Is your family computer safe for children?
The children are back in school. That means they have to do their homework and projects. If you teach your kids at home in Spain or the UK, you might use your computer a lot. But there are things on the internet and even on your own hard drives that might not be right for children. So, here are some tips to make the family computer safe for children in Spain or anywhere else…
Install the Latest OS Releases
The programme that runs your computer is called its operating system, or OS. Windows and macOS are the ones most people use. But there are also different kinds of Linux that you could use. Often, new versions are put out to keep up with what features consumers want. But also to keep safe. For example, the latest version of macOS lets you protect family photo albums. But a new OS can slow down your computer. There are ways to get around this (read more) so you can get the great features of a new OS without putting your computer’s security at risk.
Make the Family Computer Safe for Children with Web Features
Almost 20% of the childrenwho were asked said that they had seen adult content online during lockdown. This number is way too high, as every parent will agree. Most web browsers come with built-in tools that let users control what they see. For example, you can decide which websites your kids can visit on Chrome and how much access they have to certain websites. If “Try to block explicit sites” is turned on in Family Link for your child, Chrome will try to block sites that have been flagged as sexually explicit, violent, or not child-safe in general.
Limit Child Screen Time
As a parent, you can do your part by keeping an eye on how much time your child spends on the PC. By taking an active role in how they use the computer, you can almost stop them from accessing anything that isn’t appropriate. You can also make sure they only use the computer for work and research. You can do this by giving yourself a set amount of time, like three hours, when you get home from school. It’s also a good idea to make sure they don’t spend too much time on social media and the internet at night. Blue light can make it hard to sleep.
Create Individual Accounts
Every operating system has ways to set up individual accounts on a computer. The most powerful account is usually called “Administrator,” and it lets you do everything, including manage other accounts. On a shared computer, it’s always a good idea to set up restricted accounts. This means that you can stop your kids from using certain features, programmes, and websites. By doing this, you make it much less likely that harmful programmes will be installed and protect yourself from cyber security risks like keyloggers, malware, and camera control.
Install Parental Control Apps
Some of the features that come with modern operating systems are great. But there’s only so far they can go. You probably already use fun apps. Installing parental control apps will give you more control over what your children can see and do. Here are some of the best you can get:
- Qustodio: comes with many features and is best overall.
- Google Family Link: free for macOS and Android.
- Bark: great for older kids because of social media monitoring.
- Canopy: excellent content filters make it the best for younger children.
- NetNanny: has excellent real-time monitoring features.
Parental control apps let you keep an eye on what your kids are doing on their devices no matter where they are. This is different from a parental control router, which lets you decide what websites your kids can and can’t access when they use your home network.
Use Encryption for Important Documents
Of course, not every threat comes from the outside. Because you use a shared computer at work, there could be sensitive files or websites on it. Suppose, for example, you are a private criminal forensics consultant. You wouldn’t want your kids to be able to look at pictures of murders. So it’s best to keep your work and your family life separate. Luckily, this is easy to do by locking certain drives and folders with encryption software. OneDrive from Microsoft is a great free tool. Apps like Secure IT, AxCrypt, and Folder Lock can also be used.
Always Logout and Clear History
Make sure you log out so your kids can’t see what you do at work or on sites you often visit as an adult. Some web browsers will keep you logged in to websites and save your history, so you don’t have to log in every time. This will save you time and make things easier for you. This is great, of course, if you have a computer that only you use. But if the family PC is shared, this could be terrible. You wouldn’t want your kids to see the sites you visit as an adult. For example, you might often use shopping or medication websites to buy items of a very personal nature.
Make the Family Computer Safe for Children with Kid Browsers
Most likely, you have only heard of a few web browsers. But around 200 are actually available. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari by Apple, and Opera are the five most popular desktop web browsers. All of these are great, but they don’t have enough safety features for kids. But you can download and install child-friendly browsers that are made with kids in mind and have safety features that are turned on by default. Google made Kiddle, and its search results will only show child-friendly content. Pikluk and Kidoz are two others.
Practice Basic PC Security
Lack of cybersecurity is one of the easiest ways for a child to see something they shouldn’t. Also, if you don’t protect your PC, hackers could use your webcam to take pictures of your kids. The good news is that most of the time, basic computer security is enough to keep your family computer safe. Antimalware packages like Malwarebytes are great security solutions that do a lot of things well. Malwarebytes will, for example, block access from the outside, stop access to malicious sites, and scan files and emails regularly. You should also cover your webcam.
There are a lot of dangers online these days. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to make the family computer safe for children. You can start by installing the most recent operating systems, which have better features. You can also use parental control apps to restrict access to explicit sites. And cheap and effective antimalware packages are excellent at making things safer all around.