When it comes to your kids we browsing habits, what’s the price of safety and security?
Does Apple give Macs enough safety, security, and parental controls for a safe web browsing environment for kids? Or, do you need to fork over some hard earned cash for even more security? Is Safari good enough? Or, can you do better with a different browser?
How Many Ways To Be Safe?
They say it’s better to be safe than sorry. The web can be a very dangerous and nasty place so school age children need some browser controls. What controls and which browser?
Mac OS X comes with built-in Parental Controls that are easy to setup and use.
Open System Preferences. Select the Plus button to create a new account. Select Manage with Parental Controls.
Enter appropriate information for the child’s account, then click the Open Parental Controls button. This gives you plenty of control options for your child’s use of the Mac.
Are these controls enough for a safe browsing experience for children? The Apps tab lets you determine which apps can be used by your child. The Web tab sets specific controls on Safari, but does not provide a list of do-not-view sites.
The People tab limits communication via Mail or iChat to specific contacts. Time Limits sets specific days and times when the Mac can be used. Setting those controls and limiting your child’s use of the Mac can be beneficial.
Enter The Browser
Children today have many ways to communicate with friends. Browser-based email. Email. iChat. Facebook. Twitter. And a dozen other ways. So, why is the focus on the browser? Because that’s where the money is.
We’ve looked at BumperCar and GiddyUp, two Mac browsers that offer more granular parental controls than Apple provides in Safari.
Another pricey kids browser environment is KiDSBrowse, a cross platform, Mac and PC browser which is heavy on the fear mongering and buy me attitude as opposed to the justifiable Big Brother attitude fostered by BumperCar and GiddyUp.
The #1 Kid safe web browser available! Let KiDSBrowse protect your children online with secure internet safety features that makes keeping kids safe online both easy and affordable, while giving you peace of mind.
Fair enough. Click the Learn More button on the KiDSBrowse web page and you’re delivered to the Buy Me page. What happened to Learn More?
KiDSBrowse claims to have built-in virus protection and spyware prevention, parental controls, and promises to be kid-friendly. It is. If your kid is very young or very slow.
Settings appear to be more aimed at second grade Mac system administrators than adults trying to protect children. KiDSBrowse comes with big, colorful icons and a very small list of acceptable children’s web sites.
The browser itself is pure pre-school Fisher-Price-like with shades of old-school Soviet Union parameters built in.
I kept looking for more controls, but the idea seems to be to limit the child’s usage to a handful of web sites designed purely for kids and give them nothing else.
So, this is truly a somewhat expensive, very simple kid’s browser—kids as in pre-school to elementary school, as opposed to middle school or high school students, where their online viewing needs and controls are different.
One thing I like about KiDSBrowse for younger users is the full screen mode.
They can’t even click away from the browser so it truly limits online recreation. Back, Forward, Home. That’s it. Even web page ads can be blocked completely.
KiDSBrowse is more than basic. It’s brutally basic. The easiest of all the so-called Kid Safe browsers to set up and use, easily locked down and secured. That’s the price of safety these days.