SHL Advice – Protect Your Children Online

Help keep your kids safe online

Recent BBC research has revealed that over 60% of kids in the UK have their own computer, most of which have internet access in their own room. This is an amazing resource which can be a great study tool, but it is also filled with dangers and content intended for a mature audience. Keeping your kids safe from the web’s darker corners can take a little work. Your ISP is often a good place to start, and many internet providers give away parental controls for free, as well as offering help and advice. If you’d like to take it a step further content-control software is designed to restrict the material a reader is authorised to access. Content-control software determines what content will be available or perhaps more often what content will be blocked. There are plenty of software options available depending on your needs, some are powerful and wide-ranging, others can protect you with a single click, but they’re all entirely free.


Norton Family

This is a powerful parental control system with plenty of very useful features. In a nut shell you are able to control web and search supervision to restrict key sites by content type or by their URL. Additionally, you are also able to monitor key social network activity and can personalise settings for multiple users if you have more than one child. You can set time limits that are easy to adjust for study periods etc. and you receive daily email reports on activity as well as a free mobile app for real time for easy adjusting. Perhaps one of the biggest draws to this particular software is its flexibility. Whether you are setting the software up on a mobile device or a desktop computer, Norton Family has you covered. With free apps available to be downloaded for both Apple and Android tablets and mobiles, you can insure your child is safe no matter what device they are using.


K9 Web Protection

K9 offers full control software with web filtering that will keep the whole family safe online. With it you are able to block access to web pages set by category, which is supported by built in pre-defined profiles. These pre-determined filters allows for a quick selection for blocking almost everything in the case of very young children or alternatively, you can opt for a weaker filter, for a more relaxed choice, which can be a better option for teenagers. Again, just like Norton Family, K9 offers full support across a number of devices. The software is available free for download for windows or mac desktops and laptops, as well as android and apple mobile devices including tablets and mobile phones.



PGSurfer is free program provided by Pareto Logic, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. This option allows parents to filter inappropriate content from their kids through individual profiles that can be personalised to the user. This means that you can select the types of sites that can be visited by each account, it also allows the admin to set restrictions on the types of apps that are being used on the machines, whether it be chat rooms or p2p sharing programs while stopping files being downloaded. However, unlike the above two mentioned software options, PGSurfer is unfortunately only available for traditional desktop PC’s and laptops, but offers no protection for mobile devices.


Windows Family Safety

A slightly more basic set up perhaps better targeted for an older child, Family Safety offer a website and a program that you install. This allows you to offer a level of independence whilst being safe in the knowledge that they are being protected and if desired you can still keep up to date with their activities (maybe to make sure they are revising as opposed to tweeting away). As Windows Family Safety is an aspect of the operating system, it is inclusive on whichever device is using the software, whether that be PC’s, Laptops or tablets.


Mac OS X

Similarly to the windows alternative, Mac OS X comes with built in family protection. Although still quite basic; the software does allow the user to block applications and websites. It is a little more time consuming as the parental controls have to be set for each individual user, but once done, the admin can control all time limits for weekdays and weekends including “bedtime”. Additional options include the option to hide profanity in various sources, and users can additionally prohibit the computer’s built-in camera and disc-burning utilities. The automatic filtering isn’t perfect, nor is any programs, but this option avoids the need for third-party software. Unfortunately, this software is limited to traditional devices, such as laptops and desktops, but is not yet available directly on the iPad or iPhone. However, apps are available to convert your laptop to operate as a traditional MacBook, and under these circumstances, this software can be utilised.