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How to Ensure Your Children's Safety and Privacy Online
Web sites oriented toward children under the age of 13. There are some legal restrictions in place to help protect your kids' consumer privacy and insure they're using age-appropriate websites and apps. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prevents kid-targeted websites and apps from collecting data from kids younger than 13 without parental consent. The key points of the act are as follows:
- Web sites oriented toward children are required to include a link to a statement describing their information practices. The statement must tell who is collecting information, how the information will be used, and whether it will be disclosed to third parties.
- Web sites must obtain "verifiable parental consent" for collecting information from children. This consent can take various forms, including postal mail or fax, a credit card number, or a digitally signed e-mail message.
- Parents must be given the option to consent to Web sites' data collection without allowing the sites to share that information with third parties.
- No parental consent is required for certain transactions, such as the disclosure of a child's e-mail address in connection with a one-time "homework help" request.
The upshot of these rules is to bring parents into the initial interaction between children and the Web sites that cater to them.
Nevertheless, COPPA doesn't begin to address all the hazards facing children online. In particular, the regulations do nothing to eliminate the possibility that a child will give out personal information to strangers over an instant-messaging connection, via e-mail, or in a chat room. Moreover, COPPA is concerned only with children under 13. Although teenagers might be more sensitive to privacy issues than younger children are, they are by no means immune to safety threats. Preserving the privacy and safety of all your children, teen and pre-teen alike, requires ongoing parental oversight.
You could eliminate online risks completely by simply unplugging your computer from the Internet, but you'd be giving up far more in enrichment than you'd gain in protection. When you or your kid gets a new device or signs up for a new website or app, establish your privacy preferences. Follow the directions during initial set-up, or go to the section marked "privacy" or "settings". Read the fine print before checking a box or entering an email address. Here's parental do's and don'ts:
- Don't let your children give out their names, school names, phone number, or address in a chat room or on a public newsgroup or bulletin board.
- Familiarize yourself with all the Web sites that your children use regularly.
- Never let your children arrange face-to-face meetings with strangers.
- Don't respond to obnoxious e-mail messages.
- Teach your children to be dismissive of all offers that are too good to be true.
- If possible, keep track of what your children download from Web sites.
Parental control software is so important – and some of the best tools are completely free. Software can't do everything, of course, and there's no substitute for being there supervising your kids directly online. Parental control software has its uses through, and can help to make parents' lives much easier – particularly once your kids are a little older and want more independence.
With Spyzie, you can track all activities of your kid's smartphone from any of your devices.
- Spyzie App Blocker gives you peace of mind by helping you block unwanted and distracting apps on your children’s Android and Apple phones and tablets remotely!
- With Spyzie Schedule Restriction, you can now easily set time limits for your children's devices right from your phone or any browser!
- You can monitor phone calls made with their duration as well as time stamp.
- Spyzie is also a great GPS tracker. You can track your kid's real-time GPS location to protect them.
K9 Web Protection
K9 Web Protection is an extremely popular free parental control software that is used by parents all over the world. It is currently compatible with almost every major operating system like Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. From protecting your kid’s phone to laptop, the application will do it all.
You can simply download it for free from its official website. It can let you block certain websites, apps, or any other kind of indecent content with a single tap. Additionally, it provides other advanced features like safe search option, real-time categorization, setting time restrictions, overriding of passwords, etc.
Qustodio has a free as well as a premium plan that works for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Kindle, as well as Nook. This makes it one of the most sophisticated and user-friendly parental control applications out there. This parental control software free comes with an extensive dashboard that can be accessed remotely.
You can track calls and text messages on your kid’s device, block indecent content from their devices, control gaming and other apps, etc. Also, it gives real-time location updates as well. Additionally, you can monitor their activity on popular social media platforms. The free plan comes with a 1-user 1-device option.
Romaco Timeout is a free computer tool that can restrict the amount of time that a child (or anyone) uses their computer for, as well as monitoring web usage. It also has website and program blocking capabilities.
Kurupira Web Filter
Kurupira Web Filter is a free software solution to filter and block pornographic Web content and to limit the time spent on the Internet, using artificial intelligence techniques. It's a tool to block or allow a set of Web sites and programs, impose time restrictions and daily limit to browse the Web, in addition to the reports and charts about the most visited Web sites or most used programs on your computer.
Microsoft family is just one of the many benefits of having a Microsoft account. It’s a free service that helps families stay connected, and keep kids safer on Windows 10 and Xbox One devices with features like activity reporting, screen time limits, and content restrictions. You’ll find these settings on account.microsoft.com/family, where you can also track kids’ spending and add money to their Microsoft accounts.
The easiest way to set up and manage your family is on account.microsoft.com/family where you invite members to join, and once they accept, you can start setting restrictions, scheduling events on your family calendar, and if you already use Skype, you’ll have a family group chat set up and waiting for you.
OpenDNS Family Shield
OpenDNS is a reliable and extensively used security platform. They have recently created Family Shield, which is their parental control software free available tool. One of the best things about it is that the tool can automatically block websites or can filter content on a real-time basis, so that you don’t have to monitor everything regularly.
It is already used by 18 million users worldwide and comes with an identity theft protection as well. Available for free, it can be installed on almost every device that your family members use these days.
Also, many security (antivirus) companies carry parental control packages, some standalone, some within their Internet Security Suites/Antivirus software.
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