Before my kids could tie their shoes, they could operate a computer from pressing the start button to opening Chrome to finding their favorite website in the past history. I once ran down the five steps to the basement to grab a suitcase and returned to find that my three year old had tweeted his name. By four he had renamed Chrome “N” for Noah on my desktop. Now that my kids are five and seven, they’ve begun to use the computer with my help to conduct research for school projects and play online games that involve communities. Like most parents, the idea of my kids online with a million ways for them to lose their innocence just a click away terrifies me.
A recent survey conducted on behalf of Microsoft Windows found that:
- 77% of parents don’t use or are unaware of the full suite of tools or software available to keep children safe online.
- Yet, 92% of parents are concerned about their child’s safety online.
- Meanwhile, 96% of parents believe technology is important to their child’s academic success.
As part of my participation in the Windows Champion program, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about tools provided to Windows users. One such tool is Family Safety, a component of Windows Live Essentials. Family Safety allows users to customize how they want to set various protections and safeguards to keep their little ones safe when online. Are your children old enough to send email to friends, including friends they’ve met online? The contact management component allows parents to monitor or restrict the contact list for their child in Window Live Hotmail, Messenger and Spaces. If your child visits sites that allow others to upload images, you may also be interested in using the filtering images. Finally, SafeSearch keeps your children from accidentally viewing adult content in search results when they’re conducting research on Bing, Google, Yahoo! and other popular search engines.
What is your biggest online safety concern for your children?
This post was written in conjunction with my participation in the Windows Champions program. Windows Champions are bloggers who are hand-selected to work with Microsoft Windows. As part of this arrangement, they have been loaned a Windows 7 PC for the course of year and are given the opportunity to learn about Windows and Microsoft products. I have not received monetary compensation in exchange for this post.