Parents know that it’s not safe to allow children unrestricted access to the internet. You wouldn’t let little Jimmy run around all willy-nilly in a strange city and you surely wouldn’t allow anything of the sort in cyberspace, right?
The issues with internet access and children come in many forms. Your child may be young enough that they accidentally stumble upon inappropriate content ranging from nudity to foul language, leaving you to explain the human anatomy at a much sooner time than you had imagined. Or, perhaps the kids are at an age of curiosity or rebellion and are purposely seeking out off-limits topics online.
With the growing popularity of internet access to mobile devices like the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, monitoring internet activity isn’t so easy as plopping the computer in the living room and keeping a watchful constant eye over young shoulders. Now, the internet is mobile. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket and that makes parental monitoring an even bigger challenge.
Fortunately, the tech world has heard the rally cries of concerned parents and a number of kid-safe browsers are available to allow your child internet access in a safe manner. By no means is everything on the internet dirty, filthy, vulgar or dangerous. Much of the content on the web is educational, informative, fun and smart. With these kid safe browsers, you’ll be able to help keep your kids on the right side of the cyber tracks.
Available for a very affordable $1.99, Quintura Kids aims to make searching the web an educational process for children. As a term is entered into the search box, the Quintura search engine/web browser app automatically creates a cloud of relatable terms to further the search that kids can choose from. For instance, if you were to type in “dog,” Quintura would produce a cloud of options that may include breeds, pictures, videos, etc. Children are then able to refine their search and be led to sites that contain only kid friendly information. Quintura Kids can be customized to display between 10 to 50 key words, although some reviews do complain that the app will often limit searches based on which sites have been indexed as “safe” by the app. In the long run, parents have to consider if limited access to some sites outweighs strict safety guidelines.
As a well rated kid-friendly web browser, SafeBrowser offers an interface similar to that of Safari, which comes as the pre-loaded browser with iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. This means that children who are experienced in using Safari will have a relatively easy time transitioning to SafeBrowser, as many of the functionalities remain the same. From pinch and zoom to bookmarks and saving images, there’s nothing new to learn when kids begin using SafeBrowser.
Websites available through the browser are determined through a number of factors. Parents may set on-line security controls based on a child’s age, or by creating a custom list of allowed or restricted sites. Mobicip, the creators of SafeBrowser categorize new websites on an ongoing basis to ensure that only appropriate sites are available through their browser, which means constantly expanded content.
A handy added bonus to the Mobicip line of safe web browsers is the availability of on-line monitorming for parents. By creating an on-line account, parents can retrieve reports on how much time children have spent online, as well as which sites they have viewed or tried to access.
Safe Eyes Mobile
The price tag for Safe Eyes Mobile is definitely a little steeper than some of the other kid-friendly web browsers available in the iTunes marketplace. This option for children’s on-line security is characterized by websites that are accessible being pre-screened by Safe Eyes Mobile. Parents are also given the ability to allow or restrict individual sites as they deem them okay or not okay for their children. One of the downsides of Safe Eyes Mobile, however, is its inability to open links contained within e-mails. Developers claim that this is due to the operating system configurations of the iPhone, however many reviewers have found this limitation frustrating.
This free mobile browser offers similar services to the other kid-friendly browsers that we’ve looked at. However, it’s primary selling point is the ability to provide on-going reports to parents that highlight what children have been looking at on-line. By establishing an on-line account, parents are able to review the content their child has been accessing or disable a website or function remotely. For example, if you log on during your lunch hour to find that the young one has been checking Facebook during school hours, you can instantly block Facebook via the iWonder Surf browser and talk about it later that night. This seems like an app best suited for parents of older children with a need to monitor where and what they’re doing on the internet.
Regardless of which web browser you choose to secure your children’s safety online, remember that you are still the most effective and important weapon in your arsenal. Talk to your children openly about what content is and isn’t okay to look at on-line. Creating a culture of internet honesty in your home will make children more open to coming to you when they may accidentally come across inappropriate content, as well as encouraging them to come to you, rather than the internet when they have curiosity about some of the tougher topics in life.
None of these web browsers offer sure-fire 100% internet safety for children, but they are a great start in making cyberspace a little more secure for the children that you love.