← From the Director of Student Wellbeing
How to Use Technology to Keep Your Child Safe Online
Children can spend an unhealthy amount of time online that may affect their health, studies, and time with family. The longer the time children spend online, the more exposed they are to unsavory characters that may compromise their safety. It is every parent’s responsibility to monitor and regulate what their children do on the web. With safety software, parents can manage and monitor their children’ activities. Internet safety solutions have a set of common features such as - tracking browser and search histories, setting time limits and schedules, blocking age-inappropriate websites and apps, and preventing in-app purchases. Here are three reliable cyber safety apps that parents may find helpful.
Microsoft Family Safety
Cons: Limited functions
About: Parents whose children use Windows PCs and Xbox consoles may use Family Safety. For this to work, parents and their children must have a Microsoft online account of their own. Keep in mind that local accounts do not work with the software. What makes Family Safety different from other safety software is that the device and app limits work across all managed devices – even Xbox’s – so that children can’t game the system and swap devices to get additional screen time. Weekly activity reports can also be emailed to parents. If children need more time to finish schoolwork or purchase an app, they can send a request to their parents who can then extend their time or allow the purchase remotely through the app or, if they are present, by entering their password on the device. Family Safety is limited to managing Windows devices and Xbox consoles and only blocks websites and track browser history and searches on Microsoft Edge.
Google Family Link
Cons: Limited functions
About: Android devices can be monitored with Family Link, a free app by Google that supports the most common features of parental control apps. Contrary to Microsoft Family Safety that sets the hours within which children are allowed to use their devices, this software has a feature called Bedtime, on which parents can set the schedule from which children are blocked from using their phones. Family Link has unique features such as the Device Lock, which overrides set limits and locks a device any time; and Play Sound, which enables a device to ring at maximum volume if it is misplaced. Family Link is limited to filtering content on Google products such as Search, Play Store, and YouTube. However, Google searches on PCs can be monitored if the browser used is Chrome and if the children are logged in using their Google account.
Pros: Extensive functions and controls
Cons: Small monthly cost; will take time to setup and find the settings suitable for each child
About: Family Zone is a trusted cyber safety solutions company. Their Safe Family Bundle provides all-around protection for an entire household. The Family Zone box protects all devices connected to the home network no matter what type of device, gaming console, or operating system. What sets Family Zone apart from other solutions is that they have a team of cyber safety experts that consult with parents on how to best manage and implement a system that is most suitable for their family’s needs, eliminating the stress and guesswork from the parents. While Family Zone comes as a paid solution, parents can all agree that no one can put a price tag on their children’ safety. Each setting can be changed to suit the needs of each child.
Technology can assist parents in becoming better stewards and protectors of their households. Online safety is just one of the many challenges parents juggle daily, but certainly, they are not without help.
James Marsman - Director of Student Wellbeing