Free software and apps to protect kids online

The internet is a fantastic resource, but if not properly controlled it can be a dangerous place for kids. Fortunately, there’s plenty of freely available software and apps that can help protect your child when online. It should be noted that there is no single solution that will offer 100% protection to all online threats. All of the software listed below should be used in conjunction with education and good communication.

 

Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware software

A computer virus is (usually) a malicious piece of software that tries to automatically spread itself to other systems.

Computer malware (MALicious softWARE) is a more general term that covers unwanted software, of which a virus is an example, along with spyware, adware, ransomware etc

Today most anti-virus software includes malware protection, but dedicated malware software scans for a much broader range of malware. If your kids use a Windows PC it is vital that it has some kind of anti-virus (AV) \ malware software installed.

The vast majority of viruses and malware are targeted at Windows computers and without a decent antivirus program it won’t be long before infection.avast free antivrus

Viruses \ malware are less common on Mac OS & Android devices and virtually non existent on IOS (iPhone, iPad) devices. However, the risk is there and it is still important that these devices are protected.

 

Avast (Free) - Windows PC, Mac OS and Android
Avast Offers effective protection, easy to install and unlike other free AV products rarely prompts to purchase full product.

MalwareBytes (Free) - Windows PC and Mac OS
The best Malware scanner available. Manual scan always free. Constant online scanning trial for 30 days. Run a scan a today and you’re will more than likely find some malware on your computer!

Did you know…CyberShield can greatly reduces the chances of getting a virus by blocking access to website know to have viruses. Blocking access to phishing and malware sites is enabled by default for all CyberShield customers.

 

Password Manager

It’s important that your child makes their password difficult to guess. With advances in technology it has become very easy to hack accounts with dictionary word passwords.

Passwords should be:

1) At least 8 characters
2) A mix of numbers, letters (upper and lower case) and special characters.
3) The same password should not be used for multiple account.

This obviously makes it very difficult to remember all passwords without writing them down or creating a file to store them.Thankfully password managers exist to overcome all the problems of complex passwords.

A password manager will securely store all passwords in the cloud making them accessible from any device. Your child will only need to remember one password for the password manager to have access to all their passwords. Most password managers will automatically create complex passwords for online accounts and enter them automatically when accessing the account.

LastPass (Free) - Windows PC, Mac OS, Android and IOSlastpass logo

The free version of LastPass has all the features that most home users will require. The password manager works with all the main operating systems, desktop and mobile devices. Because LastPass is cloud based passwords are synced across all devices. 

 

CyberShield - All the parental control solutions below provide great protection but require a fair amount of configuration for each device that's to be protected. CyberShield offers similar protection for all devices without any configuration. Simply connect the CyberShield Hub to your existing internet router and connect all devices you want protecting to the CyberShield 'Cyber Safe' network....it's that simple!


Microsoft Family (Free)microsoft family safe

Microsoft Family is a free service from Microsoft that allows parents to control what family members access. The service is available to Windows 10 and Xbox users.

Features include:

- Content restrictions
- Block apps, games
- Screen Time - Schedule times and amount of time
- Reporting – Find out sites your child has visited, the search terms they’ve used.

 

apple parental controls

Apple OSX Parental Controls

Apple doesn’t have a service like Microsoft Family, instead all the parental controls are built into OS X and just need enabling as required. Setting the parent controls if fairly straight forward. 

Open System Preferences > Parental Controls > <unlock> and click the ‘+’ to add a new profile account. Select the new profile from the left menu and configure options as required

 


iPhone \ iPad Parental Controls

As with Mac OS X, parental control for IOS are built-in to the operating system and just need enabling. 

Go to Settings > General > Restrictions > ‘Enable Restrictions’ and enter a passcode. Then under restrictions Apps can be blocked, access to adult material (iTunes, Apps) can be restricted. Control on website access can also be managed, plus loads of other options can configured.


Android Device Parental Controlsfamily link google safe

Google Family Link

Family Link is an app that can be download free from Play store and can be used to control and monitor your child’s activity on an Android device. Android version 7 or later is required for the App to work. The App is linked to the parents Google account from where it can managed

FeaturesApps – Control what apps are availableScreen time - Schedule the amount of screen timeReport – Review activityTracking – Use GPS to locate your child