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4 Devices That Will Keep Your Kids Safe Online

Considering buying new technology for your kids this holiday season?  You’ll want to check out these 4 devices that will help keep your kids safe online!

Getting Your Kids New Technology for The Holidays?

4 Devices That Will Keep Your Kids Safe Online

 

Hey Everyone!

It’s hard to believe we’re at the start of another Holiday Season.  If you’re a parent who is thinking of purchasing a new Apple or Android smartphone or tablet, then you probably want to set up parental controls and content filtering on the device to prevent your child from being exposed to undesirable content on the Internet. Smart devices make great gifts, but there are things on the Internet that I’m sure you don’t want your kids to see.

There are many web sites promoting violence, hate, and pornography. There is also the threat of online predators and cyber bullies. You can’t supervise every moment that they’re surfing the Web.  With the help of parental control devices, you can filter out unwanted content, limit screen time, and in some cases, monitor social media accounts. Before you get your kid a smart device for the holidays, consider these devices:

Kurio Brand of Products 

From tablets to smartphones to smartwatches, Kurio has you covered.  With devices that offer your kids the flexibility to play games, watch video, make their own movies and create documents with Microsoft Office. Parents get the peace of mind with Kurio products because these devices have built in parental controls that allow you to control what apps your kids use and what places they visit on the Internet. Our boys have Kurio tablets and they enjoy them.

Kindle Fire Kids Addition 

 Everyone loves Kindle Fire and now Amazon has their Kid’s addition Fire.  The latest version of the Fire promises robust parental controls while still offering your kids the flexibility to download the hottest apps. The tablet comes with a protective case that keeps it safe if your child drops it.  Amazon also offers 2 worry free guarantees.  Your kid damages the tablet, they will replace it for free.

Circle with Disney 

Circle easily connects to your home wi-fi and allows you to control all of your kid’s connected devices. Once it’s installed, you can limit screen time, filter content, and set a bedtime for every device in the home.  The accompanying app, allows you to create unique profiles for each of your children.

TeenSafe 

 The app made by parents for parents.  TeenSafe offers comprehensive coverage for your kid’s devices.  It allows you to monitor such things such as social media interactions, phone messages, text messages and even their location. If your teen gets out of line and isn’t using their phone or tablet appropriately, you can block everything except basic features.

Check Your Devices Settings

If you don’t want to shell out extra money for child safe devices or for parental control apps, you can manually modify your smart devices to keep your kids safe.

Android Parental Controls 

Android devices allow you to set up restricted profiles to limit what content your kids can access.  To set up one, do the following:  First, open the Settings menu of your device, then Scroll down and tap “Users”, then tap ‘Add a restricted user profile’, next name the profile., finally select apps to enable for the profile, finally,

iOS Parental Controls 

You can use restrictions as parental control on iOS devices. To set up Restrictions on your iPhone, touch “Settings,” choose “General,” and then select “Restrictions.” You’ll be prompted for a PIN that gives you access to enable or disable “Restrictions.” There you can turn off any features you want — for example, Siri. Then scroll down to the section “Allowed Content.” This is the place to choose individual limits on what types of content can be downloaded

Parents, apps and technology can protect your kids from a lot of the harmful stuff out there, but parental control can’t catch everything. You ultimately have to be the one who makes sure they are staying safe on the Internet. The biggest threat on the Internet today is parents that do not get involved in their children’s use of technology. Put your hands on your kid’s devices to verify they are being responsible with them.  Never allow devices to stay in kid’s rooms overnight and put limits on daily technology use.  30 mins a day is the recommended use.

How else can you keep up with the latest tech tips and cyber security alerts?

Subscribe to my YouTube channel ‘Burton Kelso’. There are hundreds of videos designed to help you get the most out of the technology you use in your home or business.

