Protecting kids online is one of the biggest challenges parents face today. In the age of social media and one-click buying its a difficult landscape to navigate.
Here are 3 ways for helping protect our kids online.
1 – Education: Sites like InfoSec Institute provide great educational and training materials geared towards kids. These are important concepts for kids to learn like false identities and internet predators.
It’s also important to have a common understanding between parent and child. In security we refer to these as policies. This could be things like time limits (2 hrs a day), device free days (camping trips), what’s permissible to visit (YouTube / Facebook). Policies help make it clear what will and will not be acceptable. The more we educate our children on the rules the less issues we’ll have later on.
2 – Adult Controls: One of my favorite controls is through DNS. At a high level DNS is how a device looks up the IP address of where it’s trying to connect. A couple of my favorites are OpenDNS and Quad9. It’s free to use for home purposes and easy to set up.
Most time parents will want to set up DNS on their home routers. While most home routers support this setup some do not like Uverse. The alternative is to set DNS on the device itself.
Also in device setting its important to remember to enable restrictions. You should also consider the use of Home Sharing so anytime a child wishes to download the latest app a request will be sent to a parent for approval.
3 – Physical: There will be times in which we must create physical barriers. For example, you might want to physically take that iPad away from your child. Children are creative and sometimes the best approach is to not let you child on the device in the first place.
Other physical items to consider should the child have devices in the bed room, should the router/gateway be physically accessible. As they get older and more tech savvy they’ll figure out how to circumvent adult controls so sometimes physical locks are the best choice.