The Internet is a wild, wild place. It has plenty of advantages for sure but it also has its fair share of disadvantages, traps and scams. Hardly an ideal place to let kids roam around unwatched. They can learn a lot from the Internet these days. The nature of what they learn is mostly up to the parents to monitor and guide, especially when kids are young.
There are a number of free parental control software packages and some tools designed to assist parents in this very task. Here are five that are worth a look.
Windows Parental Control Software
Windows has been offering parental control features (or some that are close to the feature) from some time now. Internet Explorer has had a content advisor since ages ago. The recent version of Windows offer even greater control. Barring the Business edition, all other Windows editions ship with parental control. You would have to create a separate account for kids (which is the sensible thing to do anyway), then you can access and manage parental controls from the Windows Control Panel. You can limit the amount of time your kids spend on the computer, the applications they can use and for how long; and you can also get an activity report of what they have been up to.
OpenDNS not only resolves web addresses quickly. It also offers a host of other interesting features similar to free parental control software which you can use to protect users from phishing attacks of unsuitable content on the Internet. All you need to do in order to use OpenDNS is to set the nameservers for your computer or router. Once this is done, go ahead and create a free web account. This will let you manage what to allow and give you detailed statistics as well.
OpenDNS maintains a list of websites, broken down into categories that you can use to make browsing a little safer. You can also create your own blacklists to restrict access to any sites you don’t want your kids to view.
Kidzui is safe, free parental control software in the form of a web browser for kids. It let’s the children access games, videos and content that have been approved by parents around the world. One really nice feature of Kidzui is that it takes up the entire screen by default, hiding the Windows interface so that children don’t wander off elsewhere on your computer. Kidzui is great if you want to set up a hassle-free, safe and educational window to the web for your young ones. Here is the complete scoop.
Visikid is more of a monitoring application with a strong focus on your kid’s activities. It monitors the applications that are accessed and the sites that are visited along with the time spent on them. All this information is presented to you nicely categorized should you choose to know what your kids have been up to. There are graphs, custom categories and much more on the Visikid dashboard that you can access at their website. Here is the complete review.
also allows you to create list of websites that you deem suitable for your kids. Similar to Kidzui, it provides a safe means to access educational websites, games and all the usual features. A distinguishing feature is that you can create a Pikluk email address for your children and create a white list of users they are allowed to communicate with. Any email to or from anyone not on the list will be blocked.
Video sites for kids
Videos are generally very popular among kids but allowing access to something like Youtube is fishing in troubled waters. Although they are not strictly parental control tools, sites like ZuiTube and Totlol take a lot of burden off your shoulders when letting your kids watch videos online. These sites list videos that are fun, educational and moderated to be child-safe.
With all the tools combined and a careful strategy, you can be reasonably sure your kids are safe on the computer. However, nothing can match the caring and watchful attention of parents. We suggest you stick to that from time to time as well. Also check out 5 sites that promote internet safety for kids for some serious in depth information on the topic
What do you think about these? Do you know of some other useful tools for similar purposes? Sound off in the comments.