As parents, it’s our job to keep our kids safe in a digital world. Read on to find out how you can do just that!
If you’re looking for some great kid-safe search engines in an increasingly confusing online world, try these suggestions:
- Ask Kids – Search engine designed exclusively for young people ages 6 to 12.
- KidRex – This child-safe search engine powered by Google Custom Search utilizes Google SafeSearch and maintains its own database of inappropriate websites and keywords.
- KidzSearch.com – Family-friendly safe search engine for children powered by Google.
- Mymunka.com – Set this as your child’s default home page and protect them and your computer from 98% of malicious search results.
Beware of in-app purchases
Smartphones and tablets are great for keeping kids entertained on long road trips or in the carpool line. But there are some dangers to your wallet when your kids play with your gadgets.
In-game app charges on kids’ games have become a real problem for parents. It’s not uncommon for parents to find their checking accounts or credit cards dinged for anywhere from $5 to $100 each time their children play ‘free’ games.In some really extreme examples, the CBC reports a Canadian mom was hit with $3,000 in charges after her twins played Clash of Clans, a freemium app for iOS! Huffington Post reports a 5 year old racked up $2,500 in charges after playing the free game Zombies vs. Ninja on a parent’s iPad. And a 6 year old ran up $3,200 on his grandfather’s credit card playing Tiny Monsters, a free Android app.
To avoid this happening to you, see below for links that explain how you can turn off in-app purchases for Android, iOS and Kindle.
- How to turn off in-app purchases on iOS.
- How to block in-app purchases on Android.
- Turn off in-app purchasing on a Kindle.
Meanwhile, I recently heard from thanatos0801 on Clark Stinks. Special thanks for your thoughts specifically concerning iOS and ways to handle the in-app purchase situation:
- Turn off in-app purchases. Go into the device Settings > General > Restrictions > In App Purchases (see this to ‘off’). The device will require your master unlock password before allowing that option to be turned back on again.
- Allow in-app purchases, but require your password immediately. Also in the Settings, this option forces the password to be entered for ANY in-app purchase, even if you’ve entered your iTunes password recently.
- Start an iTunes account that links to a pre-paid credit card with a very low pre-paid balance. Use only iTunes gift certificates to store a permitted amount on that account. Allow the children to make in-app purchases only while the device is logged in with that account. This way, they can buy things they want using money you control, and they can’t touch your bank accounts or credit cards.’*
More ways to protect your children on the internet:
Start with the basics. There’s no substitute for hands-on parenting. Openly discuss ‘stranger danger’ with your kids, so they understand that not everyone is who they claim to be on the web. Remind them (often) to never give out their names, addresses, passwords or any other personal information.
Other good tips include:
- Don’t put a computer or a mobile device with internet access in your child’s room.
- Ask your child to create a list of the identities and emails of their friends.
- Monitor your child’s browsing habits.
Create separate user accounts for your kids. On Windows systems, parents can create separate user accounts for their children. Having different log-in accounts for the kids allows parents to limit access to undesirable websites and software downloads, and even lets them set limits on how much time kids can spend on the computer.
Install parental control software. For even greater control, you can purchase and install parental control software that will allow you to monitor and manage the computer usage in your household. See PC Magazine’s recommendations and reviews of the latest parental control software.
Install AdBlock plug-ins on your browser. Ad-blocking extensions are fantastic! These are free ‘add-on’ programs that can be added to your browser that not only remove online ads and banners from being displayed on websites, but they also block known ‘malware’ domains, and prevent Flash, Java or malicious programs from being downloaded.