Deck the halls with boughs of holly… Not porn!

December 16, 2013

There is a great article over at The Wired Homeschool entitled Are you buying your kids porn for Christmas?. I invite you to check this article out. It discusses the accessibility of pornography from smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. The author, John, describes the use of content filtering and parental spyware. I support both of these ideas whole-heartedly.

If you are giving tech to kids under 18 and that item can connect to the internet, it can (and probably will) be used to access free pornograpy online. There are hundreds of ways your kids’ eyes can be polluted by internet smut. From “try-before-you-buy” websites, to chat and photo-sharing programs, to internet news sites like The question becomes, “How do I keep my kids from accessing porn on their tablet, smart phone, or computer?” Here at ChiRho Tech, we recommend the following 3 items as being most critical:

  1. Whole-house internet filtering
  2. Parental spyware
  3. ”eyes-on” parenting

First, whole-house internet filtering. If you put a filter on the main internet pipe coming into your home from the phone company or the cable company, then any device that connects to your home network is filtered. This is your first line of defense. Any device that connects to your network at home (your wi-fi or wired network) will be blocked from accessing inappropriate content. Filters like these can be very powerful and can also be installed very inexpensively.

Second, parental spyware. Whether you use Apple’s iOS (on iPhone or iPad devices), Google’s Android, Macintosh, Windows, or Linux; there are simple programs you can use to restrict access to inappropriate content. Some of these programs also track usage and can also monitor time spent on the device. If you have a kid with a mobile device, this is essential. Pro Tip: when you set up the software, use a really secure password. Teenage boys will try to brute force whatever is standing between them and naked pictures!

Third, what I like to call “eyes-on” parenting. This is like hands-on, but with your eyes. The basic idea here is your kids should only be using technology where you can easily observe them. I don’t mean overtly invade their privacy by reading over their shoulders, but be in the same room with them; be involved. I never recommend placing computers or televisions in a kids bedroom. I would also make a rule of no internet access in their rooms, as well.

I hope this article has provided you with some ideas on how to make your kids’ online experiences better. Nothing is foolproof, but with some simple steps, you can greatly restrict access to inappropriate content. Want some guidance on how to set this up in your own home? Drop us a line! We can help you!