The internet is providing children with vast opportunities to learn, share, and communicate. However, when accessing the internet and building their online presence, children may face risks including violations of their privacy and exposure to inappropriate and potentially harmful content. Due to this threat, protecting children online should not be the sole responsibility of their parents — businesses also have a share in this responsibility.
In this blog, you will learn how both businesses and parents can regulate children’s activities online.
The first step to safeguarding your online presence is conducting self-assessment. Defining your needs and the needs of your users is essential, especially when dealing with a younger user base. Fortunately, there is a tool that will enable you to assess your part in keeping children safe online:
Child Online Safety Assessment Tool
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Child Online Safety Assessment Tool is designed to support ICT (information and communication technology) companies in assessing how children’s rights can be more effectively integrated into their operations. It aims to empower companies to strengthen their child protection policies, codes of conduct and due diligence processes.
The Excel tool has been built with inputs from a wide range of stakeholders, which include ICT companies across a variety of sectors (internet service providers, online gaming, search engines, social media and others), industry associations, independent human rights consultants, non-governmental organizations specializing in child rights for the ICT sector, academics, and media experts.
The three main objectives of the tool are to:
1. Ensure companies understand the core issues and impacts to consider when assessing their
management of child rights and the internet.
2. Offer an easy-to-use and comprehensive self-assessment of a company's management of children’s rights online and its impact.
3. Reveal strengths and weaknesses in managing child rights policies and practices, and build corrective plans where needed to adjust management practices.
The tool features worksheets for six self-assessment areas:
1. Legal – Ensuring corporate policies and management processes comply with applicable legislation
2. Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility – Integrating child rights considerations into all appropriate corporate responsibility policies and management processes
3. Human Resources – Working to make sure that all employees are aware of child rights and exhibit appropriate behaviors
4. Procurement – Working with suppliers to align values, expectations, and performance
5. Product Development – Creating safer and age-appropriate online environments through product development, in use, and through interaction with customers and users
6. Commercial – Ensuring marketing and sales, products and services promote online child safety
(Click this link to download the UNICEF Child Online Safety Assessment tool.)
Self-assessment, as previously stated, is just the beginning. Once the self-assessment is done, that is where moderation comes into the picture. Even if conducting online moderation in-house is not a viable option (e.g., forums are too small, or resources are not available), some form of online moderation is still essential. If that is the case with your company, let Pure Moderation meet your moderation needs. Our image and video moderation services include trustworthy child safe internet filters. Meanwhile, our social moderation services include highly accurate detection of cyberbullying and identification of sexual predators and online groomers, as well as complete child safety moderation services that comply with child abuse reporting.
Here are some free parental control software products you can use as moderation tools to keep your children safe online:
K9 Web Protection
K9 Web Protection is used to protect home Windows or Mac computer. It enables parents to do the following:
Block websites in over 70 categories, including drugs, gambling,
malware/spyware, phishing, pornography, and violence/hate/racism
Categorize new adult and malicious sites real-time
Configure custom lists for "always allow" and "always block"
Force SafeSearch on ALL major search engines
Override a webpage block with a password
Set time restrictions to block web access at designated times
Trust the enhanced anti-tampering that children will not be able to break
See easy reports to monitor and control web activity
What is good about this free parental control software is that it is entirely free for home use.
MetaCert provides two free internet safety products: an iPad web browser and a Chrome extension. Listed below are the key features:
Owned by networking hardware company Cisco, OpenDNS is a domain name system (DNS) server that lets parents protect every device there is at home — digital video recorders (DVRs), game consoles, laptops, smartphones, tablets, TVs, and anything that connects to the internet.
OpenDNS offers three home internet security options:
Family Shield (free, no account required) - pre-configured to block adult content
Home (free, account required) - with customizable child safe internet filtering and identity theft protection
Home VIP ($19.95 per year, account required) - Home package plus one year of usage stats and optional whitelist mode
Qustodio has real-time child safe internet filter that blocks inappropriate content even in private browsing mode. This free parental control software lets you monitor your child's social network activity, set multi-device limits, control games and apps, and track text messages and calls and your child's location as well. In case of emergency, it also lets kids use the Panic Button to call for help. It is free for 1 user and 1 device, but there are premium versions for those who want to protect more than 1 device.
As much as you want to watch over your children’s online presence, you cannot do it at all times (especially if you are a working parent). But with the use of any of the online moderation tools discussed above, you will have a partner in safeguarding online child safety, which will then give you peace of mind even if you are not physically with your dear children.