From iFamily to Yours,

Burton

Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


4 Apps to Help You Unplug on National Day of Unplugging

Howdy, Kansas City! Our guest technology writer, Burton Kelso, is back at it again with another great article. This Friday is National Day of Unplugging, which is a movement that is trying to inspire people to “unplug” themselves from their devices/technology for 24 hours. Mr. Kelso has 4 great apps that will help you unplug for the day and connect in other ways. Take a look…

4 Apps to Help You Unplug on National Day of Unplugging

4 Apps To Help You Unplug for National Day of Unplugging

You see it everywhere you go. Families are paying more attention to their technology to each other. Kids have more screen time than outdoor time. Technology is great, but at some point you have to take a break. Are you and your family looking for a fun way to disconnect from the technology you use in your daily lives? You’re in luck! National Day of Unplugging is Friday, March 3 and lasts 24 hours. Created by the non profit group Reboot, every year they ask individuals, families and communities to reconnect by eliminating or reducing technology use for a 24 period to remind people to take a break from all things digital. If you visit the web site at www.nationaldayofunplugging.com, you can sign up and take the pledge to unplug from or reduce your technology use. You can even sign up for a free ‘sleeping bag’ for your smartphone.

Today’s technology has a positive impact on our lives, but it’s ultimately created to suck you in. Every action you take is designed to keep you connected and using more. Like all things in life, technology needs to be used in moderation. Nothing can replace the importance of real-life social interaction, and putting our technology away can help encourage that.

There have been many studies that show that too much technology can cause problems. Consider these facts:

  • Young people who are heavy technology users have a higher risk of sleep disturbances and mental health issues.
  • The presence of a smartphone or tablet is distracting enough to disrupt your performance on mental tasks.
  • Browsing with devices like smartphones, tablets and e-readers at bedtime disrupts sleep.
  • If you’re looking to cut down on your technology, here are some apps you can use to disconnect:

#1  Offtime

Offtime tells you exactly how much time you have been spending on every app. It also lets you put your phone in a do not disturb mode and allows you to customize the settings. If you need to make exceptions for certain contacts such as work or for family members, they can still get in contact with you.
2. ClearLock. This app allows you to temporarily block distracting apps for the duration of time you choose. Once checked, you cannot change the settings until the time elapses. This app really makes you focus on things in the real world as opposed to the digital world.

 

#2 QualityTime

This app is perfect for those who might be addicted to their smartphones or have a hard time with self control with checking their phones. You can set limits for how much time you want to spend on an app on a daily basis. Once you hit the limit, the app will prompt you a message about it. You can also create custom do-not-disturb profiles for work, home and leisure.

 

#3 Freedom

The Freedom app works for computers, smartphone and tablets and is designed to limiting access to digital distractions. It’s calendar format allows you to input the days and times that you want to take a break from all things digital. It allows you to block websites, apps and the Internet.

 

#4 Bonus: PhoneStack App

Not really an app, but a game you play when you want to keep everyone off their devices when you have real world meetings. It consists of stacking all phones on the table. It is forbidden to touch the devices during the meeting. If someone does, no matter the reason, they will have to face consequences such as paying for dinner for everyone at the table, or doing a set of chores if you’re at home.

 

As I stated before technology is great, but all things should be done in moderation. If you and your family aren’t going to participate in National Day of Unplugging, consider taking gradual steps to cut down on your technology use. For my family, Sunday is the day we chose to disconnect from technology. Whatever you do, make it a family effort and stick to the plan.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site and remote technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com. You can also follow Integral on Facebook.

 


Weekly Tech Talk: Yes! It’s Okay to Snoop on Your Kids

Howdy, Kansas City! It’s time for our weekly tech talk with Burton Kelso of Integral Computer Consultants. This week, he’s giving all of us parents permission to snoop. More importantly, however, he’s giving us all ways to keep our kids safe when they’re surfing the web. Check it out!

Weekly Tech Talk: Yes! It's Okay to Snoop on Your Kids

 

Weekly Tech Talk: Yes! It’s Okay to Snoop on Your Kids

 

Parents, let’s face it. It’s your job to make sure your kids are safe from harm offline and online. Many of you struggle with how your kids will react when they find you are snooping on their digital habits and worry how that will affect their relationships with their children. How do I know this? We get calls every week from parents wanting to know what’s going on in their kids digital lives, but they don’t want the child to find out that they are keeping tabs on them. Well, I’m not that parent. When it comes to my kids, I’m like the Gestapo. In today’s digital world, there are too many dangers on the World Wide Web to let your kids use the Internet without some type of supervision. Consider theses facts:

1. 42% of kids admit they have seen online porn. One in 16 have been exposed to hardcore pornography.
2. One in 12 have exchanged messages with sexual content to other people, while one in 25 have sent graphic photos of themselves.
3. 25% of children get away with pretending to be older to get an account online.
4. One in 20 children admitted arranging a secret meeting with someone they met online.
5. Almost three in 10 parents let their kids use the Internet without any restrictions or supervision.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you need to keep up with your kids’ digital lives. So what can you do? There are several things you can do to snoop on your kids.

