Internet At Home: Control – Monitor – Protect Your Family
Recently we spoke to a team of professionals who asked us how they can better protect their families while online.
In some cases you may want more control over what your child can do on the computer in general, including the use of the Internet. In other cases you may wish to monitor what they do and where they go while online. And certainly you will want to protect your family from even “accidentally” coming across sites you deem inappropriate.
You can obtain control over your children’s computing habits by using the built in Parental Control settings (Windows Vista and Windows 7) or Family Safety settings in Windows 8 combined with the online tools for Family Safety provided by Microsoft through their Essentials tools.
The built-in control settings can allow you to establish time limits on computer use (so little Johnny can only access the computer when you say… no worries that he is up at 1 am surfing the Internet or talking to a new “friend” that says they are 14 but is really 44). You can also control access to sites online, programs installed on your computer, games on your system and much more.
Learn more about Parental Controls and Windows 7
Learn more about Family Safety and Windows 8
Learn more and download Essentials tools for Family Safety
With both Parental Controls and Family Safety (depending on the OS you choose) you can turn on an Activity log that allows you to see in a report all the places your children go online and everything they do. Windows Essentials combined with Windows 7/8 really enhances the process and you can see some of the great reporting features that come from working with the free tools provided by Microsoft here.
Note: If your computer is connected to a domain it does not have the ability to have Parental Controls established in this way. These tips are only for home systems that are not domain joined.
Controlling and Monitoring is essential. But in addition, a little extra help at the hardware level could protect the whole family from even accidentally going to an inappropriate site. In this regard we recommend the iBoss Parental Control WiFi Router from Phantom Technologies. This device provides a whole-home filter for every device connected physically or through WiFi to your network that accesses the Internet. The router costs $50 and there is an annual subscription of $50 so that the company keeps downloading to the device the latest bad sites.
With the iBoss you configure your settings pretty easily based on categories you select and then if someone tries to view a site that is blocked by that category (purposefully or accidentally) they will see a big red stop sign. At the same time the attempt will be logged by the router and those logs can be viewed by the router admin.
Learn more about the iBoss here.