Best apps to keep your kids safe online
HOW much would you be prepared to pay a year to protect your kids from nasty stuff on the internet?
While there are no substitutes for parental supervision, there are some goods apps out there that help monitor what your kids are being exposed to when using their own their phone or tablet.
There's also software programs that work on Windows or Mac desktop computers.
Most can filter out unwanted content, even set time limits on the use of a device or program, and monitor social interactions to flag things like violence, sexting, or bullying.
Of course, smart teenagers can easily work ways around software when using a desktop, so better protection requires filtering secure (HTTPS) traffic. Otherwise teens can use a proxy website to avoid the filters.
Some parents use mobile phone apps to set a regular schedule for internet access, use of social media and even gaming.
One program that has been rated highly by tech experts is Norton Family Parental Control, which can be used on both Windows, Android and iOS devices, but not on Macs.
It promises to help parents know when and where their kids have spent time online, help protect kids' privacy and online reputations as well as offering safe settings for kids' web surfing.
There's a free trial for 30 days while a yearly subscription is around $50 which includes unlimited numbers of devices and people.
One highly rated app for Apple devices is OurPact, which encourages parents and children to agree to time limits on online use.
Parents can remotely block kids' use of apps and the internet on their kids' phones. It costs $US1.99 a month to manage multiple kids and multiple schedules.
Net Nanny is another program which picks up editors choice awards year after year and also runs across multiple devices. Qustodio Parental Control offers tracking of your children's online activity on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, or Kindle devices.
Kaspersky Safe Kids is another more affordable application for parental control and monitoring.
Other apps include Screen Time, Kids Zone, Secure Teen, Kids Place, Kidslox, Mobiclip, and MMGuardian.
It's a good idea to look at parents' reviews themselves when you search on the apps at either Apple's App Store or Google Play for Android.