 

#1 Check Your Child’s Surfing Habits.

If your family still uses a desktop or laptop computer, or if your child has a Smartphone or tablet, the best way to see what your child has been up to is to check the browser history. All web browsers save a record of the sites that have been visited. However, a child could easily delete items from the history, so consider other ways of monitoring your child’s Internet usage.

#2 Put Your Hands On Their Devices on a Regular Basis.

It’s important to keep your hands on your child’s device so you area aware of their digital lifestyle. Keep the family computer in a common area. Take away computers, tablets and Smartphone at night and keep them in your room. Don’t allow your kids to put passwords on any of their devices. You should be able to see what’s going on at any time.

#3 Use Your Router to Snoop.

Depending on your model of router, you can setup it up to monitor your kids Internet habits. You can track what websites they visit, you can block web sites you don’t want them to visit and you shut down Internet access for them completely.

 

#4 Using Software to Monitor Your Child’s Internet Usage

There are several programs you can use to monitor your child digital lifestyle. Here are some of the best tools available to help you monitor and protect your child online.

YouKnowKids

This service provides comprehensive support for Apple and Android Devices. It tracks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as tracking calls and texts. It can also track your child’s location with GPS location services.

NetNanny

NetNanny offers the best content manager out there. It supports Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. It gives you email notifications so you can keep up with what your child is doing.

 

TeenSafe

This app and website also provides you comprehensive coverage of all your kids devices. Like YouKnowKids, it will track social media and calls and texts from smart devices and offers GPS location services.

 

Always remember to teach your kids (and yourself) that privacy is privilege, not a right. It’s important that you kids understand that trust isn’t something that can be taken lightly. In the end, it’s not snooping when you take extra steps to keep your kids safe from the dangers that lurk online, it’s you doing your job as a parent.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


7 Fun & Educational Apps for Kids, Tweens, & Teens

Happy Thursday, Kansas City! We’ve got our tech expert back this week for some great ideas on apps. Burton Kelso from Integral Computer Consultants offers up his top 7 educational apps for kids, tweens, and teens. There are some that we are definitely going to check out. Take a look!

7 Fun & Educational Apps for Kids, Tweens, & Teens // iFamilyKC Blog

7 Fun & Educational Apps for Kids, Tweens, & Teens

 

Parents, there are thousands of apps for Android and Apple iOS smartphones and tablets available for your kids. A lot of these apps offer kids entertainment in what I call ‘garbage time’. Games like Minecraft, Roblox, Lego.com and American Girl Doll web site, can be entertaining for kids, but too much time with these apps is not healthy for them. Recent studies indicate that parents should focus on the quality of the apps your kids are using in order to help them get the most out of the technology they use. Educational apps offer a great mix of learning and entertainment. Out of the thousands of apps which ones should you get? As a parent of two boys I am constantly watching out for the best apps for them to use. Here is my list of educational apps that your kids, tweens and teens will have fun with.

 

#1 PBSKids

Is one of the best apps out there for kids. I love it because it’s completely free and you don’t have to deal with the barrage of ads that normally are included with free apps. There is a ton of content, so kids won’t get bored.

 

#2 Math Bingo

I hate math and I love any app that makes math fun. This great app allows kids to learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, division while entertaining them at a level they can understand.

 

#3 Khan Academy

The Khan Academy is a non profit organization that believes that education should be free to everyone. The app is very easy to use and it’s appropriate for any kid who knows how to read. Kids (and kids) can learn about any subject from math to art. The Khan Academy combines educational videos with practice problems and project assignments.

 

#4 EdX

This app provides college and high school courses from universities online. The best part is they are all free. EdX now has more than 85 global partner institutions. Now anyone can learn anything from the very best teachers.

 

#5 Duolingo

Duolingo provides free interactive foreign-language education in 15 languages. It’s a simple to use app and it’s appropriate for ages 5 to adult. You can earn digital awards and use them to get special content.  Your progress is displayed in a graph form after every lesson.

