Tools To Keep Your Kids Safe Online

Keeping Kids Safe Online

I’m a statistics guy, but for this post, I’ve decided to leave out all the numbers.  If you’ve found yourself here you probably know that the internet has more than a few pitfalls that our children can fall into.  My house is hyper-connected.  My three daughters have had internet access and multiple devices accessible to them most of their lives. My oldest is 20, my youngest is 15, so we’ve been through the gambit of internet life and teenagers.  We’ve allowed our kids to be connected because we fundamentally believe that understanding the digital world is the foundation they need for their future careers.

Let’s All Agree – Family Technology Agreement

Being in Real Estate means understanding contracts, so it wasn’t a challenging step to draft an agreement for our children. As a father, I have set a standard that children should only be punished when the rules are clearly established and they know what the consequences are clearly outlined. Below is an example of the agreement that I used with my daughters.

Free Filter Service

As diligent and well-behaved as one’s child may be the unfortunate reality is that the internet can be difficult to navigate without some garbage popping up when you least expect it.  Several years ago we started using OpenDNS .  It’s a free service that maintains a database of inappropriate and troublesome websites.

OpenDNS is very easy to set up and can be done by a novice.  It does an exceptional job of blocking negative sites and allows you to add specific sites that you may consider questionable that others may not.

Enter The “Circle”

The last element of our setup is the best part.  Disney produces a device called “Circle” that is only $99.  The device allows you to control every digital device in your home.  You can create rules for each user or group of users.  There are pre-set access levels and levels set by the user’s age.  Of the many features that the Circle has, the ability to set usage times or to deactivate all of the user’s devices with the push of a button is invaluable. All of this is controlled by an app on your device if you’re at home or away.

Keeping It Simple

Over the years I’ve tried a lot of things and spent a lot of money on trying to keep the kids safe.  Ultimately, I found that using a few simple tools, some ground rules and having open conversations with the girls about how to stay safe and treat others well, went a long way.

I hope that the information above helps you keep your kids a little safer and gives you a little more peace of mind.

Considerations About Teens Online

Ok, so I said that I wouldn’t list a bunch of statistics, but I didn’t say I wouldn’t share someone else’s infographic. There’s some pretty useful information listed below.