My kids love to play on the computer. What kid doesn’t, right? I mean, with so much of the world relying on computers to function, it seems almost impractical to completely restrict them from at least some computer time.
Plus, I know from experience with my son, they can learn a lot from educational games and learning sites on the web.
At the same time, I want to limit their internet time and I definitely want to know what sites they’re visiting. You know as well as I do, there’s lots of really bad stuff out on the web.
Three challenges arise when you decide to give your children access to the computer.
- How to keep the kids out of your important documents.
- How to limit their computer time.
- How to make sure the kids aren’t accessing bad sites.
With these challenges in mind, I’ve got a few things you can do to help with these issues.
Set up an individual log-in for the kids.
Create a completely separate log-in on the computer for the kids. It doesn’t need a password.
Make sure your log-in is password protected and that you are logged out. This way the kids will not have access to anything you don’t give them access to, including any of your important information you don’t want deleted or messed up.
Also be sure to give them a standard and NOT administrative account when you set them up.
Create a log-in/log-out time.
Set the timer for the computer to automatically log the kids out at certain times each day and/or after a given amount of time. Most operating systems allow you to set time limits for days of the week and times of day.
However, since the procedure for setting these up varies with each system, do a search on parental controls for your particular operating system (ex: windows vista parental controls), if you’re not sure how to set this up.
Download a browser created for kids.
By downloading a browser for you kids to use under their log in account, they only have access to kid and parent friendly sites.
We signed our kids up with Kidzui. It’s completely free for the basic version, and there are tons of great games that they both enjoy. You can read more about it and download it here. My kids both absolutely love Kidzui.
Another option is KidRocket (not available for the Mac 🙁 ). This browser is also free and works very much the same way as Kidzui, only allowing kids access to specific approved kids sites. You can check this one out and download it here.
Because of the limitations on the websites they can visit, these options are most likely only going to be appropriate for children under 12 and who are not having to browse the net for school research.
However for younger children who are just getting use to the computer, they’re great in my opinion.
Of course, there is no substitute for adult supervision and educating your kids on appropriate and inappropriate sites once they reach the age of understanding the difference.
Do you allow you kids computer time? How do you limit their computer time and which sites they’re accessing?
This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.
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