Are your kids tech savvy? From the moment they were born, my kids have been over exposed to technology. Whether it be a stuff toy that can be programmed with the favourite nursery rhymes and their name to educational hand held devices, my kids have seen use it all. Technology is so important, that schools are beginning to send work home via websites and email.
Out of all of my children, DS8 is my most tech savvy child. He knows how to work a laptop, log in to Netflix and is my go-to-guy when I need help programming the TV. Show him something once and it sticks. Although, I believe it is important for children to be tech savvy and use computers and the internet, it is also important to ensure that they are using it properly, with respect, and using age appropriate programs
When DS8 was younger, the song ‘I’m sexy and I know it’, debuted on radio. Almost immediately Sesame Street came out with the parody “I’m Elmo and I know it!”, and we loved watching the video on Youtube. One day my younger DS8 thought it would be fun to hear another Sesame street song and choose one from the ‘recommended’ songs list from Youtube. The next thing I know, the F bomb is being dropped right, left and center, along with other words a young child should not hear. It was that moment that I realized how easy a child can access inappropriate content and the importance of protecting children online. Whether its by accident or by curiosity, inappropriate content is readily available to lure in our children. Now that DS8 is 8, I worry even more!
Qustodio is a parental control program that allows parents to monitor their children’s internet use and activities. With ‘smart’ technology, Qustodio is programmed to filter internet sites with a sophisticated algorithm allowing it to determine whether or not the site is suitable for the child. This program it two fold; monitoring and control.
Monitoring – It allows you to monitor the amount of time your child spends on the internet and the individual sites themselves. It also allows parents to set time limits and receive real-time alerts of your child’s activity.
Control – Qustodio is designed as a social media monitor. Whether its a text messaging or Facebook sharing, downloading apps or surfing the net, this flexible and customized program allows parents to monitor who and what their children are sharing/reading/accessing. It is designed to block dangerous or inappropriate content and to monitor for signs of cyberbullying and online predators. It allows parents set healthy limits, block questionable sites, and keep kids safe.
To use Qustodio, simply install it on any of the devices you want monitored (computers, laptops, tablets, etc.). Once it is installed, the program can be monitored from any device that has access to the internet. When setting up the profiles, you can create individual log in profiles (complete with passwords) for each child. This allows you to easily monitor which child is performing which activity on which system. Qustodio can be run invisibly behind the scenes allowing you to view your child’s natural internet habits to be observed or it can visible letting the user know the program is installed on the computer.
Your child’s internet usage, activities and who they communicate with are prepared into a clear and easy to read chart. Select a day, week or month, and you can see exactly what your child has been up to during that period. If suspicious content is accessed or questionable activity is performed, alert emails are mailed to you to alert you of a problem.
In our family, internet usage is done in a public space, such as the kitchen table. There are rules that Mommy and Daddy have access to all passwords and are able to view the screen at anytime. However, my children are still young and things like Facebook and Twitter haven’t entered their world yet. I can see this program being a must as they get older to prevent inappropriate things like Sesame Street character dropping the F bomb around toddlers.
Instead of becoming frustrated trying to control your child’s internet usage and giving them too much freedom or worst banning technology altogether, why not give find a healthy middle ground and give Qustodio a try!