I spoke with Drew Jordan, the Lead Technician at CO-TechPoint in Longmont, CO about Parental Controls and how parents can help keep their children safer on the internet.
Q- What are the top things you would want parents to understand when it comes to internet safety for our children?
A- First; know that children are good at hiding secrets and it is easy to be anonymous on the web; even without you realizing. Being anonymous can be harmful to unsuspecting children.
It is important for parents to explain how easy it is to give strangers information that can be used for negative things without your children realizing that is happening.
Don't just keep your children away from the internet. Instead; let them learn how to be safe and allow them to make mistakes that won't have long term consequences. You can help avoid long term consequences by using Parental Controls.
Q- What type of information can be dangerous for our children to give to strangers?
A- The top priority is to teach your children not to interact with people on the internet that they do not know in real life. Teach your children about tech safety and tech "stranger danger". Do not give personal information; such as, their name, age, birthday, address, state or city they live in. Get to know the questions that double as security questions; such as, your dog's name, first car, color of car, high school mascot and favorite color. These are extremely common probing questions that may seem innocent “get to you know” questions, but they can have a lot of malice behind them.
Q- What types of Parental Controls can a parent put in place?
A- There are two different levels of protection parents can focus on.
1- Network Level - This entails banning specific places on the internet that you do not want your children to go to on that specific network. It will cover all devices that use your home WiFi. If changes are made to the network level protections you can set it up to notify you so you are always aware of any changes.
2- Device Level - This entails more specific controls on what it bans on each device. Each device (cell phone, laptops, etc.) would need to have the protections implemented on them but those protections are good wherever the device goes.
It is best to have both levels of protection so if one gets hacked you have the other as a back up way of protection. It is really best to set up your Parental Controls when you can set it all up, on both levels, because there is no quick way to do a "base level" of protection or quick solutions.
I suggest that you start with a higher level of protection for younger children and can step down from there as they get older.
Q- If a parent wants to check their child's browsing history but the child has deleted it, is there a way to still check this?
A- Normally there is one router per household and this router can help track web browsing data. Some routers can even show data that was deleted from a device. Professionals can help you know which routers will do exactly what you want them to.
Q- Can any parent set up the Parental Controls?
A- Just as with anything with technology; if you are a professional you could probably set it up; however, for parents that are not trained I would suggest having a professional come in and do it for you for the best protection for your children. We (CO-TechPoint) offer this service for parents at a reasonable price because we know how to do it properly and ultimately we want to help make sure your children are as protected as they can be. Regardless of what professional sets it up; having someone experienced set it up will give you the best protection for your children.
Remember that nothing is perfect or flawless and technology is always changing. Risks can not be completely eliminated but we can help to minimize and limit the opportunity for risks.
*link to their services is below
Q- What are the most important things you want parents to know when it comes to technology safety?
A- There are a lot of different levels of protection for parents to be involved in. Here are the ones I think are top priority:
1- Educate your children on internet safety and who might be on the other end. A “14 year old girl” may actually be a 30 year old man posing as such. Pre-teens are especially susceptible to being tricked into sharing anything from personal information to inappropriate text messages or pictures. In my experience, most times these young children think they are just talking to someone just like them, when in fact they may be talking to a stranger of different age or gender with bad intentions.
2- Implement security measures. Going to CO-TechPoint for help to set this up will help to block accidental and intentional vulnerabilities. CO-TechPoint has different levels of pricing to ensure any budget can be met starting from only $14.99/device.
3- Help your children to develop healthy habits by limiting screen time, set aside specific times during the day to not be on any electronics like during dinner time and being sure to set up Parental Controls. This will help remove some of the temptations children often feel to go to the bathroom and check their phone during dinner, or similar activities.
4- Talk to your children!
Check out the link below for the Parental Control services CO-TechPoint offers and if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to them.
CO -TechPoint 303-848-3738 436 Main St Longmont, CO 80501