- Control access based on time schedules
- Control access to different types of content, services and apps
- Control multiple devices either all at once, or on a per device basis
Whilst there are countless resources available to parents about why you should be concerned about your child online and how you can best engage with your child, there seems to be very few resources dedicated to HOW you actually pull of the tech-wizardry… That’s why this site exists: step-by-step guides, written in plain English for the whole family. And as with any technologies, the guidelines are always changing. I list specific products and services you can buy or use for free, and these will change in line with what is best-practice at any given time. I don’t make any money out of listing products – this site is purely for the benefit of the many parents who ask me how and what to do. It’s also important to note that this isn’t a product review or comparison site. My goal is to help get families struggling to navigate the hundreds of competing products to at least have something in place. The problem I’ve found to date is that people don’t know where to start… so let’s start!
Allow parent devices to be used, rather than assigning devices to kids (important for families who don’t/haven’t got a device just for the kids)
Give parents reporting on usage history with as much detail as possible
And most important: Be bloody easy to install and manage
Your best chances of making this all work is by combining the hard and easy stuff. Why? Let’s say you just put in place an internet filter your kids without telling them.
A younger child will think that either the device is broken or just not know any different. The latter is all well and good whilst they’re using your devices, but what will their reaction be once they use an unfiltered computer?
An older child will probably just fight back (“you’re a dictator!”) and try anything they can to get around any technological measures you put in place.
It doesn’t exactly set the tone of trust!
But if you have a conversation with them around why you believe it’s worth having an internet filter in place, the child at least knows where you stand.
Remember: this is a little bit different to building resilience in your kids when they fall over and bump their knee. If they get tricked into uploading a picture of them, there’s no getting that back. Lessons on the internet are dealt hard.
I’m a father of three, husband and tech entrepreneur. I’ve been running my own technology business since 2003 with my business partner, Lucas Hofmann. Together we’ve built a widely respected IT outsourcing & cybersecurity company, Rock IT, that services high performing businesses in Australia and New Zealand.
So you’d think, with my background in cybersecurity, that I’d have it all worked out when it came time for my kids to go online that I’d be all over it? In reality it’s proving quite difficult to control how my kids use devices.
Prior to the kids starting school it seemed pretty easy. Occasionally we’d give the kids an iPad for some quiet time or if we were travelling on a plane. As they couldn’t read prior to school, they were limited to pre-installed apps such as the ABC for Kids app or any games we downloaded.
Once they could read, however, things got tricky.
As the kids were using my iPad, I was logged into YouTube. I could work out pretty quickly what my son had been watching as I was suddenly being served up recommended videos of “T-Rex vs Velociraptor”, rather than my normal list of guitar tutorials and gardening how-to’s (yep, totally exciting!).
The problem with YouTube is twofold:
Check out this interesting article “Why I’m terrified of YouTube“
With the introduction of web browsers to their world, it was then possible for kids to search whatever they wanted. Whilst I did learn about the biggest hole that mankind has ever made, there were also a bunch of searches in my history that left me a little bewildered… such as Animals pooping.
You get the idea.
I don’t want to hide my kids from the internet because it’s going to be a part of their lives no matter what.
However, in the same way that I don’t want to drop them off at the local shopping centre by themselves, I want to make sure that there are boundaries that I control.
Because I’m responsible for them.
I’m responsible for not only the physical well-being of my children, but also their mental and emotional well being. I want them to grow into strong, loving and happy adults – and based on what I believe is true, that’s achieved by establishing boundaries and trust.
And there we find the two parts to dealing with this problem:
I hope you find this site useful and easy to implement at home. There’s no silver bullet, but with some guidance from you and a little bit of tech-wizardry you’ll be better placed than you are now.