Parental Controls

Post image for How Internet Security Savvy Are You?

If you have read any of my articles in the past, I find it extremely important to use technology as a tool to better your life. Some of those “tools” are for entertainment, and others are for security and safety of yourself and your family. Entertainment is obviously fun, as it should be, but security and safety is not as much so. It can be daunting and scary, and frequently, people don’t have a clue as to how to even begin to approach combating it. Luckily there are tools out there to, yes, help you better your life.

Basic CMYKI was excited when Trend Micro, an industry leader of Internet content security and threat management for businesses and consumers, approached me about an exciting new program called “The Digital Joneses.” Framed as more of a “study” than a program, this year-long projects pulls the collective minds of 7 families around the country to participate in a series of challenges designed to understand what families go through when they enter the digital realm but also to educate the audiences that each of these family serves, whether they be friends or family, or the blogging audience that each of the families write to (all of the families selected have popular parenting blogs).

Here are the bloggers participating in the program:

There is a full page devoted to getting a better feel for all of the families participating in the program, so if you want insight into the order or chaos of all of our lives, be sure to check that page out. I believe that it is important to understand who the voices are and what their challenges are in terms of Internet security, privacy and awareness. We all represent different sets of values as well as technological expertise, have children of different ages and needs, and approach challenges in unique ways.

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Post image for Ice for Xmas, Kid Failure, Modern Holiday Songs, Santa Believer, Holiday Spam List, 12 Gifts Not to Give & More from Babble.com

As I mentioned earlier, I’m now doing a daily article on Babble.com’s new “Dadding” site. Since I feel that there is actually some of my better humorous content over there, I thought it would make sense to share the content with my HighTechDad readers.

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I’m going to start these regular weekly recaps with a full monthly summary of all of my posts. From here forward, it will most likely just be a weekly recap. Below is a list from newest to oldest. If there are any that you particularly like, let me know and be sure to share them on Facebook, Twitter or Google+!

Here are the article titles and a quick summary:

I’m Giving My Kids “Nothing” for Christmas!
The best gift or present that you can give this Holiday Season is Nothing!

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Post image for 10 Ideas for Facebook Parental Controls and What You Can Do Until They Are There

Facebook needs parental controls – although I will bet that if you ask kids between the ages of 13 and 16, they would say that it definitely does NOT need ANY type of parental control whatsoever. But, being a parent and a bit of a social media junkie, I know that something is definitely needed. Children are simply too young to understand the dangers of having a social presence. It is fun when things are going great, but as soon as social bullying rears its ugly head, it can be devastating to your kids. Not only that, but, like video games, cell phones, TV or technology in general, it can become incredibly addictive. I should know, I have a technology addiction (and a bit of Attention Deficit Disorder thrown in for good measure).

As adults we “supposedly” have the tools and intelligence to work with social media the “proper” way, although I would state that many people act like little, immature children when they are using it. But children often don’t have the experience or the “maturity” to cope with bullies, cliques, relational aggression or simply mean kids online. The number one thing that you, as parents, can do to navigate these tricky waters is to educate and talk to your children about both the advantages and disadvantages of being on Social Media. I am going to focus on Facebook specifically in this article mainly because it seems to be the most personal and has the most privacy controls, believe it or not, as compared to Google+ or Twitter. And most kids are on Facebook, even younger than the 13 years or older limit that is outlined within the Facebook Terms of Service and checked during the registration process.

It is really up to you to decide if you are going to abide by the age restriction. There may be reasons why you might want your 12 year old to be on Facebook. I’m not sure if I would let kids younger than that on there but I have heard of plenty who are. But you are the parent so that choice is yours. However, I do feel that there needs to be some tighter restrictions for those “legal” kids (13 and older) who are on Facebook.

Facebook needs to do something about this. They should have done this years ago in my opinion. Instead, they grew the complexity of the privacy settings to the point where you need a masters degree in Social Media to even come close to figuring it out. What Facebook HAS done recently related to kids is add the ability to include an unborn child in your profile. Uh really? Let’s get some innovation here and help those parents who are worried about their “born” kids on Facebook.

As a parent of a child who recently joined Facebook, I’m concerned. Currently without direct oversight, how can I ensure that she isn’t being tagged in inappropriate photos taking by her friends. How do I know if the people she is friending or who are friending her won’t hurt her in some way. Luckily, both my wife and I are pretty savvy on the workings of Facebook, or at least we think we are. We have heard stories of how parents friended their children so that they could keep their eyes on them, only to later learn that their kids tweaked their privacy setting to pretty much block their parents from seeing any of their activities, photos, videos, check-ins, etc. It’s pretty hard to avoid that. Kids are really smart when it comes to this.

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If you are a parent of a tween (a pre-teenager), you have probably hit the stage of your child wanting a cell phone. My wife and I broke down (or were gradually worn down) about a year ago with our oldest and she got hers when she was about 10. She wasn’t (and still isn’t) allowed to take it to school and only carries it with her when she goes to her after school activities (although she looks for any excuse possible to carry it!). It’s one of those “coming of age” things.

My view of cell phones and children is a bit disjointed, verging on schizophrenic. For starters, if it isn’t obvious already, I’m a big of a gadget nut. So there is one side of me that wants my kids to get the latest and greatest cell phone. But on the flip side is the responsible parent in me that wants to protect my child from distractions, aggressive texting and handheld gaming (they already do that enough with their Nintendo DS’s). But somewhere in the middle is where I ended up, where my wife and I view my daughter’s cell phone as a utilitarian device, there for emergencies only. But how long with that truly last?

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We ended up blocking a lot of the “fun” stuff on the cell phone we decided upon. And this post isn’t really about a product in particular but more so about some things that you can do to protect your child when using a cell phone as well as how to safely extend your care-giving leash a bit further than just within eyesight. After this quick product write up, I have some thoughts on being overly restrictive on texting, internet browsing, application purchases and so on. And also provide some information about other family safety services that you can purchase from your wireless provider so be sure to read on.

The Samsung Propel

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Review: Safe Internet for your Kids with Intego Content Barrier x4

June 12, 2008

Being a good dad means protecting your kids. That can be by physically keeping them from danger, or, by preventing their young innocent eyes and minds from being corrupted by seeing content that they are too young for. With technology, connectivity and communications pervading all aspects of our lives, it has become increasingly difficult to […]

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