I was interviewed recently by Diana, a blogger for sproutforparents.com, and she told me about her not so pleasant experience using a search engine with her child. Let’s just say her search for volcanoes did not return the right kind of eruptions. Yeah…I feel her pain. I have been there when I wanted to look up the White House’s website at work and forgot that the address should be “.gov”. Embarassing!
Well, I came across some really cool content this week that I wanted to share for all of us who help kids navigate the computer. The first cool tip I read about in an article on Cnet is the Google ”Safe Search” tool. (http://news.cnet.com/8301-19518_3-10395112-238.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20)
Users have always had the ability to tweak Google search returns so they don’t contain adult content. The problem was that kids could change the settings. Google has changed it so that you can now lock in the settings using your password. A feature that I think is cool is that you can see from across the room if it is still on while your kids are surfing because there are large colored balls that show up on the top of the screen. How cool is that?
Though it is not foolproof since the kids can shut it off if they figure out your password (another reason to nix the post it notes on the front of the computer), I think this is a great option for those that need a filter but don’t want to use a parental management tool such as MFP. It also is great for those folks who don’t have kids themselves but may have some kid friends that come to visit.
To install go to http://www.google.com/preferences, choose an option under “safesearch filtering” such as “use strict filtering” then choose “Lock Safesearch”. Note, you will have to do this in each browser you use on your computer, i.e. Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, etc.
(Note This will not work if your kids are old enough to have email and use Gmail for their provider. In that case I would strongly suggest using a product like McAfee Family Protection that will filter everything for you.)
The next cool thing I found is a new update for the Kidzui Browser. I have long been a fan of the Kidzui browser for my littlest “surfer girl”. I love that it opens up in the entire window so she can’t accidentally click off the page and onto my desktop and I also love that it filters You Tube for me.
With the launch of Kidzui 5.0, kids and parents can now share weblinks between Kidzui and Facebook. (http://www.your-story.org/kidzui-launches-new-version-of-company%E2%80%99s-award-winning-kid%E2%80%99s-browser-featuring-new-ways-for-children-and-parents-to-safely-discover-and-share-the-internet-together-55046/) Go to Kidzui.com to learn more about Kidzui 5.0.
Today’s blog pertains to parents mainly, but with the holidays approaching, I thought this may be good for anyone who is expecting child visitors over the holidays. I know how much I would appreciate an aunt, uncle or friend who set up one of these options on their computer for my kids so I could relax on Thanksgiving Day – Delicious!