Parental Controls for your Tech Toys

Find an updated version of this post at Be Web Smart.

Judging from the search engine terms that are bringing people to this blog, I’m guessing that Santa brought lots of tech toys to all the good little (and not so little) girls and boys out there. Here are some of the questions I’m seeing (with answers).

1. What is the best iPad web browser with parental controls?

I know of at least 5 families who received an iPad for Christmas this year, with kids ages ranging from 4-12. So this is an important question to be asking. In addition to the parental control options available in the iPad General settings, there are alternate web browsers that you can purchase to further customize the restrictions. I have not used these personally so I can’t answer which one is “the best”. From my research in this area I have found one called Mobicip Safe Browser that may be a good option especially for families with younger children. This article explains step-by-step how to enable restrictions on iPad, and information on the Mobicip safe browser. Another possibility is the AVG Family Safety app. This one is free so I intend to give it a try and write up a review in a future post.

2. How do I set parental internet controls on iPod Touch?

There are two things you need to do to set up internet controls on the iPod Touch. First, go to Settings – General – Restrictions and enable restrictions. A good step-by-step is located here.

Secondly, set up “Safe Search” settings for the popular search engines that your child might be using within the Safari browser on the iPod Touch. You can also set which browser is the default search engine within General Settings. I’ve explained how to do this in my previous post about Safe Searching.

3. Google Family Safety for iPad?

If you go to the Google Family Safety Center web site, there is no mention of settings for the iPad. However you do have some options for safe searching in Google. In the iPad open the Safari browser, go to Google and click on the little “gear” in the upper right corner to access Search Settings. You’ll see a page like this where you can adjust the Safe Search settings. The default is Moderate, which does not block out results that “might link to explicit content”. To filter out these links, choose Strict. For the best protection, Lock the setting into place (you’ll need a Google account to do so). These settings are not available in the Google app (different than the Google web site in Safari) so you may not want to use that if young children will be using your iPad.

4. Windows family safety for iPod Touch

I don’t believe there is such a thing. If you have Windows Live Family Safety on your computer (like I do), it is not going to help you with your child’s iPod Touch. So use some of the links I reference above for tips on making the iPod touch (or iPad, or iPhone) experience a bit more child-friendly.

Santa was good to me too this year and left a Kindle Fire under the tree. I’ll write more about the (non-existent) parental controls for the Fire in a future post.

Happy (and safe) browsing!

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