Tech Parenting: Why It’s Better To Be Safe Than Sorry (Online)

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Recently, for whatever reason, I have joined a number of Facebook (FB) groups and have noticed a bit of a trend, which makes me uncomfortable and quite surprised.

No…it’s not about profane language or inappropriate pictures. People are actually posting their personal contact information on FB posts. Wow!!

As a result, online safety is on my mind. Here a few tools/tricks for safeguarding you and your family online:

General Safety

Do not post or publish your private contact information on Twitter or Facebook. Instead send private messages or direct messages. Once your contact information is published for everyone to see, you don’t know who can access it and what they might do with your information.

Note: As I researched this blog post, it became apparent that there are different levels of online safety, depending on your family situation. I’m calling them Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Level 1 is the most basic level and Level 3 is online lockdown mode. Please know that there are more services out there but these are just the ones I have come across.

Level 1

Crank up the safety filters on online services such as YouTube or Google. For example, Turn on YouTube’s SafetyMode. All you need to do is scroll down to the bottom of any YouTube page and click on the button that says “Safety” at the bottom of the page switch it on. I am still trying to figure out how to do it on a tablet. (I’ll keep you posted.)

Or if you use Google, you can use their SafeSearch filter which you can turn on and it keeps adult content from popping up. You can adjust it at http://www.google.com/preferences. But don’t kid yourself (Ha, ha!) – These filters aren’t 100% accurate so some things still might get through.

Level 2

Online kid safe browsers such as Maxthon Kid Safe Browser. I haven’t tried this yet but I will because it is free and I don’t have to do a lot. You download their browser and create what is called a “white list.” It is a list of sites that your child can visit. If they visit a site that isn’t on the list they can’t access it. It is simple and I get it.

Level 3

Heavy duty online security, which you pay for. My kids are too young for this type of online security so for my family this is overkill. That said, I do see the value of it and as my kids get older I will consider it.

Right now I’m between Level 1 and Level 2 because my kids are only watching specific YouTube videos with parental supervision. My girlfriend, on the other hand, is a super security freak and will be migrating to Net Nanny shortly!

What do you do to keep your family safe online in the comment section? Leave a comment below or email me at weeboot@gmail.com

Additional Resources

Mom’s Internet Safety Cheatsheet

Online Privacy and Data: What Parents Need to Know

Did You Know Apple Devices Have Built-In Parental Controls?

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