Securing kids’ homeschooling laptop the right way

Setting up the homeschooling laptop properly for kids

Never before has it been so important to give children safe access to the Internet as it is now. Photo: Getty Images

By TECHBOOK | 15. January 2021, 18:05

Homeschooling in times of Corona pandemic poses not insignificant risk to learning children. Online classes and digital learning programs require constant access to the Internet – and all the dangers lurking therein. TECHBOOK shows you how to protect the kids.

While it was previously up to parents to decide when and whether to give their children access to a laptop with Internet access, such a device is practically mandatory in the event of a school closure. How else are kids going to participate in online lessons or do interactive learning exercises and watch instructional videos?

However, this makes it even more important to ensure the security of the laptop. In addition, the question arises as to whether the children are allowed to browse the Internet themselves and play a game that has nothing to do with school. Windows and macOS offer parents many possibilities to at least set technical limits for children when using computers.

The right security settings

Both Windows 10 and macOS allow user accounts with lower access rights to be set up in their user settings. Children should generally not be given administrator rights, parents should set these up themselves. With such a restricted account children can only install programs or change settings with parental consent.

Apple makes it easy for users here. Right when setting up the account, users can choose the parental control option. In a list you can then determine by mouse click if and how long internet, app store and games are available.

For those who use Windows 10, Microsoft’s family features allow them to create Microsoft accounts linked to their own accounts for their children. In this way, one gains numerous possibilities to control computer activities- and to intervene if necessary. Advantage here: The settings then apply to any Windows 10 device a child logs on to.

Make the browser childproof

Üou can make browsing the internet safer with the family feature. In Windows 10, after setting up the family account, parents can specify that only age-appropriate content can be found in the Edge browser. The option is in the Microsoft account settings in the tab Family. In macOS, a similar option is located in the system preferences under Screen time.

Apart from that, parents should definitely set another, child-safe search engine in the browser. Alternatives are, for example, blinde-kuh.en and an.

Find the right laptop for homeschooling with TECHBOOK’s buying guide.

Set up time limits and filters

„A time limit is always good if a child is overwhelmed by non-stop engagement with media", says Kristin Langer, media trainer with the action "Look at it! What your child is doing with media". Windows and macOS allow the creation of hourly time periods, in which a user account has access to the computer. This way, bedtimes can be set and enforced even for single days, explains the initiative "".

Windows and macOS also allow you to unlock or block individual programs and games with limited user accounts (macOS) or via family control (Windows 10). Here, for example, parents can specify that their children are only allowed to start word processing and Internet as well as age-appropriate games.

Not everything on the web is suitable for children. While there is no such thing as one hundred percent protection against inappropriate content. But the operating systems offer filtering. macOS, for example, allows parents to create lists of shared websites. Then children can only go to these pages. Such exclusion lists (blacklists) or release lists (whitelists) can also be created in the settings menus of many routers. Certain keywords can also be blocked.

Don’t over-monitor

Both Microsoft’s Family Options and macOS’s account management allow parents a pretty close look at what their kids are doing with the computer: Such as reviewing websites visited, usage times or programs launched. On the market there are also offers from third party developers with similar functions. Media trainer Kristin Langer doesn’t think much of such control: "Tough control is a good basis for conflict-laden disputes," says ministry spokesman David Ermer, she says.

Even the best technical barriers can be overcome. The older children get, the more resourceful they tend to be when it comes to circumventing blocks. So you should not rely too much on this. For Kristin Langer, technology is only half the battle anyway. „Technical solutions are only a support.“ The conversation and especially the understanding of the necessity of some rules do not replace them.

„Sometimes settings like this are mean", admits Langer. Instead of putting up barriers, she advocates always explaining to children why they may be too young for some content. Clear appointments often worked. And: "If you stay in conversation with each other, you don’t need the control", she says. „Because then the children report problems.“

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: