Keeping Kids Safe Online With The CUJO Smart Firewall

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

The internet can be an amazing tool for kids when it comes to learning, finding entertainment, and more. As a parent though, I’m well aware of all the safety issues that come with children exploring the world wide web. From what our children are watching online to cyber bullying, technology has created a whole host of issues that we want to protect our children from.

As much as I try to stay on top of my kids when it comes to online use, I appreciate anything that helps me provide a safe internet experience for them. CUJO, a smart firewall, does just that. Not only does it protect all our devices connected to the WiFi router with business-level internet security (blocking malicious sites, viruses, and hacks) but it lets us control what our kids access online and keeps them safe.

CUJO offers a number of parental control features including:

  • parental controls for all devices
  • internet filter
  • time limits
  • social media monitoring
  • pause internet
  • alerts and reporting
  • remote administration
  • user profiles and settings

My favorite feature is the ability to pause the internet by device. My boys love to watch YouTube videos in their free time and we’ve made it clear that using the internet is a privilege, not a right. If they talk back or otherwise misbehave, they lose electronics for the rest of the day (or week depending on the behavior) and we can simply “pause” their internet so they can’t access it. It can also be paused temporarily so if they are trying to use the phone or tablet before their chores are done we can cut internet on the one device until the chore is done and then give them access again afterwards.

 The CUJO Smart Firewall can be found at Best Buy. What are your favorite features of the CUJO?

How Parents Can Help Keep Kids Safe Online

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

I read an article in the New York Times recently that said the average age children get a cell phone nowadays is 10 years old. Because of this, children have access to the internet at a young age and we need to be more vigilant than ever in protecting our kids from the dangers online. I wanted to share a few ways that parents can help keep their kids and tweens safe as they navigate the digital world.

The first step, I believe, is talking with your child before you give them a cell phone. You can create a contract outlining usage rules that your child most follow in order to receive and keep their cell phone. KidGuard provides great tips in creating this contract with your child. You can read the whole article here but these are the things you’ll want to consider discussing with them:

  • Usage – how much, when and where your child can use their cell
  • Privacy – what your child can, and can’t, share with others (including their name, birthday, location, school and anything else that identifies them)
  • Permissions – clarify what you, as the parent, will have access to
  • Data – if your plan isn’t unlimited you will want to outline how much data your child can use
  • Places – what online sites they can go on and what social media your child can use
  • Consequences – what consequences your child will face if they break the contract in any way

My two boys have their own phones that have access to the internet but no calling or texting capabilities. They mainly use their smartphones to play games, watch YouTube videos about gaming and listen to music. They know what YouTubers they are allowed to watch and which ones they can’t, that they are not allowed to talk or message with anyone online in any way (even if they think they are other kids or even friends they know in real life), and that if they hear a bad word in a video or song they have to change it immediately.

As important as teaching our children about digital safety is, it’s not enough to help our kids stay safe online. Parents still need to monitor their child’s internet use and I don’t think just being “aware” of what our children are doing online is enough. My boys are typically by their father or I when using their phones and I have an idea of what they are doing on their phones but I have discovered that even when they are near us we can’t keep an eye on what they are doing 24/7. For example, back in December we were at gymnastics and Jacob was 2 feet away from me using my phone to play a game. I checked the screen frequently during the time he had it while I talked with other moms. After about 15 minutes or so I asked him for my phone back, only to discover numerous emails from the app store about purchases. He had spent almost $180 of my (real) money buying virtual coins for a game. In 15 minutes! Even though I was aware of what he was doing I obviously wasn’t paying as close attention as I should have been.

I also heard a story a few months ago of younger kids watching YouTube videos that were supposedly a popular kids cartoon episode but someone had edited the video with some horrible things and the little kids were watching it without the parents knowing the content of what was in the video. Just goes to show that as much as we think we are watching them, we are going to miss things unless we are looking over their shoulder the entire time that they are online.

It’s reasons like these that I think having something, like KidGuard, to monitor internet use and phone use is so important. KidGuard helps parents keep their child safe on the internet by giving them the tools to monitor their activities on their various devices.

Parents can view their child’s current location and past whereabouts, call history, images on their camera roll, what apps they are using, texts they have received and sent (even the deleted ones!), browser history and social media accounts.

While I used to think monitoring internet use was all an “invasion of privacy” I realized that the dangers online are real and it’s my job as a parent to protect my children from danger, especially when they are too young to realize the consequences of their actions. KidGuard allows you to grant your children the online independence they want by allowing you to monitor and spot any suspicious activity and proactively protect your children from things like cyber bullying, online predators, and other safety concerns.

How do you keep your kids and tweens safe online? Do you have a contract with rules for use or a monitoring service? If you want to try KidGuard, they are offering a free trial of the service.

Internet Safety Tips For Kids & Teens {Infographic}

The internet is an amazing resource but also one that is full of danger. I love this infographic below because it gives little known facts about what our children face while online and then gives great examples of how we, as parents, can reduce the risks associated with being online.

Illustration source: Lexero Business Litigation Lawyer
Want to add this illustration to your site too? Get the code here.

(Disclosure: I was compensated for posting this infographic.)