Monday, January 26, 2015

Parenting With Google?? FREE Options To Keep Your Kids Safe Online!

If you haven't done so, read my previous blog first! This is a link:

As I promised, I am going to show the cool features I found in Google. I wanted to know exactly what my kids had been searching for and looking at on the internet. Having that information is SO important. It will let you know if the security software you are currently using is working well or if you need to find something better.  It will also help you to address the problem with your child.
For instance, it's good to know if your child saw a picture of bare breasts vs. a picture of homosexual sex. Honestly, it is very easy for them to accidentally come across hardcore sex pictures without even intending to. Once they've been exposed to these images it makes it very difficult to keep their curiosity from dragging them back in.
If you've already created your Google account then you're ready to go. To see these cool features, click in the top right corner like below. Click on account, like I put the block around in purple.

To verify which of your devices are associated with this account, scroll down to where it says "recent activity." It will say "devices" in that box. Click there, as pictured below.(Sorry, forgot to circle "devices") A window will pop open and show your device list. I've included a picture of mine.

Use the arrow at the top to go back to the previous menu to continue on. 
Scroll down a bit and you will see a tab that says "account history." Click on that tab, like pictured below.

It will pop open this:

Start with the very first box. Make sure that the box that says "Include history from Chrome and other apps in your Web & App Activity" is checked. Pictured below:

By checking that box, Google is going to track all web browsing, whether on Chrome or another browser. It also will track the videos on Youtube and any images or videos on the web. You will see under the purple box I outlined it says "manage history." If you click there, it will pull open your browsing history. It gives dates and times too, which will help you know when your kids have been sneaking online. When you open your history, it will look something like this:

Now go back to the previous menu.

Scroll down to the next section. On the right side you will see a box about device history. Make sure this is turned on. Click on the box, like below:

It will pop open another box, click on it like this:

When you turn this on, Google will track the activity on any devices that are linked to this account, this will include phones or tablets where you've set them up for Google play.

Now you are set up to track all the activity on your devices! Yay!!!

You can look at all the history for videos that have been searched for on Youtube or watched. Play around in this Google account history stuff. There are so many cool things you can see history of in here.
It's nice because all of this information is free. Many services make you pay for this information, but why do that if you can have it all stored for free?  It enables you to use a free filtering service and you'll still have access to all the information that the really expensive monitoring services offer.

Now I am going to give my opinion on how to discuss this with your kids. In my experience I've found it best to let my kids know that I can see their browsing history and Youtube history. I do not tell them everything I can see or how I am able to see it. I don't want them to know that because then they will look for ways around it. When I find that they've been looking at things that aren't acceptable, I look to see what I can do to help block it. Then I test it on their devices. I go and search every dirty word I can think of. It gives me an idea of what is filtered and what isn't.

Based on their search histories, I can get an idea of the language and words they use to look this stuff up. Example: I may think a teen boy would search for "Pictures of boobs" when he is using the word "titts." This is important information for me if I want to make sure he can't look at those pictures. A good way to learn their lingo is to watch their history online.

Good luck! My next blog will be the filtering program I am using. It is free and from a reputable company, so Yay!!

If you get stuck and need help, let me know!

Include history from Chrome and other apps in your Web & App Activity.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Free Safety Filters To Protect Your Kiddo's Online *Youtube*

**Graphic sexual images are below! They are included because I think we need to understand the reality of what our kids have easy access to.

For the last two years I've been fighting the battle to keep my kids safe on the internet. It can be so frustrating! I've tried a multitude of different safety programs and applications to protect them and found none of them competent. We are now switching to a plan of layered protection. It consists of putting filtering software over our home internet connection, setting age filters with our cell phone company, installing filtering/monitoring applications on our devices and setting up security settings on our online accounts.

First, let me say that none of this is 100% fool proof with a determined child. It needs to be followed up with random checks of the devices and household rules on how and where these devices are used.
I think I am going to be an internet genius by the time all these kids are grown.
I wanted to share some of the resources I am using and how to use them.
I am specifically working with android devices but a lot of this can be applied to your PC or Apple devices. Everything I am using is FREE!

To use this stuff successfully you'll need to set up a Google account. It can probably be done with other services, but Google is what I use so it's what I've learned.
When you set up your child's phone or tablet, set it up with your Google account, not your child's account. That will keep it so that the safety setting can't be tampered with.
(If your child is browsing online on a PC with their personal Google email open, you will have to keep in mind it uses their personal setting. Make sure they are set up and that you have the passwords.)


To start, I want to show you a before and after to this quick safety fix. I'm not blocking out the graphic images on the thumbnails because I think it's important to understand exactly what is on Youtube.

I am doing a search that I think any 12 year old kid would try: "Sex Video"

This is what happens with safety mode off:

This is with safety mode on:

Notice the difference. Safety mode is not perfect, but it seriously helps. I clicked on a few of the videos that still come up and I think they would seriously disappoint a kid looking for sex videos, especially compared to the previous version.

Make sure that you've created a Youtube account that is linked to your Google account. (Use your Google email address.)

To set up Youtube on safety mode, log into Youtube on your PC. At the very bottom of the page you will see the button to turn the safety on. See picture.

This will probably be enough safety for Youtube until your child hits puberty, then all bets are off. (See my upcoming posts for more ideas for your hormone affected browsers.) 

Keep in mind that your child can turn this off if they think of it, so you need to check it periodically to make sure they have left it alone.

Make sure this is the Youtube account that is logged in on the device your child uses. Check the built in app and the browser.  (There may be more than one browser.)
If you are turning on "safety" directly on the tablet, you can find the settings by clicking on the 3 little dots in the corner, as seen below. (On our device anyway.)

This is just a start. I am going to write a couple follow up posts with setting up the security software I am using.
I am also going to do some helpful Google tools that are pretty cool for keeping your kids safe. (This is why I say to set up a Google account, it will not disappoint!)
Everything I am using is FREE!
Let's start a conversation! Please feel free to contact me if you run in to problems with this, I will do my best to get back to you and help if I can.