Pretty much everybody is connected to the internet these days – all ages included. It is nearly essential to modern life. We have smart televisions, digital assistants, smart phones, and even smart appliances.
For those with families, especially for those with younger children, the internet does not just represent a great technological advance. It represents a new manifestation of the Wild West.
Anybody can publish anything on the internet, and for the most part, there are no repercussions. There are no requirements when it comes to age restrictions; most websites try to keep any lurid content away from young eyes, but it is not always the case.
You might have the best internet service provider, the best computer, and the best Wi-Fi outlet; your children still are not safe from the dangers that lurk on the internet.
Fortunately, there are products on the market, in the form of software, that can protect your child’s innocence. Some of them can even be used both on your home computer and on your child’s smartphone. Listed below you will find some suggestions for software to keep your whole family safe on the internet.
Net Nanny – $59.98 per year for three devices
Around since the internet became widely accessible in 1995, Net Nanny was the first software meant to filter internet content. Do not let its age fool you, however. Net Nanny has been updated carefully over the years and remains one of the best software packages available to keep your family safe on the internet.
Net Nanny now operates on the cloud, and as such it can be used on any number of devices. You set a profile up for your children and make decisions about what your child should and should not be able to see on the internet. It is sophisticated enough that it can even censor profanity, as opposed to completely blocking the whole webpage that your child is trying to access (assuming the website is otherwise safe.)
Net Nanny can also be used to set a schedule for your children so that they can only get online when you think it is appropriate, and to create reports itemizing what types of websites your child has been attempting to access.
Net Nanny is not just limited to desktop computers. You can install the Net Nanny browser on your child’s phone, and it will block the same content that it would block on your computer, thanks to cloud technology.
While a bit on the expensive side, Net Nanny has the greatest functionality out of the other options available on the market today.
Qustodio – Free for 1 device, Additional Charge for Each Additional Device
Like Net Nanny, Qustodio offers a more intuitive user experience, and is free to use on a single device. The charge goes up with each additional device, or you can set up multiple administrative accounts on each device, keeping the service free.
Qustodio also offers reports on your child’s activity, including any applications they have used on their smartphones (if you have purchased the extra device option.) Unlike Net Nanny, Qustodio uses a VPN to monitor activity on mobile phones, so all activity is monitored as opposed to just activity done via a specific application.
While the functionality of Qustodio is limited on iOS, it is full of features that make it well worth the additional cost for additional devices, and is an all-around excellent choice.
OpenDNS – Free, or $19.95 for Premium Functionality
Owned by world renowned networking powerhouse Cisco, OpenDNS operates as a DNS server with a blacklist functionality. It is not as feature-rich as the other options on here, and the ability to whitelist certain websites requires a payment of $19.95 per year, but it does do an excellent job of blocking websites and keeping your family away from undesirable websites. You can choose from five distinct levels of filtering, including a customizable one which allows you to choose which categories you would like to block.
Any amount of protection is better than no protection at all. For some parents, the anti-virus software already installed on their computers can provide ample internet protection. If you are not one of those parents, one of the above options is sure to meet all your needs, both in terms of restrictions and pricing.