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Internet Safety for Kids {and Free Tools Parents Can Use Now}

I recently had a speaker come and talk to my church's mom group about media safety for families. It was eye opening to say the least, and I couldn't write notes fast enough. Are you using filters and apps to keep your kids safe from hardcore images? Internet safety is a big topic in general, but when it comes to safeguarding our families from viruses and explicit material, it is our job as parents to make sure we do everything we can to protect our little ones from those awkward explicit moments.

Some Scary Stats

There's nothing like an good infographic to get your jaw to drop and eyes to widen, right? Well here you go. Some of the scariest stats any mom can see.
I know, it's scary, BUT I am here to tell you that there are steps that you can take to keep your kids from becoming one of these statistics. They are simple and mostly FREE! Let's go get to work parents!

Protect Your Devices

There are lots of things to be aware of when it comes to the dangers of internet and technology. They include, sexting, malware/phishing, pornography, cyber bullying, social networking and our kids' digital footprint {more on this another time}.

The first step in creating a safe techy environment for our families is to safeguard your computer from malware and viruses. Some free filters are malwarebytes.org, free Sophos tools {anti-virus for Mac}, and AVG Antivirus {antivirus for PC}. Now that your computer is better protected, let's look at other ways to keep your family internet safe.

Safeguard Your Search Engines

Google search and YouTube are commonly used by both kids and parents. These are two heavy hitters when it comes to searching for fun and for homework. Make sure that you take the proper precautions for your kids by enabling safe search on both of these huge platforms. As the graphic above states, many kids characters are now being linked to explicit material, not cool.

Because Google search and YouTube are close relatives, the steps to turning on safe search are fairly simple for both.

  • Go to Google.com and create an account if you don't already have one.
  • Click the Gear icon in the top right corner to manage your search settings
  • Under SafeSearch Filters, check the box marked "Filter explicit results."
  • Click Lock SafeSearch and enter your Google account password and sign in
  • Click the Lock SafeSearch button to confirm, then log out of your account {logging out of your account ensures that settings will not be changed, unless by you}
  • The next you go into Google to search, you know your SafeSearch is on by the balloons on the right side of the header. DONE!

YouTube's safety filter is pretty simple as well:

  • Log in or create a free YouTube account if you don't already have one
  • Go to your profile page
  • Click Manage subscriptions in the bottom left corner
  • Switch safety mode to On, and save
  • Log out of YouTube to prevent further unauthorized changes

Kid-Friendly Web Browsers

If you want to take safety up a notch, you can download special apps that are specific to keeping kids' online surfing safe. Kidzui is a web browser specifically designed for kids who like to play games and watch videos. They keep the content very strict to only certain kid friendly games and videos and give parents some piece of mind when giving their kids screen time.
K9 is another filter designed to protect kids and helps parents to monitor internet activity on your home computer. They also have a mobile web browser app available for iPhone to replace Safari.

Get Help If You Need it

If you would like to know more about how you can safe guard your home computing, check out Internet Safety Specialist, Scott Burnett from Integrity Computer Concepts based in and serving the Orange County area of Southern California. They make house calls to anywhere in the Orange County area by installing filters, modems and the like for you. Scott also speaks to groups, like our mom group, about the dangers that lurk in technology and what parents can do to protect their families.

In partnership with Scott, I will continue to post on internet safety and give you gifts you can use to love and protect your little ones for online predators.

Have your eyes been open to the dangers that our kids can easily find online? Have you implemented the tools I mentioned above? Share in the comments and let me know what other safety topics you want to know about.
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