Tip #2 Filter What Your Kids Can See

May 20

parental controlsI am a huge advocate for teaching kids self-censorship. In an age where every kind of image not previously known to man has ended up on a screen, all of us (adults and kids) need to accept responsibility for what we choose – or choose not – to view.  My personal weakness is cheesy commercials posted on YouTube.

That being said, no child should be exposed to much of the content posted online. I’ve seen enough stuff to make me scratch my head, how can I expect someone a couple decades my junior to understand and process such images themselves? In fact, the thought of my kids viewing some of the disturbing images out there (Rihanna videos included), gives me the heeby-jeebies. I’ve accepted that I can’t protect them from lousy boy bands and the song “Friday” by Rebecca Black, but there are some things on the internet that I don’t want them to accidentally fall upon.

So, here’s the good news. Every screen, whether hand-held or hanging above the fireplace, offers parental controls. Yes, even your television has them. Spend a few minutes out of every day over the next week playing around with the settings of the devices shared with the kids. Keep in mind: every parental control requires you to create a pass-code.  Write it down and save it. Trust me – you’ll forget.

The computer is the most difficult of the devices to filter. It requires software that, most likely, will need to be downloaded from a website. After many failed efforts at installing family-friendly filters, I’ve found one by Norton that is perfect.  And it’s FREE. Norton Family is easy to install, does not slow down your computer, and is ridiculously simple to use. Check it out here.

Below are some how-to links for setting up controls on various game consoles and hand-held devices. Typically, it’s as simple as clicking into the settings and finding the menu item for safety controls. And, don’t worry about having to curtail your own online habits (should they include some racier content), all the settings are a cinch to remove for adult use.  Just don’t forget the password!

Wii

iPod, iPad, iPhone

Nintendo DSi

Playstation 3

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