All posts by Sarah James

They're a Guest Author for TrickVilla. To read more such amazing articles, follow TrickVilla via the social buttons below:-

Top 10 Free Parental Control Software and Browsers

These days, children are far more adept at using computers than their parents. The biggest worry is how to control the information they receive without completely removing their independence and having to look over their shoulders.

With the rise of the internet predator and the proliferation of pornographic sites on the web, children’s online safety is of paramount concern to parents. It is therefore comforting for parents to know that there is a range of free downloadable online safety resources available to them.

Basic Protection

Windows 7 or Windows Vista come with some parental controls built into the operating system. These have to be turned on and the settings adjusted to your particular needs.

Parents can set time limits on PC or laptop use, allow or block access to certain games or programs and get information about a child’s computer use. However, these controls don’t monitor internet use and additional parental controls from another provider will be needed.

These may be available, for example, as part of your broadband and satellite television package and can be added to the Windows Parental Controls already installed. You can visit Broadband Expert for satellite TV provider information.

Google has its own online safety tools which parents can access and set to their own requirements. For example, Google SafeSearch screens sites that contain sexually explicit content and removes them from search results.

Google safe search
Google safe search

Children will not, therefore, accidentally stumble upon pornographic images when searching the internet. Parents can choose the filter level and can even lock it with a password so that children cannot turn it off or bypass it.

Once locked, a very striking image of coloured balls is visible on the search page, even from across the room, so parents can easily see that the SafeSearch lock is still in place.

For later versions of Internet Explorer, Parental Control Bar is a free download that prevents access to adult content. It can be locked with a password but is not suitable for use with multiple Windows user accounts.

If you’re happy to have one account only on the family PC then this software offers adequate, if rather basic, parental controls.

Chat and Email Monitoring

Windows Live Family Safety is a freeware download for Windows. It may already be included in your Windows 7 package but can otherwise be easily downloaded from the Windows website.

You will need a Windows Live ID but once you have set one up, setting the tool to your requirements is easy. It is suitable for use on multiple Windows user accounts and once the settings are arranged, the server will filter the content available to your child’s account.

The beauty of this tool is that instant-messaging and email monitoring are included too.

K9 Web Protection can be downloaded and installed free of charge and provides parents with an activation key which doubles up as the password for each control task.

K9 Web Protection
K9 Web Protection

Parents can choose categories for the websites they want to block, including everything from abortion to violence. Adult pop-ups can also be blocked. However, online chat and email monitoring is not part of this freeware program.

KidsWatch Family Protection Suite is a free control tool which has a paid-for upgrade too. KidsWatch blocks inappropriate site content and pop-ups, but also alerts parents to undesirable chat conversations and email content using a keyword-monitoring system.

Parents can view the entire dialogue of instant-message and chat conversations. Individual settings for each child mean that children of different ages can have their own user accounts with suitable settings for their age group.

Along similar lines, Online Family Norton also blocks inappropriate sites and content and allows parents to monitor chat, instant messaging and emails. Again, settings can be attributed to individual user accounts depending on the age of each child in the family.

Child-Friendly Browsers

If you have concerns about your children using the usual internet browsers, then you might want to consider one or two of the child-friendly browsers available. Kidzui is a web browser that comes preloaded with suitable content for kids and is perfect for younger children.

There is even an associated child-friendly video content site called ZuiTube which children can be encouraged to visit instead of YouTube, ensuring that they are not exposed to any risky media.

Buddy Browser Blocked Page
Buddy Browser Blocked Page

Another similar internet tool is Buddy Browser, which also comes filled with suitable YouTube video content for kids. Buddy Browser also detects undesirable content in real time and blocks it instantly. It also offers safe social networking for children.

Broadband Provider Parental Controls

It is also worth examining your existing broadband package, as many satellite television and broadband providers include free parental control tools with their broadband services. Visit Broadband Expert for satellite TV provider information

There are many resources available to parents to ensure their child’s online safety, but none of them can act as a replacement for parental supervision. Parents should always be fully aware of their child’s online activities to be absolutely sure of their safety.

