I was heading home from work and was listening to a program on Inspiration FM radio. ‘Sharing Life Issues’ The topic for that day was about monitoring and if possible censoring what kids are exposed to online. Even though I could not call-in to offer my advise, I promised myself I must do justice to the issue as I realized from listening to the program; that most parents do not have sufficient knowledge of handling this.
Well I’m not a counsellor so don’t expect advise on training up your children the way they should grow. The crew in Inspiration radio are already doing a wonderful job every weekdays by 7pm. I will be discussing from the technical angle being a techie guy myself.
Two major channels kids get exposed under your watch is the Desktop computer and the smartphone or devices. I could add a third one but won’t want to bore you with what you should know and that is Cable TV.
The Internet is the mother of everything good and evil. And for your kids, in as much as they need the exposure you also need to be careful by separating the wheat from the shaft in what they do online. I’m sure if you are an adult you understand me better. I’m being sensitive in my choice of words because even the kids – our subject of discussion could be reading this.
I learnt from my late grandfather – God bless his soul – back then that the antidote for a snake bite is found in the snake itself. Simply put we do not need external tools to censor the computer and devices. So let’s get started – I will be recommending series of steps and tools you can make use of to reduce the anxiety of what you feel your children could be exposed to.
Lets start with the PC – and by extension the Windows operating system. If your current OS is a Windows 7 which I expect it to be. Windows has an in-built parental control system that allows you to limit access to programs, apps and even place restriction on viewing times.
Let list the basic thing you need to do.
- Create different users; an administrator account which most likely is your first user and then Standard/Limited accounts.
- Password the Administrator account, you can leave the other user account open or restricted if you like.
- Then setup Parental Control on the user account – your kids will have to access the computer via the limited user.
A step by step instruction have been provided by the good people of GCF Free Learning and can be accessed here.
Now that we can monitor and control. Lets make use of some other tools
Microsoft Family Safety
Yes, from Microsoft again. You can make use of this online tool to keep track of your children’s computer activity. Add more than one child and monitor each of them separately. Web filtering technology means you can restrict viewing of sites by category. Restrict usage of apps etc.
You can get started with Microsoft Family Safety here. Have in mind you will need a Microsoft Account. Anyway its free.
Avira Social Network Protection
Just as the name implies, The Avira SNP allows you to monitor your children social media profile and alerts you whenever something goes wrong. when I mean go wrong, I mean wrong words being used on your child’s social network, Cyber bullying and other form of nefarious activity.
A freemium application. Very powerful and versatile. Why! because it not just works online, it covers a wider range of devices. PC – both Windows and Mac; Smartphones – both Android, Windows, Apple, Kindle etc. Call it the Gbogbonise[all in all] of monitoring. The free plan limits you to one user while you need to pay for additional users. User mean children.
K9 Web Protection
Quite of a lot of people recommended this software. and best of all its free. All you need do is to install it on your computer and leave it to do it work. I still recommend you install as an administrator and allow usage of your system via the limited user. That way your children wont be able to over-ride its control. K9 Web Protection is far more useful to schools – it can be run on an organisational level. Schools have been one place kids get to learn the wrong side of the web from others.
One more thing about K9 – Its available on Android and IOS phones. So why wont you want to use it. Click to try it here
The tools I have reviewed in this article adapt to your Desktop PCs and Web Filtering. They also apply to your smartphone devices. You should be expecting my article specifically for monitoring your kids smart devices because its one place we can’t ignore. However get started with the ones here and if you have other tips to add for parents out there. Please lets have them in the comment section below.
Most of the times, Zion peers at the computer screen, tweaking codes, analysing and calculating figures, manipulating the screen and digging deep into the World Wide Web. A combination of many different things in one thing. You don’t have to bother understanding that.