Written and compiled by: Kareem LaTouche and Stephanie Lyew
Tech problem of the week
How to establish parental controls on a Windows computer or smartphone device
Why you need to know:
Parental controls are important for individuals who plan to allow their children to use the computer or smartphone device and tablet to carry out small tasks. It protects your child from being exposed to explicit content that is advertised on the Internet as well as restricts the possible purchase and installation of unwanted applications.
What to do:
Press the 'Start' Windows button, then type 'Control Panel' and select it to access the computer's settings. To set up parental controls, you will need to create a child's user account or guest account. Being connected to a domain or Internet from a single-user account will restrict the main user from setting up parental controls. Select 'Family Safety' at the lower left-hand corner of the 'Control Panel'. Choose the areas or applications to which you want to restrict access. The child's user account can also be created from the 'Family Safety' option.
On a mobile smartphone, it should be simple to set up parental controls especially in the latest models of iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows phones. Open the phone's settings. In Apple devices, select the 'Settings' icon and scroll down to the 'General' tab to open 'Restrictions'. All the areas that can be restricted with built-in settings are listed. Move to the left to turn off access. Select the 'Security' tab for BlackBerry and check/uncheck the box for the preferred restrictions. For Android and Windows phones, users will be required to set up another user account on Google and Xbox.com to create a second profile on the phone to make restrictions in the settings.
Go to 'Settings' and select 'Users' and 'Users and Profiles' will open. Select 'Add user or profile'. It will provide the option to create another user account or restricted profile. After this is done, restart the phone and enter the password or passcode for the main profile if this is for the child to use. Note that there are apps for the parental-controls settings that make this task easier as well as using the remote-control apps will allow a parent or guardian to shut down or set time limits that the child is on the smartphone or tablet.
Tech question of the week:
How young is too young for a digital presence?
Garold Mitchell: Some parents expose their children to the Internet as early as 0-6 months, in hopes of increasing intelligence levels as the babies grow. The Internet is a great avenue for educating children as so many learning applications and websites have been created for that purpose. Once certain required restrictions are placed on the device, I don't think it is wrong to expose a child to the Internet from baby stages.
Marcia Ratchery: Exposure to the Internet and technology such as mobile phones and tablets is a controversial topic - from the effects it will have on a child's physical and mental health or learning. I think parents and guardians should wait until the child requires these inventions to do school work and focus on educating a child the traditional way. I also do not agree with children in primary level owning mobile phones, especially smartphones and tablets.
Apps this Week for Android, Apple and Bb
Net Nanny for Android: Net Nanny is an award-winning parental-control application; it is a custom mobile browser as well an application monitor and control. There are pre-defined age-based user-profile settings including Child (seven years old and under), Pre-teen (8-12 years old), Teenager (up to 18 years old) and Adult custom settings. From within the app, parents can set restrictions based on categories, Violence, Pornography, Profanity, Nudity, Weapons, Gambling etc. A notification will be sent to the parent/guardian via email when an application is accessed or blocked so that he or she can review and set restrictions at a later time. Net Nanny is managed remotely from a web-based console not from within an app on the computer. Users will have to log in online to manage family-user settings which also include time controls.
ParentKit for Apple (iPhone): The best thing about the ParentKit application for iPhone is that it does not require the manager to sign in to an online account to a web-based console or management system to set restrictions. With a mobile data plan or wireless connection, he or she will be able to access and view the child's device anywhere and anytime. Once the ParentKit app is installed to the parent's device, it will prompt the user to set up profiles for management of any children's device. The app will notify the parent when the child logs on to the Internet, makes online purchases or ask if these purchases are approved by the parent, accesses the Game Arcade or any other media files. The free trial is only for one month, then US$25 for six months or US$40 for a year.
Parental Controls for BlackBerry: The Parental Controls app created by BlackBerry Limited is for BlackBerry smartphones and tablets that may not have the parental-controls options within the security settings. In addition to the regular parental-control settings, with the app parents and guardians can restrict text messaging and various browser activities.