Smart as­sis­tants for your car, and how to keep your kids safe with com­put­ers

T3’ s on­line safety of­fi­cer is here to ex­plain tech right from wrong

T3 - - Contents -

How can I keep my kid safe with a com­puter?

AGuru’s ex­pe­ri­ences with small chil­dren (and, let’s face it, his own ex­pe­ri­ences break­ing the fam­ily PC as a teen and the fam­ily ZX Spec­trum as a tot) tell him this much: there’s not much you can do. Be­fore you even think about the tech­nol­ogy, em­ploy a de­cent dose of ed­u­ca­tion to teach your kids what’s pos­si­ble, what shouldn’t be touched, and the pre­cise dan­gers of the cesspit of hu­man­ity that is the in­ter­net. Even the cheeki­est chil­dren will be clever enough to know that if they have a bad time – or if you catch them hav­ing slightly too good a time – things won’t end well.

So if you must put the tech into their hands, then lock down their user ac­count, ei­ther on Win­dows or, if you’re crazy enough to spend Mac­Book money on kids, on macOS . Both of­fer fam­ily ac­counts; Win­dows’ ex­am­ple gives you more di­rect con­trol from afar. You can log into the Mi­crosoft web­site to set ac­cess times, see what your kid has been up to, and even chip a lit­tle into their Mi­crosoft Store ac­count, if you can find any­thing they ac­tu­ally want on it.

Even if you’re not in­ter­ested in the faff of set­ting up all that, most mod­ern routers have been beefed up enough that they can of­fer you a layer of traf­fic man­age­ment. Iso­late your prog­eny’s ma­chine, and you’ll be able to fil­ter, throt­tle or cut the in­ter­net depend­ing on their be­hav­iour, and feign in­no­cence or blame one of the an­grier mi­nor gods when they come gnash­ing their teeth about it. Some of Net­gear’s routers have Dis­ney’s easy Cir­cle parental con­trols too.

Most mod­ern routers have been beefed up enough that they can of­fer you a layer of traf­fic man­age­ment

ABOVE There are more re­fined ways to stop Ju­nior’s ‘fun’ than just pulling the plug

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