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Commissioned Post

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that we’re a pretty techy household. Husband and I love our gadgets and Sausage has followed suit – no great surprises there! She’s been using our phones since she was old enough to swipe a screen and her level of proficiency is truly impressive. For her birthday, back in August, Husband and I decided that it was about time that she had her own computer, rather than just using my old netbook, so we invested in a laptop for her.

Obviously, there are rules: she’s only allowed on certain sites and Husband and I monitor how she spends her time. She doesn’t go anywhere near social media as she’s FAR too young, although I know of kids her age with a Facebook page…

She uses her laptop for homework; her school provides her with a subscription to EducationCity, which allows her to do activities and tests designed around the National Curriculum for her age group and she absolutely loves it – I’ve never heard a child ask if they can do homework as much as Sausage does!

Aside from homework, Sausage also uses her laptop to go on the internet. Nick Jr., CBeebies and Cartoon Network are all on her list of favourites, but the National Geographic Kids site is by far her most frequented site!

One thing that Husband and I struggle with is the issue of autonomy. We want Sausage to be able to use her computer independantly, allowing her to learn how to use it and giving her freedom to use the internet as she chooses, but the thought of her stumbling upon a website which is grossly unsuitable is something that makes us very uneasy.

One thing that gives us peace of mind is the use of Parental Control Software, such as Norton Family Premier. This allows us to filter out sites which we wouldn’t want Sausage to view and lets her have the freedom of not having Mum and Dad peering over her shoulder every five minutes.

There are quite a lot of choose from as you all know, so it’s important to choose one that’s not only suitable to your family situation, but also flexible to changing circumstances – kids grow up and so your software need to be flexible to these changes. PR Pro tested 15 of the top web filters a couple weeks ago, which revealed that only three of the filters tested actually block everything a parent using the software would want to safeguard their kids from – read it for yourself here. For everyone already using this filter, you’ll be happy to know that Symantec’s Norton Family and its premium supplement came out on top.

Husband and I are obviously always on hand to keep an eye on her, but being able to do that from a distance benefits us all. We’re real fans of letting kids use technology – I wrote a post a while ago about how getting Sausage a Nintendo DS had improved her language skills and manual dexterity, and now that we know she’s safe on the ‘net, we’re hoping her laptop will also help her to develop in many areas too.

What do you do to keep our kids safe online?