Parental Controls for the Internet

Recently, the Media Development Authority (MDA) is proposing that Internet Service Provides offer subscribers basic parental control tools for free with the subscription or renewal of Internet access packages. As a Parent, I think think such mandatory controls are a great idea!

The Internet is becoming more and more accessible everyday. With Tablets, Handphones and Notebooks being readily available, most of us, cannot go through a day, without finding out the latest news on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We see this happening on the train, on the buses and even when we are talking to our colleagues. It is therefore not surprising that our children have a inclination towards gadgets and the Internet as well. However, young children have problems discerning right and wrong, and they need our help and input in this area.

I did a little bit of research on our service providers, and found out that they do offer some Parental Controls for families. Presently, service providers like Singtel, are offering Parental Controls to families for a princely sum of $3 per month. However, a discerning parent will realize that you can get most of these services for FREE from the Internet.  One of the reliable programs that offer Parental controls for FREE is K9 Web Protection.  Check out the video to find out how Singtel Parental Controls can help you:

Therefore, it will be great news if Service Providers can offer these services for FREE. In my book, this is definitely a thumbs up idea!

Personally, I think that most Singaporean Parents have heard of Parental Controls, but the problem arises, when most parents are largely “Reactive people”. We only react, when the danger hits closer to home! It must take a situation to hit our homes and loved ones, before we actively go out to install filters on our PCs and mobile devices. Our inaction is built on excuses like “Too difficult to Install”, “I am Computer Illiterate”, “My children will never visit those websites”….and the list goes on.

Currently, as my kids are under 9yo, my primary use of Parental Controls are in the form of time restrictions. I put Passwords on my TV, tablets and other electronic devices. Reason being, I want to restrict Screen Time. We all know that kids need to live a balanced lifestyle, and with the restrictions, they are purposefully encouraged to spend more time interacting with each other and playing in the outdoors.

When parents want to install filters, they may encounter installation problems. Popular programs like YouTube hardly make the “buttons” to turn on Internet Filters easy to spot. For example, this is what a normal YouTube Homepage looks like.

youtube home

If you want to “Turn On” the Internet filters on YouTube, you have to scroll right to the end of the page, and look out for this small little button, to activate “filters”.  Hardly an easy task, if the parent is computer illiterate.

internet filters youtube

Filters do exist, but I think they are a bit low in importance, as companies are “ Placing” these buttons in places which are difficult to spot!

To help Parents, Parental controls need to be given FREE to consumers! Just put it into homes, when Internet Subscriptions are being paid for, and half the battle is won already. The other half of the battle lies with Parents being an actively involved Parent.  No Parental Control is “full proof”, and we still need the old-fashioned touch of a loving parent, to explain the finer points of the Internet to the kids. Let’s get involved and not depend depend on the Internet to bring up our children.

Oh…and before I go, I was interviewed by Channel 8 about my views on these Parenting Controls. (One of the few times, I have seen my name in Mandarin! Smile)

channel 8

With my terrible Mandarin, I think it was a miracle that I made it on Channel 8 News. Hey! I was the guy who got a D7 for “O”  and “A” level Chinese. All I can say was that, my results for Mandarin were terribly consistent. Anyway, after much persuasion and tuition by the Chinese reporter, check out my Video Below:

Edmund Tay on Channel 8

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