Be the Hands-On Mom! Ensure a Safe Digital Environment for Your Child

A Step-By-Step Guide to Setting up Parental Controls

From my previous blog, remember Reena who was so concerned about monitoring her son Veer online without antagonizing him? She just loved the idea of setting up parental controls that allowed her to mentor Veer and then gradually giving him more freedom online, as he started showing a sense of maturity and responsibility.

So this same Reena turned up again, very soon, within a few days in fact. She had a cousin of hers in tow.

“Look here! I have been singing praises about the parental control feature to my cousin. She has two ultra-geek tweens at home. Do guide us on how to set up this feature on our devices.”

With pleasure Reena. It’s no problem at all. All you need is some basic computer operation knowledge. And then the key to your child’s online safety will be in your hands.”

But there is one thing you MUST do first, and that is to inform your children what you are about to do and why. Supervising with their full knowledge is always advisable, otherwise children will think you don’t trust them and are spying on them. So, talk to them about the need for cyber safety, why you worry about meeting strangers online and how you would like to keep an eye on their digital life, just like you do offline.”

Both Reena and her cousin agreed that it was the best way to approach.

Well then, let’s get started on this. I will take you through this step-by-step. Stop me wherever you have doubts, OK?”

STEP 1 -> Create Individual Windows User Account

 Go to your Windows settings and create an individual user ID for each user at home. If there is a general id for all, then kids will never log in with their own ID. Even parents should have their separate IDs. Keep your passwords secret though.

1

STEP 2 -> Create Admin password

Open your comprehensive security product. You will find the icon usually at the bottom right of your screen. Then, look for parental controls tab and click on it. (Click where the hand icon is)

2

 Select Parental Controls, then click the Parental Controls link

3

 In the Administrator Password section, click Set

4

 Enter and re-enter your password to confirm it.

5

 Type a password hint in the Enter Password Hint fields, and click next

In the confirmation dialog box, click OK.

Both of you must keep in mind that your kids should not know your admin password. Only the admin can make changes to the settings using this password. So, if your child finds out the password, they can easily change settings to their account.”

STEP 3 -> Set up Protection for Specific Child User:

  1. Click on the Protect button next to a name

6

  1. Select the age range for the specified user account. Your options are:
    • Under 5 years
    • 6 – 8 years
    • 9 – 12 years
    • 13 – 15 years
    • 16 – 18 years
    • Custom

7

The protection and blocking obviously differs for each age group. If you want to manually define allowed and blocked website names, then select Custom.

After you finish making your selection, click on done.

  1. Now go to Optional Settings.

Note that the option to Block websites that contain potentially inappropriate images or language from appearing in your user’s search results is selected by default

8

  1. Type URLs and mark them as Allowor Block for additional protection
  1. Next select Online Schedule.

    See the grid? It allows you to set time limits in intervals of thirty minutes. You can select by day and hour and plan when each child can go online using this.

9

  • Green portions of the grid represent the days and times during which the user can access the Internet.
  • White portions of the grid represent the days and times during which access is denied.

Select the times and days you want to specifically allow your child to access the web.

This means, if a child tries to access the net during a prohibited period, McAfee notifies them that they cannot do so. They will get this message:

10

 “And you are done!”

“Remember Reena, these settings are only there for the safety of your child. It is just like how you make him wear a helmet and knee caps when he goes for skating. It is an online safety measure. Also, it prevents children from becoming net addicts and/or accidentally tumbling upon inappropriate content. As they grow older and wiser, you need to simply allow more websites and longer net hours as per requirement of the child.”

Readers, may I go over certain points again?

  1. Talk to your child first and explain everything
  2. Listen to their concerns and clarify that you love and trust them
  3. Decrease controls as they grow up and show maturity
  4. Use incidents and reports and talking points for safe digital behaviour

Watch this YouTube video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ykx_vWMKLOA

Stay safe online!!

Advertisements

Do you Know What Your Child Is Googling Online?

Reena (name changed for privacy reasons) is a dear friend and an amazing person to know. It’s always a pleasure when she drops in for a visit for she has a veritable treasure trove of anecdotes and unbelievable facts to share. Time flies when she talks. God only knows where she collects them from, and most importantly, how she remembers it all!

