Protecting Children from online threats has never been so important. The Internet is used for just about everything but is a dangerous place. Fraud is rife, spam is never-ending, and viruses are everywhere. Possibly the most significant risk is to our children. Many of them spend endless hours playing games or watching YouTube. When they ask for that new free game on their tablet how often do you check that it is suitable? Even if it is, do inappropriate adverts come up for dating sites when you are not supervising them. As they get older and lose their innocence, there are vast amounts of adult content that will cause all sorts of damage to young minds.
Panorama did a program about the deliberately addictive design of applications on Smartphones: The Dark Side: via @bbciplayer
Social media is a potential source of damage. Internet grooming is a serious threat. Cyberbullying has caused many suicides throughout the world. Trolling is commonplace with even the home secretary being a victim. If senior politicians cant be protected, what chance is there for ordinary people.
As children get older keeping them safe becomes more difficult as the average teenager is more tech-savvy than the average parent.
If the content was not bad enough, many of the websites with adult content also have viruses and other Malware.
Don’t forget the grandparents, who are less likely to be aware of the dangers and in many cases are more trusting.
So what is the solution?
One option is to install web filtering software on each device, which can be effective, but with increasing numbers of devices in the home managing, each device becomes time-consuming and error-prone. Also, the different types of equipment, PC, Apple Mac, Linux, Android or IOS all would need different software which each need managing and have a cost. A better solution is to control it centrally at the router. This requires a suitable router and usually an annual subscription to a filtering product. Configuration at the router means it can’t be bypassed by the user. Devices with independent Internet connections like tablets and phones can still bypass the router.
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