Chrome browser can be a valuable parental control

ChromeI used to be, and probably still am, skeptical and distrusting of Google’s Chrome browser and it’s ability to store your bookmarks, browsing history and passwords in the cloud. Having it stored there, just in case you opened a Chrome browser on another machine and wanted all your junk there automatically, seemed a little excessive. Well, I’m a convert after finding it fits a great little niche in my family safe internet regime.

When last did you actually look at your kids browsing history? I bet you haven’t, at least until some status-quo busting moment occurs and prompts/forces you to check.

Well, I did and was shocked to see where they had landed up by just following links around, but more to see what they were actually Googling themselves. That gets even more revealing when they have friends over and the power of peer pressure starts being applied and boundaries start being pushed.

Well, this is what Google Chrome has given me to add to my peace of mind.

  • A locked down browser that allows me to keep Safe Search on for YouTube, Google Search and other Google apps.
  • The ability to log on  as them, on my own browser and see their browsing history.
  • Have any useful plugins you may have added and configured, automatically get installed onto any Chrome browser they log into (give eSafely a try).

 

Is being online all night reasonable?

 Almost everyone I speak to still have their kids “connected” up to and often after they get to bed at night. So, no… it probably isn’t reasonable or even justified when you think about your kids. It probably is time to think about rules and technology assists, but before that, let me tell you how this became a necessity for me.

There was an occasion when I noticed my youngest son was not sleeping very well and I could hear him tossing and turning into the early morning hours. I assumed it was just a bad sleep week, until I found his iPhone hidden under his pillow. Being the “dad from hell”, I do know their device passwords (it’s a condition of use here), so proceeded to investigate.

It seemed he had been Skyping with complete strangers all around the world, that he had met through playing Minecraft. That on its own would have been enough, but most of these were not kids and too much conversation had been had for my liking.

I made sure there was nothing in those conversations to be alarmed about, blocked those users that warranted it, made sure chat logs were kept forever and then invoked an Acceptable Use Device Policy for home. With that, I also started to use technology to assist in managing those little indiscretions. 

Most parents do not realise that the home gateway device, that connects your to your broadband provider, very often has parental controls within it. In my case, I have a scheduler that can be used to restrict particular devices within the home network from having access to the Internet between certain times.

ParentalControls

With this in place, the kids can use their PCs, iPhones or tablets, but can only get connected to the outside world within reasonable hours (or with parental exception). This works a treat, and reinforces the home use policy, removing almost all of that debate and whining… (well, most of it)

Remember, you need to make sure you manage your family access and tools, so make sure you learn about the safety settings you can use to make your life easier and safer.

 

What are your kids watching on YouTube?

Chances are, at some time you may have stumbled upon or been shocked by what you have found your kids watching on YouTube. Not yet? Well brace yourself, it will happen.

It starts innocently enough. They probably got there after watching a tame video and then followed some of the recommendations offered when it finished, and “whamo!”, they’re watching a softporn outtake… 

Did you know that you can set up parental controls that will provide a level of safe searching for your kids?

Well, you can.

If you have a Google account to use for your kids, you can enable Safe Search. This will mean that on that browser (or even on the mobile YouTube app), when logged in as that Google YouTube user, all unsafe items will not show up, or be recommended, to your child. This includes those often vile comments that seem to also gather around these videos nowadays…

safe-search

Remember, that you need to make sure you have a Google (YouTube) account so that it knows who is viewing and you need to switch on Safe Search on any browser where your child will be using. Don’t forget mobile browsers, mobile YouTube apps or even other machines in your house that they may occasionally use.

This will provide some comfort that your child will not easily stumble upon anything inappropriate. These protections will never completely protect your child, but cover much of the content there.

As a parent, take the time to teach your kids how to react to things they feel are inappropriate, help them understand what is inappropriate and how to recognize it – keep an eye on them, that’s your job.

So, do you actually know what your kids are watching on YouTube?

 

Do let us know if you’ve found a better way of managing the endless YouTube watching, we want to hear ideas and experiences.