About The AuthorSarah James is an expert in broadband and satellite television services and writes on technology for a variety of websites and blogs. She recommends that you visit Broadband Expert for satellite TV provider information.

How To Track Children with Mobile Tracking

Being a good parent is the most important job anyone will ever take on, but parenthood can be a challenge when teenage children are concerned.

With technology allowing the free flow of information and communication, how can parents keep their kids safe while giving them freedom?

Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that most teenagers are naturally drawn to excitement and risk. This creates a big problem when it comes to finding a happy medium between safety and freedom.

Talking on Phone

With frequent use of the internet and social media sites and their complete reliance on mobile phones for communication, monitoring who your teenager talks to and what information he receives can seem like an insurmountable task.

However, you can’t realistically expect to deprive your children of the gadgets that most adults have. Nor should you limit all independence.

To begin with, doing so could seriously affect their ability to communicate with friends or get in contact with family members if they need urgent help.

Future career prospects might also depend on their ability to use the latest technology and communication tools.

Benefits and Risks

Allowing teenagers to have their own mobile phone can, of course, have many benefits, especially in the case of an emergency. A teenager’s mobile can be something of a thorn for a parent.

Though needed for safety reasons, the phone is also a child’s ticket to freedom. Sometimes freedom must be curtailed.

Parents who are not quite up to speed with new technology will be relieved to learn that there are a few options available to them that could provide help.

It is possible, for instance, to monitor mobile phone usage and even track the phone’s physical location using GPS.

If you are confident about taking matters into your own hands, you could consider seeking out a handset that includes tracking technology as standard. These are available from a few private companies and the phone is supplied without a SIM card.

You can then fit the handset with your own SIM card, install the provided software onto your home PC and track your child’s location.

Parental Control

There has been talk of a SIM card that will soon be available that has a built-in capacity for parental control. Parents will be given the power to switch off the phone’s network at certain times (e.g., during school hours or late at night).

They can also monitor texts and calls and even control contacts, blocking calls and texts from unknown or unwanted callers. Internet use and data downloads can also be controlled and monitored, as well as picture and video messaging.

Purchasing a SIM card without a handset will, of course, give you the freedom to keep up with your teenager’s rapidly changing tastes by enabling relatively low-cost replacement of the handset as often as you please.

In the case of the pre-fitted tracker handsets, this will allow you to purchase updated handsets as they are released.

It’s Easy to Get your Location Leaked

Location-based services for mobile phones have been around for a while, but have come into more regular use with the rise of the smartphones using GPS and Wi-Fi technology.

Many of the social networking sites used by teenagers have integrated applications that use these technologies, which allows users to share their location with friends.

Applications such as FourSquare or Google Latitude, part of Google Maps, also use this technology to locate users and show both their location and that of friends and family on a digital map.

Before you think about this as an easy way to locate your teenager, it is worth remembering that this information is not only visible to you, but to just about anyone who wants to find it.

Quite often, a teenager’s social networking friends will include people they may not have met before and this technology will effectively allow your teenager’s whereabouts to be common knowledge to strangers, possibly putting them at risk.

Subscription Services

Perhaps the safest way to look at tracking your teenager’s phone would be to use a subscription tracking service. A Google search for “mobile tracker” will give you a host of companies that, for a monthly subscription, will track a particular phone and keep you informed of its whereabouts.

You may also use apps like Where’s My Droid for Android, or BlackBerry Protect for BlackBerry to keep a track on your child.

BlackBerry Protect

This information is only made available to you.

Any tracking device or service will only be effective if the phone is switched on and it is only the phone or SIM that can be tracked, not the child, so if your teenager leaves his phone at home or it gets lost, you may still not know your child’s whereabouts.

Also, it is worth knowing that a subscription tracking service can only be used with the child’s consent, so parents looking for a furtive way to track their child may be disappointed.

About The Author: Sarah James writes regularly on technology for a wide range of publications and websites. For more information compare high speed internet providers in your area on this website.