I'm always interested when my TV personality friends put their support behind causes or companies, and when ET Canada's Cheryl Hickey let me know that she was the spokesperson for a worthwhile new product called KidsWifi, I immediately wanted to share it with my readers.
Here's how it works: KidsWifi provides your children with their own plug-in-and-go online network (using your home internet connection) which filters, monitors and controls all of their (or their visiting friends') online devices in your home: iPods, tablets, computers, game consoles, it's all covered.
Through the Parents' Dashboard you can set KidsWifi to filter adult and mature content, social networks, gambling, illegal downloads, ads, even Google searches and YouTube videos. It can be automatically turned off at bedtime, and you can even disable it through your phone if you want the kids offline for a period of time. You can also review the sites your kids have visited (by each device); a very helpful feature to spark discussions.
When kids are really young (as Cheryl's are) KidsWifi can be helpful for making sure they don't accidentally stumble upon undesirable content. As children get older, and conversations are ongoing about what's appropriate (in terms of videos, social media use, amount of time online) you can gradually release responsibility as your kids earn it by adjusting the settings. They still maintain some privacy, as activity inside a site or app (e.g., messages sent or received) is not recorded. KidsWifi can handle dozens of devices at once, while devices on your regular ("grown up") network are unaffected, unfiltered and run at regular speed.
At one point we took internet browsing off our younger daughter's iPod, as she loves to look up videos for the songs she hears on the radio, but some of them were just not appropriate. With KidsWifi, the device could be set to run only on YouTube Restricted mode, blocking the more mature content. You can even make personalized exceptions to block or unblock a particular site for the whole network or a specific device (helpful if you have kids of different ages hooked up).
Here's what official spokesperson Cheryl Hickey has to say:
“Take it from me – a busy mom, wife, entrepreneur and host of ET Canada. I can’t monitor my kids’ screen-time 24/7. KidsWifi enables me to provide my kids with the joy of the Internet, with the peace of mind knowing they're safe while surfing and I can set the boundaries of when it is time to shut down and head outside!"
The price for this peace of mind: a one-time cost of $99. Plug it in and go. (There's even a great "Support" page right on their website if you have any technical questions.)
Thanks for sharing this with me Cheryl! I think KidsWifi is going to be a great resource for parents.