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How to kid-proof your tech

Cell phone and padlock as concept

Sometimes technology and children just don’t mix.

Whether it’s inappropriate content on the internet or kids’ inability to treat expensive devices with care, there are heaps of reasons why you might be afraid of your kids using your electronics.

However, you don’t have to totally cut them off.

Here are some tips on how to keep electronics safe for children and allow them to enjoy the benefits of your devices and their connectivity.

Set a lock code or password

Lock codes and passwords have become commonplace for most devices these days, especially when it comes to smartphones and tablets. Having a simple code or password that your kids can’t figure out is the easiest way to keep them from accessing your tech. For extra safety, consider changing it every few months in case the little ones secretly peak over your shoulder while you punch it in.

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Set up their own profile

Computers and the internet are important tools in connecting children to the outside world and helping them learn. So it’s a bad idea to keep your kids from using the computer or other smart devices entirely, even if you are worried about safety. Instead, set up a separate profile for your kids on your shared home computer. This allows you to control what programs and parts of the internet they can access and keeps your business separate from theirs, eliminating the possibility of them ruining hours of work or other important documents.

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Become familiar with filtering options

Filtering controls can be a parent’s best friend when it comes to childproofing tech. Most devices and operating systems let you set controls on a variety of things, including:

  • What programs children can access
  • What websites they can visit
  • What songs and movies they can play
  • How much time they are allowed to spend online

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Set email controls

This goes hand in hand with filtering options. One of the best (and worst) things about the internet is that almost anybody can use it to do almost anything, including sending malicious, inappropriate emails to people that don’t want them. If you don’t think a spam folder or filter is enough online protection for your child, you can actually restrict the email addresses from which they can receive messages to ones that you have specifically approved.

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Do some research

Getting more information about your child’s browsing habits can help you tailor your filtering and look for specific methods to childproof your tech. Look at search and download histories on your devices to stay on top of what your kids look for while online. If there are sites that you think are not good for your children, block them so they cannot access them.

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Equip your tech with protective gear

Youngsters aren’t always the most careful bunch. Clumsy kids have been known to knock things over and drop breakable items. Your smartphone or tablet that you accidentally left out on the counter of coffee table might be next. To guard against this possibility, buy a case or screen guard for your device. While they can’t totally childproof your products, these protective measures can prolong your tech’s life in many cases.

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Photo credit:

Peter Ciz

lculig

Lars Ploughmann

Paurlan

6 comments

  1. Deborah Boffa says:

    We have an iinet Boblite router. I have tried to set parental controls and block various websites on the router. However, the kids are still able to access the sites. The only control I have is the time schedule. I have all the kids gear on fixed IPs in a consecutive range, then schedule them on and off. Trouble is, we all have so many devices now I am running out of fixed IP slots on the modem. I also have a HSC student who needs more access than her 9 year old sibling. Any advice?

  2. Richard says:

    the best solution to protect your family is make use of OpenDNS

  3. Angelo says:

    I have signed myself up for Open DNS free account Deborah, and used this to set content filtering to block most of the undesirable sites across all devices.

    You might want to investigate that path. It costs nothing for home use

  4. Duncan says:

    Setting up their own profile is a good idea, but I would say it only lessens the chance of them losing your work. My son, who was 5 at the time, managed to start the factory reset on our laptop. I have no idea how he managed it as I later read up how to do it and it was a very specific and timed key press you had to do and then click various boxes to confirm. Needless to say I hadn’t backed up our docs lately and we lost a lot of them. The factory reset was in progress when I found out, so I force powered off the laptop, pulled out the hard drive and recovered a few things. I know it should go without saying, but BACK-UP your stuff folks even if you use separate profiles.

  5. Victoria says:

    This article fails to mention one feature that would be very useful to Parents. Under filtering controls the article fails to mention filtering wifi access completely. My BoB2 allows one timed internet schedule rule a day to block access to an individual IP address or a chronological string once a day on a schedule. This feature is very useful to parents as it allows me to shut off my kids wifi access at bedtime. However it falls over because you can only set one rule a day. So I set it from 7:30pm to midnight. This is not sufficient as I then want to carry the rule through till morning the next day. But if I do this then the following day my rule is 00:00 to 6:30am therefore stopping me from having the rule again that night. I have a work around but it’s not ideal. iiNet really need to allow at least two internet schedule rules per day if not more. Saying that many systems don’t offer this option at all. Or if they do it’s an all or nothing shut off.

    As a parent the ability to shut off wifi access to specific devices only, over night is invaluable. If you knew that your kids can access the Internet from their devices under the covers at bedtime or in the middle of the night it would be fantastic.

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