Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kid-Safe Internet


My kids, LOVE to play online computer games... especially, my soon to be 13 year old son. There have been a couple that his cousin showed him that he has really enjoyed playing. But here's the problem...sometimes, when he searched for these games on the internet, he would stumble upon some inappropriate content. It could have been a site that just happened to have one of his search words in it, or even if the game/site itself was fine, some of the advertisements on that site were not.

The man and I were concerned about this, but still wanted the kids to be able to play games online. (They get a variety of games, without us having to go out and buy any! :)) So, I googled "kid safe internet" or some such thing, and although I found many different options, I chose Kidzui for our family.

It's a download onto your computer that allows kids to view only kid friendly sites. It is also customized by age, so when my 3 year old wants to play, he is offered different games and activities than when my 12 year old signs on. And the girl gets offered different sites than the boys (ie: Strawberry Shortcake, Hello Kitty, etc.) although they are not limited to these, they are simply age/gender appropriate recommendations. They can also rate different sites and games, so that the other kids can see if their brothers or sister liked a game or not, and if they might like to try it.

They can access the internet as well, from their Kidzui homepages, but if they try to go to a site that is not "kid-friendly" or "parent approved", they get a message stating that the site is blocked, but Mom or Dad can unblock it for them if they choose. It's been great! The kids are able to go to their Spelling Time website that we use for some of our schoolwork without problems, but You-Tube has to be approved. This has been so very helpful!

Now, like I said, there were many other similar programs out there that we could have chosen, but Kidzui offered a FREE membership, so that's the one we chose. :) They do offer paid memberships as well, that allow the kids some more "fun" stuff to personalize their pages, etc. But that is the kind of thing that they have to do with their own allowance money, so for now, they are happy with the free site. And they are really enjoying all the new games and videos offered by the site.

Oh, and what I did for our family was to remove the regular web-browser icon from the desktop on the kids computer. I told them they had to click on the Kidzui icon to get online now. :) But you can set the computer to automatically turn on Kidzui when you logon and then require a password to get out of it, so they can't logoff of
Kidzui and logon to your regular internet. I didn't want to automatically start anything, so I just removed the internet icon and told them it was gone, and to use the new one. Hey, it Works for Me!

To see more ideas from fellow bloggers, visit Shannon's place for more Works for Me Wednesday tips and tricks!

3 comments:

Frugal Finds said...

I like your music!!!

Amanda said...

Good for you for being proactive about your kids and the Internet! I work on a game and Web site for kids that teaches Internet safety and one of the biggest factors is parental involvement. We talked with Kidzui a few times, I was very impressed by their product too. I'm glad to hear it's working out well for you :)

Don't know if you're interested or not, but our site is featuring online gaming safety this month. We mostly focuses on games that involve other players and chatting, but you might find something useful to start a conversation with your son about in one of the "faculty" blogs. We also have some educational cyber safety games as well. It's at carnegiecyberacademy.com.

ames said...

whoops, just realized I posted signed in to the wrong gmail account - as amanda and not as ames :)