Kids today have access to more information than ever before. Internet-enabled devices are becoming popular for younger and younger kids, especially now that most schools are holding virtual classes. Parents often struggle to determine how they can and should approach technology from a safety and discipline perspective. The continuous change in devices, software, and digital landscapes can make forming a solid strategy seem impossible. These computer support tips and strategy ideas can help you keep your kids safe and alert online.
Consider Your Child’s Age and Maturity Level When Providing Computer Support
Your children’s computer support needs will depend heavily on their age, maturity level, and online schooling requirements. While a five-year-old cannot be expected to make safe decisions with unfettered internet access, a fifteen-year-old probably can. Apply boundaries and safeguards that make sense for your child, and consider removing these boundaries gradually as they age. Younger children may need to have some apps or sites blocked off with parental control programs, but older kids need to gain some degree of technological freedom to learn how to make good choices. Having open, honest discussions with your children about internet safety and technology use can help you protect them from online threats, detect bullying from their peers, and make sure that they are doing well.
Secure Your Home Network With Parental Controls
While a certain level of trust and cooperation is necessary, parents should still take steps to secure their networks. This can be done by adding parental controls to your router, enabling security settings on your devices’ operating systems, or adding third-party software. Solutions like Open DNS, Clean Router, and Circle Home Plus approach security from the router level, allowing you to implement parental controls on every device in your home network. Other parental control products target specific devices, giving parents greater control and flexibility in terms of enforcement and monitoring. Kaspersky Safe Kids is a popular solution for large households with both desktop and mobile devices. Norton Family Premier also provides parental controls and monitoring for an unlimited number of devices per network, but it is not compatible with Macs. Shop around to find a solution that fits your family’s needs and lifestyle, and be sure to explain any new limits to your children.
Managing Parental Controls on Mac and Windows Devices
Some basic parental control tools are available for free as standard settings on Mac and Windows devices. These include things like screen time limits and content and privacy controls. On Mac devices, parents can visit the settings menu to enable screen time limits for the device, limit time spent on individual apps, and schedule downtime during certain hours. Parents can also block communication from specific contacts and ban apps and adult content from the device. Devices using Windows 10 have similar features, and parents can set up accounts for their children that are subject to screen time limits and app restrictions. These parental control settings can be activated by visiting the settings menu in Windows 10, accessing account settings, and following all prompts for account holders under 13 on the Microsoft Family website.
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The team at Howard Tech Advisors is committed to providing managed services and customized IT solutions to our clients in Howard County, Baltimore, Columbia, and Ellicott City. We specialize in managed IT services for small and midsize businesses, particularly those near our office in Elkridge, Maryland. To learn more about our business and our work in the community, contact us at (410) 997-2500 or visit our website. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to stay up-to-date on our service offerings and tech tips.