How do I control what my kids see online?
AGaGu’s policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell your Mum’ doesn’t work for everyone – well, it works for the progressively more twisted mind of young GaGu Jr, but it might not suit you. Luckily there are plenty of things that can be done, at least to a certain extent. You could go all heavy-handed and force their computer into lockdown mode, giving them a restricted user account. This is reasonably straightforward on both macOS and Windows, but it’s also an almighty pain in the rear end if you’re the one who has to administer the thing.
While you’re putting your offspring in cyber-jail, why not go one further and install draconic web filtering software on each machine? These add a little system overhead, slightly knocking performance, so you could instead add a filter machine between your router and the rest of the network: this is either prohibitively expensive, absurdly complex, or both, so Guru probably wouldn’t bother.
Luckily, the march of funspoiling technology has reached the ever more powerful domain of routers and mesh networks. Installing something like Asus’ cute holedrilled-through-it Blue Cave router ($369) gives you access to an app in which you can administer the router’s own web filter, and adds the ability to put time limits and even speed restrictions on your kids. Little Jimmy downloading a few too many of them memes? Show him what it was like to use dial-up back in the day.
Fundamentally, though, kids are clever. There’s no real way to stop them – they’ll find loopholes, they’ll shoulder-surf your password, they’ll go to Feral Cousin Hubert’s house. They’ll get in. Don’t let that stop you from implementing security measures, but make sure that talking to your kids about the internet cesspool is a solution.
ABOVE Remember when it was just TV ads warping kids’ minds? Ah, the good ol’ days…