that functions as portal to internet.   

7. Install and use three or more layers of protection on each device.

Cell phones:
Use the parent protections that are part of the operating system. 

Require that all websites are allowed only after the explicit approval by a parent through the input of a secure password. 

Block all apps that have any browsers built into the app or access to YouTube in the app.   

Install an app like Covenant Eyes or Bark or SecureTeen to monitor all activity, control time of usage, and limit media activities. 

Use Open DNS on all wireless routers in the home.  Then use the cell phone company's parental restrictions on each device. 

Login to the cell phone provider’s website and change the status of each phone to child or young teen.

Tablets:
Use the parent protections that are part of the operating system. 

Require that all websites are allowed only after the explicit approval by a parent through the input of a secure password. 

Block all apps that have any browsers built into the app or access to YouTube in the app.   

Install an app like Covenant Eyes or Bark or SecureTeen to monitor all activity, can control time of usage, and can limit activities like social networks. 

Use Open DNS on all wireless routers in the home.  Then use the cell phone company's parental restrictions on each device

PCs:
Establish an administrator account for which only the parent knows the password.

Create accounts for children, but create each child account by setting their age to be four years younger than they actually are.

Use the parent protections that are part of the operating system, either Windows 10 or Apple. 

All websites should be blocked unless explicitly approved by the parent through a secure password. 

Block all apps that have any browsers built into the app or have access to YouTube in the app.

Install an app like Covenant Eyes or Bark or Norton Family that monitors all activity and can control time of usage along with limit activities like social networks. 

Use Open DNS on all wireless routers in the home.

Block In-Private viewing in all browsers.

Gaming systems like PS4, Xbox, Wii:
Extremely Important: setup a parental account as the master account on the system and then establish sub accounts for each player. 

Use a different pass code for the parental account than the rest of the accounts. 

Do not ever share the pass code to the parental account.

Do not ever share pass code to the kid accounts. 

If they want to play they need to come ask you to log them in. 

This will prevent late night gaming after you assume they have gone to bed. 

Block all installs without parental permission.  Block internet browsing on all accounts within the gaming system.  Block movie or TV watching on all accounts within the gaming system. 

Use Open DNS on all wireless routers in the home.

Smart TVs:
Block internet browsing on the TV or at least password protect the TV browser.

Use Open DNS on all wireless routers in the home.

8. Check your Open DNS setup. Check to ensure the Open DNS is working on each device by checking the website www.internetbadguys.com.  

9. Get help. If you are not sure if these steps are safely and securely implemented or you have questions about implementation of these items, check with someone who is good with technology.  This process takes hours of time to setup.  Sometimes time is not enough and someone with technology expertise is needed.

10. These steps costs money.  Build the safety of technology into your annual budget.

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