Do you have children in your house and you want to keep them away from your gadgets? Or your nephews are visiting you quite often? It is already known that smartphones, tablets, computers, and any other devices of that kind are simply irresistible for kids, no matter their age. They are not a simple toy; kids can learn a lot by using a computer, so you shouldn’t forbid them access to this kind of devices, just try to keep them safe.
Nowadays, kids are growing up surrounded by such gadgets and they become more tech-savvy day by day. They want to touch everything, to test any gadget, to play with every device. However, most of these devices are quite expensive, and children do not pay attention to it. Also, the Internet offers the possibility to access hundreds of thousands websites, and not all of them are appropriate for kids.
So what is the solution in this case? How can you let your kid use your tablet or computer, and still keeping it safe? A parental control app is the answer you are looking for – it is easy to set up, and it protects your devices from any disaster.
Protect you gadgets from kids
You know that children simply cannot resist computers, tablets, and smartphones. But that is not necessarily good, because they enjoy pushing all the buttons, smearing the screens, and sometimes, even dropping them. That is why, when you think about the protection of your gadgets, you need to start with the hardware.
Protecting a smartphone or a tablet is quite easy nowadays. You can buy a shock absorbing case. Its price starts from $35, but it can go up, depending on your preferences. This case really works and it will protect your tablet even if it is thrown on the floor. You can find such case for smartphones as well. Another popular thing is screen protection. They are a must when you have kids in your house playing with your gadgets. Buy a screen protection before children will find a way to scratch the screen. Also, the screen protection will cover all the fingerprints.
The good news is that you can use screen protectors and case also for your laptop. For example, a satin case for a Mac has the starting price at $37. Furthermore, you can find many other skins and covers if you want to make sure your laptop or screen will be safe, even if a kid is playing with it. But not matter the screen protector you use, you will still need to clean your laptop regularly, if a kid has access to it. For example, you can always hide your desktop’s keyboard behind the monitor, if you want it to be safe and keep kids away from your computer. Another solution is to use a special utility program, like Toddle Keys; it will lock the power button, the keyboard, and the mouse to protect your desktop from children.
And that is not all. With your laptop especially, you need to make sure it is placed on a stabled surface. For example, a laptop on the bed is not a safe solution because kids love to bounce and jump; it will definitely break one way or another.
The safest solution is to buy a special laptop for the kid. You can find dedicated child-friendly laptops that are something between a toy and a computer, or you can choose an old desktop or laptop, or a very cheap tablet and give it to your kids. Then, they can do whatever they want with it. Think about it as a warranty for your own gadgets.
What about built-in parental controls?
If you want to protect your gadgets from your kids, you need to go further than the hardware. Let’s say your device is safely placed on a desk; it has a protection screen, a case, and everything it needs. The kid could still damage it and actually, messing the system is as serious as breaking the device. From infecting your computer or tablet with different types of malware or viruses, to changing your normal setting or deleting applications, it all could happen. Luckily, some of the latest devices have already a built-in parental control. If yours doesn’t have it, you can simply install one. Also, you will need to change some security options, in order to protect all your data.
So, are you curious how to setup a parental control on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet? Here you have some simple instructions:
Windows – With the new Windows 7 and 8 Parental Controls you can do a lot of things, like setting up time limits, give access to specific applications and games, and even block some programs or websites. To access it, you will need to go to Start – Control Panel – User Accounts and Family Safety. Choose Set up parental controls for any users. For websites restrictions and online activity, Microsoft has another option: Windows Live Family Safety. It allows you to block and control web access.
Mac – Comparing with Windows’ Parental Control, OS X’s same program is more powerful. Go to System – Parental Control, and set the limits, including email and messages limits, block applications and programs, and restrict web access.
iOS – To restrict different numbers or application on iPhone, iPad, or iPod, go to Settings – General Restrictions. You will notice these settings request a four digit passcode. A good idea is to restrict to delete or install of different apps. If you have the new iOS 6, you will notice a cool feature called Guided Access, where you can add new users like “kid” or “guest”. They will be able to access only the applications you want.
Android – Unfortunately, Android doesn’t have a built-in parental control. Some devices, like Sony Xperia Android table, have their own “guest” mode. On the other hand, you can always search and install special apps in order to protect your phone from your kids. The market is full of them; you just need to pick one that suits your needs.
Kindle – Kindle Fire just released the new Kindle parental control, Kindle FreeTime. It allows you to set any time limits you want, and to restrict the usage of different apps. You can also create different users’ profiles, according to the people who are using your device.
Are third-party apps a solution?
If your gadgets do not have a built-in parental control, or you think that it is not enough, you can always download and install third-party applications. Usually, they have more features than the traditional parental control programs, so you can add more restrictions and feel safer.
Let’s say, for example, your iOS device jailbroken. If you have an iPhone or an iPad, simply setup more users on the jailbroken. For Windows users, we recommend Returnil System Safe, with is a free app that will clone your system. All the changes you will make will be removed after you restart your computer.
Protecting your devices from your kids is sometimes not enough. You also need to protect your kids from the internet threats. There are many dedicated parental control programs that allow you to lock all the data on your computer, and to monitor the websites that your kid will visit. Many antivirus programs have that feature and they can do it for you. For Android devices, you can use Kaspersky Parental Control, while for Windows, Mac, and other mobile devices, we recommend Net Nanny ($40), Find the best recommends Bsecure Online ($50 per year), or Norton Online Family (Free!).
You can always check your router as well, nowadays they come with parental control features. It will allow you to limit the internet time use and also to restrict different websites. Another possibility is to use Open DNS’s parental control, which can protect all your gadgets that use your home internet. It also gives you control over the websites access.
If you are looking for third-party apps to protect your devices from children, here is a great selection:
Kidzui – This is a special browser for windows, oriented to kids, with a very friendly interface. It limits the children’s access to specials games and websites with content for their age. It costs $7.95 per month, but the price for one year is only $39.95. However, it is free for some computers.
Gube – If you are looking for a special parent control app for your iPhone or iPad, this is the one for you. For only $3.99, this app will show to your kid only friendly and funny videos on YouTube.
Kido’z – This app is similar with Gube, but it is designed for Chrome, Firefox, and Android.
Kid Mode – A parenting control app for Android that will lock kids automatically only into educational games and videos. It has an iOS version as well, but the cool lock feature is not available on it.
With all these applications and different objects to protect your gadgets, there is no better way to protect your devices and your kid than supervising your offspring. Always remember that it is way more important to show your kids how to use the computer, and to stay next to them while they are surfing the web. Guide them through the websites, and show how to have fun. Teach your kids how to use the computer in a safe way, and explain how important is to take care of these devices. Even if they are quite small, with time, they will remember it and he will pay attention to such things. Of course, for your own peace of mind, the above precautions should be taken into consideration.