But, this time when she dropped by, she looked visibly perturbed and I couldn’t help remarking on the worry lines and pinched looks. Slowly, it all came out. She had walked into her son’s room one afternoon and found him on his laptop, gaping at inappropriate pictures in an online magazine. Any mother would be highly agitated if she found her 10 year-old, the seemingly naïve child, indulging in such behaviour. Her grilling revealed that boys in the football grounds were ‘talking’ and this had sparked his curiosity.

“What do I do? Do I revoke his internet privilege? Or do I ignore this as one-time folly and let things be?”

I calmed her down with a strong cup of tea. “Take it easy. Children will be inquisitive & curious. Now is the right time to start talking about right digital behaviour. But tell me, do you supervise Veer when he is online?”

“I try to monitor him when he is online. Mostly I am around, working or reading, while he is on my laptop. I also check history of searches.”

“But, what about those times when you are occupied or not around?”

“I always assumed that he is only interested in online games!” she said.

“But, don’t you know strangers can try to connect with him even when he plays online games? Or, he can access inappropriate websites and delete search history? He may innocently click on a tab that may lead him to a phishing site or a site with objectionable content?”

For once, Reena was left speechless. I felt sorry for her. Being a mother means 24/7 you have to worry and fiercely protect your child.

“If I am not wrong, he has a smartphone too, does he not? Your old one?” When Reena affirmed; I added, “You do know that everything that he can do on your computer or laptop, he can do on his phone too? How will you know what he is accessing on his phone?”

The Mom in Reena was hyperventilating by now.

“Calm down. It’s better to be aware and take precautions beforehand; so that your child can use devices with internet connections, and that too safely. There’s a very simple solution- You can get full protection for your child & PC, if you use a comprehensive security software that offers anti-virus, malware detection etc. in addition to the parental control feature.”

“But I already have an anti-virus running on my laptop.”

“Does it offer parental control feature? If yes, that’s perfect. Else, you can buy one that includes parental control features. And I am sure your phone isn’t similarly protected.”

Reena slowly nodded in agreement. “But how will parental controls help me?”

“For starters, it offers you total control over your children’s online activities across devices like your laptop, tablet, phone, etc. You will be the admin who will determine their internet usage which includes boundaries and timings. You can help Veer set up his own login ID and password so that he can only access content that is suitable for a 10 year old. For your 7 year old Twisha, you can allow content that is suitable for her age. The software will automatically block unsuitable sites and filter content. You get it? To increase security, you can not only select and disallow websites that you know are unsuitable but also block access to other websites by keywords; that is by keying in words like sex, violence, abuse, etc. And, it’s so simple to set up! Just follow the simple guidelines once you activate it. It’s that easy.”

Tell me more – does it allow me to protect him from adult content on YouTube, online TV? And what about social media?

“Absolutely! The tool will not only filter content but also prevent children from downloading explicit-rated music or video.  For example, when Veer signs up on social media, it will inform you if any personal information like if name and address is shared or any kind of inappropriate language is used. If you want, you can also block file sharing programs, as well as encrypted sites, to prevent your child from accessing content that is not suitable for his age.”

Reena looked all excited but still hesitated. “Won’t Veer object to it?”

“Not if you have a frank discussion with him first. Tell him you are doing this because you do trust him but it’s the strangers in the cyber world that cannot be trusted. Relate incidents of phishing and cyber bullying. You can assure him that this way he will have his privacy while you will have your certainty.”

If your problem is similar to that of Reena’s, then don’t delay. Get a security solution with parental control tools today. Better still, install a comprehensive software that can offer cross-device protection. So with a single purchase, you can set up parental controls that will be effective across your computer, laptop and smartphone. Not only can you help your children stay safe online, but also supervise their activities and know if any unfamiliar person is trying to contact them or if they are being bullied or abused online. Last but most important, teach them to Stop, Think & Connect.

Cybermum’s tip: use activity reports the parental control tool sends you to discuss online Dos and DONTs with your child. Help raise a responsible netizen.

Stay safe, stay happy!!