Part 2 – Protecting Yourself and Your Family Digitally

In the first part, we looked at what we need to protect ourselves and our family from when utlising technology in the home.  Lets look at practical steps we can take protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Step 1 | Visit the eSafety Commissioner Website

The Australian Government eSafety Commissioner website is a fantastic tool that everyone should familiarise themselves with.

This website provides information tailored to educators, parents, young people, kids, women, seniors, diverse groups and industry to improve online safety.

Step 2 | Implement Boundaries

Limiting Use of Technology

Only allow technology to be utilised at certain times of the day / week.

Consider ways in which you can reduce reliance on technology and encourage positive interactions in your household.

Only Allow Access of Technology in Communal Areas

Devices don’t need to be used alone in the bedroom. Keep computers, laptops, tablets and phones in communal areas of the house so all use is transparent.

Disable Wi-Fi on a Schedule

Some devices will allow scheduling for Wi-Fi.  Disabling Wi-Fi during sleeping times help with improving habits and preventing harmful content from being accessed.  Remember, nothing good happens at 2am!

Implement Communal Devices

Phones and Tablets with 4G/5G can circumnavigate security measures you put in place on the home network.  Rather than giving children their own phone or tablet, have communal devices that are handed out as required, and are returned when finished.

Step 3 | Hardware Controls

Some modems / routers allow you to enable ‘Content Filtering’.  This feature is designed to block access to malicious, phishing and adult sites.

My personal choice is the Ubiquiti Dream Machine and Dream Machine Pro network controllers, in which you can set network(s) to the following choices:

Work: Blocks explicit, pornographic and malicious domains, whilst setting search engines and YouTube to safe mode. 

Home: Blocks VPNs, explicit, pornographic and malicious domains, whilst setting search engines and YouTube to safe mode. 

Step 4 | Software / Operating System Tools

With an increasing focus on security for software developers, more family and safety tools are being included with software and operating systems.  Check out the following for each of your individual devices:

Microsoft Family Safety

Create a safe space for your kids to explore online. Use the app’s content filtering settings to set healthy boundaries, block inappropriate apps and games, and limit browsing to kid-friendly websites using Microsoft Edge on Xbox, Windows, and Android.

Also includes location sharing to see your children’s live location on a map. 

Check out:

Google Safety Centre

Explore safety features built into Google products, including hardware and software.

Includes Family Safety section focused on enabling parental controls and creating family-friendly experiences. 

If you are using Android devices, Chromebook or using Google Apps on Windows or Apple devices, this is a must visit site:

Apple Families

The Apple Families page highlights features to enable safer experiences for your family when using iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV devices.

Set usage limits, track app usage, restrict access to apps on the app store, restrict who your children can communicate with on their devices, enable content filtering and manage restrictions around in-app purchasing.

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