Today, when a significant part of a child’s life is spent in unsupervised online activities, parents need to find additional methods of protection and education. The new multiplatform solution Kaspersky Safe Kids is designed to help parents learn more about their children and take care not only for their kids’ real lives but their virtual lives as well.
According to a survey carried out by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, more than half of parents in South Africa (47%) reported an increase in the number of online threats to their children, and one in three (28%) admitted being powerless to control what their child sees or does on the Internet. Kaspersky Lab experts are sure that protecting children online requires a comprehensive approach: parents should talk to children about online safety, teach them rules to stay safe, and of course use special technological solutions.
“We are happy to provide our users with a tool that helps prevent unpleasant consequences of a child’s use of Internet-connected devices, even if the child knows more about technology than their parents. Kaspersky Safe Kids, which was developed with consideration given to youngsters’ behaviour, allows kids to safely explore the cyber world and expands the boundaries of parental care. Such solutions give parents the power to protect their kids in a smart way, without blocking their activities, and to maintain a dialog with them,” said Alexander Erofeev, Chief Marketing Officer, Kaspersky Lab.
Kaspersky Safe Kids is a freemium product: most of the functionality is offered free of charge, but premium features are available for a fee. Using the solution only requires registering on the My Kaspersky portal, creating a profile for the child, and downloading the application for the required platform (or install it on the child’s device from the App Store). The solution is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
The solution is managed (including the creation of customised rules) via a My Kaspersky account. Rules let parents monitor the amount of time a child uses devices, the applications he or she installs, the web pages he views, his location, and circle of contacts:
* Device Usage. Children often lose track of time when playing on a device. Safe Kids gives parents the ability to specify limits on how long a device can be used or select specific hours on certain days of the week when the child is allowed to stay online. The time management feature can be configured to block the device when the time limit is exceeded (not available for iOS devices) or Safe Kids can inform your child that it is time for him to stop using the device without blocking access.
* Application Usage. Applications may be potentially dangerous, for example, those containing scenes of violence. With Safe Kids, you can restrict the applications that a child can install or open, by both age and category (e.g. games, online stores, entertainment, etc.). Parents can also specify how much time a child can spend on a given application. The ability to restrict application usage by category is only available for Windows, Mac OS X and Android-based devices.
* Web Activity. To prevent a child from coming across something undesirable on the Internet, Safe Kids provides the ability to filter web sites by category, for example, to filter out pages with adult content, obscene language, or with information about drugs. Unwanted sites can also be excluded from search results provided by the popular search engines Google, Yandex, Bing, and Yahoo. Depending on parents’ wishes, potentially dangerous applications or pages can be blocked immediately, or the child can be warned that opening them is not recommended.
* Facebook Activity. On their My Kaspersky account parents can view a summary of a child’s activity on Facebook – changes in the number of friends and his public posts. Such monitoring helps make it possible to promptly notice signs that the child has problems with peers.
* Calls & SMS. An additional option for Android-based devices is statistics on the contacts from whom your child receives phone calls and SMS messages (in order to not violate privacy, the text of the messages is not displayed). The solution also lets parents’ select individual contacts in the settings, for example, suspicious friends. If any of these selected people tries to contact the child, the parent receives a notification.
* Location. This feature lets parents learn where their child is right now and establish a perimeter designating where he is expected to be during certain time periods. If the child leaves the designated area, parents are notified. This feature is only available for Android and iOS when GPS is activated and the device is connected to the Internet.
If a child is faced with a threat, an adult member of the family receives an email and/or a message in the form of push-notification (if the parent version of Safe Kids is installed on the parent’s device). On My Kaspersky, parents can also view summary and detailed statistics about their child’s online activity by day, week or month.
The information received using Safe Kids gives parents the opportunity to talk with their child more specifically, to correct possible mistakes, or intervene at the right time to help and protect.
Kaspersky also offers the following recommendations to parents:
* If your child uses several devices simultaneously, it is best to install a protection solution on each of them.
* Even if your child uses the device at home under your supervision, he or she may encounter undesirable content anyway, so we recommend installing protection solutions on these devices as well.
* Explain to your child why you are doing this. Tell him/her it is important for you and ask them to not ignore the protection solution’s recommendations.
* Do not forget about cyberthreats such as malware and fake websites. The theft of an online game account or the loss of a research paper can stress a child, so online security solutions should be used in addition to parental control tools.