22/8/2016 0 Comments
Here's something that every parent should try on any computer, tablet or smartphone that a child uses.
Before you actually do as I suggest in this article, there needs to be a warning. You may find yourself needing to avert your eyes in disgust. And make sure no child is looking over your shoulder when you do this.
Let's back-track a minute, so that I can explain why I want you to do something that might cause you disgust.
Curiosity, when mixed with Google, can be very dangerous
A client of iTandCoffee called me last week, and asked for assistance in setting up Parental Controls on all the Apple devices in the household (Macs, iPads, iPhones).
The necessity for these controls followed a very distressing incident involving her 12yo daughter.
This child had heard playground talk at school, and had not understood one of the words she had heard. The other kids all seemed to know what it was, and she felt too embarrassed to ask them about it.
Instead, she went home and Googled the word on the Macbook Pro that she has for school.
When she saw the images that jumped off the screen from Google Images, she was immediately horrified, and very, very distressed. She went to her mother in tears, confessing what she had done and what she had seen.
That child has been having nightmares ever since. Her quest for an explanation of a word she heard at school has left her scarred.
When a single word can cause so much distress
What was the single word she typed in Google Images?
I typed the word on my own work iPad Pro (which the kids aren't allowed to touch, so has no Parental Controls) and was so shocked at how graphic to very first page of images were. I had to turn away immediately, and couldn't 'kill' the page fast enough! The thought of a child seeing those images was too horrifying.
If you already have parental controls on your/their technology, an image search of this word returns fairly innocuous images.
If there are no parental controls (or you are not sure if there are), perhaps consider (like I did) typing in this word to get an idea of what your child would see in a moment of curiosity.
Or, perhaps just take my word for it when I say that you REALLY REALLY don't want your child seeing images like that.
"But I thought the school had made the device safe"
Many parents have the mistaken belief that a device that they have purchased for the child to use at school already has all the necessary controls on it.
While access to inappropriate content may be limited at school due to restrictions on the school's network, this does not necessarily mean that any controls apply away from the school.
It is so often left to the parents to deal with setting up the parental controls on iPads and Macs (or Windows computers), and in too many cases, this never happens.
This is not because parents don't care - it is often just that they don't have the understanding of the technology that their children use and how to set up any controls. It is just too hard, and perhaps something that they have just never had a chance to investigate and apply
Please secure your child's device - for the sake of all of our children
If you have been putting off setting up parental controls, please add this to your 'to do' list today - and mark it as a 'high priority' task. Too often the importance of parental controls only becomes obvious AFTER the damage has been done.
Below are short videos showing where you can find and set up the Parental Controls on Apple devices.
Sadly, securing your own family's devices is often not enough, as often the exposure to inappropriate content occurs at a friend's house, due to lack of parental controls on devices there.
Parents need to encourage other parents to secure their family devices. For those who don't understand or believe that controls are necessary, maybe show them what comes up in Google Images when the single word 'porn' is entered.
Instructions for restricting websites on an iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch (7.9MB, 2:13)
Instructions for restricting websites on a Mac (10.7MB, 2:42))
Do you need assistance?
If you have any problems setting and and securing devices to keep kids from seeing inappropriate content, iTandCoffee can help.
We have a 'Keeping Kids safe on Apple Devices' 2-hour class where we look at how to set up parental controls on Apple devices. This class is run whenever there is sufficient demand. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending this class.
An in-home (or in-shop) appointment can also be arranged to assist with setup on any computers, tablets or mobile devices.
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