How to find Parental Controls for Smartphones.

 

 

Creative commons picture – by Enricod – http://www.flickr.com/photos/enricod/6989554817/

October marks the ninth annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, so I assumed there would be a few interesting posts about raising awareness about cyber security.

However – Today I read in the Telegraph, that parents are worried that children can get porn on their mobile phones….

While of course I do want our children to be able to use the internet and be safe – I feel this is slightly exaggerated or maybe parents just aren’t informed and unaware.

When they say mobile phone of course, they actually mean Smartphone – a smartphone is a mobile phone that is built on a mobile operating systems allowing internet connectivity.

I don’t really want to debate about why on earth these parents would they buy a child a smartphone when maybe the kids isn’t responsible or savvy enough not to click things that lead to adult sites, but porn is all over the internet, we know this. If they just had a normal feature phone that just took calls – then there wouldn’t be this problem at all.

If you really want your child to have a smartphone

First things first –  its your responsibility to speak to children about the dangers of being online if its on a smartphone or on a computer, children need to know not only what’s out there but the online etiquette.  Maybe too strong a word for children, but you’ve seen what they put on facebook – pouting pictures with their tops hanging off and foul language, talking about their next beer/girlfriend/snog.  No, not all of them are like that but you know what I am talking about.  Children need to be reminded that having a mobile phone of any kind carries with it some responsibility.

Parental controls 

Many, (if not all by now) mobile networks can block adult content sites on your child’s phone, there’s a start – call your network provider speak them them about it.  No, this doesn’t work if they are in a wifi area but these applications might help.

Applications to help your child be more secure on a mobile phone.

Android – Google play has an extensive list of applications like these, on a search for Parental control applications.

Apple does a lot to help security

On the iPad and iPhone there are parental control options on itunes, where you can protect children from inappropriate content or stop video chats.  And there are parental controls iTunes to stop them assessing adult content.

iTunes has many applications listed under parental controls

  • Kaspersky
  • AVG Family Safety
  • K9 Web Protection
  • Mobicip Safe Browser
  • Timelock
  • Netgear Genie
  • Bsecure
  • Parental Control by MountainDev
  • Kids-safe youtube
  • X3watch
Security Applications for Blackberry world …..

And the lists go on and on, I’ve not tested all of the applications obviously so I don’t know how good they are but I wanted to show you, that you do have options, apart from saying…. No, you are too young for your own smartphone!

One last word – remember also that many applications on smartphones you can play with anyone, they don’t even have to be a friend or someone in your phonebook and you can also chat with these people on the games.  So remember that when setting up permissions and controls.

Be safe and be aware.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Flintstones

Another very old picture that I drew in MS Paint, of the kids from the Flintstones – Bam Bam and Pebbles 🙂

The Flintstones is an animated, prime-time American television sitcom that was broadcast from September 30, 1960 to April 1, 1966 on ABC. The show was produced by Hanna-Barbera ProductionsThe Flintstones was about a working-class Stone Age man’s life with his family and his next-door neighbor and best friend.

The show’s continuing popularity rested heavily on its juxtaposition of modern everyday concerns in the Stone Age setting

From Wiki – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flintstones

 

 

Safe Social Networking for our kids!




Whether you like it or not your child will probably have access to a computer and the internet at a very early age, by the age of 5 these children will be able to use many areas of a computer and surprisingly enough the first thing they remember is how to connect to the internet.  
Has your young child asked for a Facebook account yet?  

Sites like Facebook MySpace and Twitter are being blocked from many school networks as they are not suitable for young children, which is right those sites are not, but young children are aware of these sites, they see their parents or guardians and siblings using the networks and understandably they want to join in.
(I’ll just remind you that sites like Facebook, Bebo and MySpace  set minimum ages of around 13)
Why shouldn’t they become involved? We can teach them how to use social networking sites safely and efficiently when they are young so that by the time they get to teenagers they know how to keep safe and be more responsible. Firstly by showing them how important it is to customise their settings. Secondly and as important how to behave and communicate on line.
I think we should encourage children have their own blog sites as well, its great, it encourages them to use their imaginations’, improve their writing/typing skills and IT skills. It doesn’t have to be personal it can be about their favourite subject.
There are so many child friendly, safe networks that your child can join, on various lists, that are   designed just for younger children, and which grown ups can monitor.  
Here are just two of them,
http://togetherville.com/
Togetherville is linked to Facebook, thereby adults who possess a Facebook account can sign up and register their kids
or
Education is right at the heart of the Moshi Monsters experience. Every day your child’s monster will create a series of fun puzzles that test everything from vocabulary and arithmetic to logic and spatial skills.
I haven’t personally tried these sites as my son is much older than this now and I wouldn’t want to join on my own, for research purposes? What would people think! –  but have seen some good reviews on them, just Google them for more information.
I’ve seen Habbo hotel on some lists, which I wasn’t very impressed with a few years ago. I’ve no idea if it has changed but at that time there were older children there, that obviously haven’t been taught how to communicate online, so not favourable for the younger ones. You need to be with them when they try these different networks so you know if it is suitable. 
Don’t let them feel left out or feel they have to lie about their age to get on to the sites they should not be on, because they will.
If they are going to go on social networking sites anyway, we may as well start teaching them ourselves, and at a young age when they are not going to complain about us looking over their shoulder or knowing that we are monitoring them.  It could even become some “together” time.
There are many reasons we could be against this and want our children as far away from social networking or the internet in general  but we live in a social media age, its going to happen eventually and there is little anyone can do to stop it. So take charge and educate them as soon as possible while they are  young enough to know that parents/grown ups know best.
Like we obviously do 🙂 



Illustration provided by ……..Me.