 

#6 Bitsboard

Bitsboard allows children (and adults) to study almost anything for free across 25 mini-games in one app. The best apps include: A+ Spelling, sight word ninja, memory king, little writer, and story creator.

 

#7 Scratch and Scratch Jr

Scratch is a free app designed by MIT to help kids learn programming. The scratch family of apps allows children to program their own interactive stories and games which allows them to solve problems express themselves on the computer.

 

In recommending these apps it’s always good to remember that even educational apps need limits. Keep Smartphone and tablet usage to 2-4 hours daily. Kids function better when screen time ends before dinner and bedtime. Screentime before bedtime makes it very hard for kids to fall asleep and get the sleep they need to wake up and conquer the day.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, KC Live and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

 


4 Tips to Help Your Family Prepare for Smartphones and Tablets

Howdy, Kansas City! Our society has an abundance of ways to stay connected and entertained. As your kids age, they’re bound to want a smartphone, tablet, or use yours (sigh..). Burton Kelso, a local tech expert, has a few tips to help prepare your family when it comes to all those gadgets. Take a look…

4 Tips to Help Your Family Prepare for Smartphones and Tablets

 

4 Tips to Help Your Family Prepare for
Smartphones and Tablets

 

All children are curious and as my boys aged, they became curious about the smartphone and tablet I use to check e-mail and surf the web. It wasn’t long before I relented and gave them tablets of their own. As a parent, at some point you will be faced with the decision if you should give your child access to technology. While there are definite benefits, there are downsides. So is your kid ready? Are you ready? Here are some things to consider before you give your children access to technology.

 

#1 Do Your Homework.

 

The upside is technology brings big benefits. With access to technology, children gain access to educational apps, chat apps to connect with friends and family and the wealth of information that is on the web. The downside is technology can also give your child access to distracting games and social media apps where sexting and cyberbullying can occur. Take the time to find out what apps your child should use and which ones they need to avoid. Just because your child wants to play with a particular app, doesn’t mean they should. Of course child can still have access to the tools that a smartphone and tablet offer through a computer, but the difference is a mobile devices go with your child everywhere, which means it could put their technology use out of your supervision. If technology is confusing to you, don’t be ashamed. Reach out to someone who is familiar with children and technology to help you make the right choices.

 

#2 Is your child responsible? 

 

Is your child responsible with the technology you have in your home?  Do they turn off electronics when they are done?  Are they responsible enough to put away DVDs when they are dong watching them?  Is your child good about following rules you’ve set in other areas, like television use, homework, and bedtimes? Is your child well organized or absent-minded?  It’s easy to spot the signs once you start looking. If they aren’t, then you need to wait awhile to allow them their own tech devices. My opinion is this: No child under the age of 5 years old should be given access to technology. As far as a smartphone, no child under the age of 13 should have his own smartphone

 

#3 Take Baby steps with Tech. 

 

If you get tired of your children using your tech and you find yourself wanting to purchase a smartphone or tablet for your child, start with something small. Don’t rush out and purchase the most expensive tech out on the market. If the device is ruined, you will have to purchase another device as most companies design mobile technology devices to be replaced rather than to be repaired. We get calls daily from parents who are shocked to learn that the tech device damaged by a child is cheaper to replace than to repair. The average cost of repair for most mobile devices is $200.   I would recommend purchasing a Kurio Smartphone and Tablet. Both devices are modified Android products designed for school age kids. They both have built in parental controls which allows parents to limit access to non kid friendly apps.  The phone has GPS location services allowing you to keep track of your child. Both devices are durable and affordable starting at $99. I recommend staying away from iPad/iPhone devices and Samsung/LG Android devices until your kids are teenagers as they offer very little to no parental controls.

 

#4 Remember to Set Rules.

 

This is a big one. When you make the move to allow technology in the hands of your child, set rules. Make sure that the tablet or phone charges overnight in your bedroom, eliminating the possibility of late-night texting or gaming. Talk about what types of apps are okay to download and how to surf the Internet safely, make sure that they understand who it is OK to communicate with and more importantly, with whom it’s not OK, that they understand what is OK to share online and what is not OK, which pictures are OK to share and which are not.  Finally, if you find you’re struggling to get your child to follow the rules, take the device away until they can prove they are mature enough use it.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, KC Live and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com