Is the Internet you provide your kids with at home and your staff with at the office safe enough? Are they exposed to inappropriate content or contact from others? Are they using it at inappropriate times for inappropriate things?
With over 95% of homes and businesses now accessing the Internet every day, access to information, entertainment and online social media has never been easier. However, how safe is an always on, unfiltered internet connection?
What does the research say?
A study published by Media Me recently showed that although teenagers are consuming over 3 hours a day of social media alone, 60% of parents never monitor their social media use. It went on to report that “15 per cent of teenagers reported being contacted by strangers daily, and nearly 10 per cent said they actively communicated with, or responded to, strangers daily.”
On the business side of things Team Lease World of Work has reported that their study showed a 13% drop in business productivity due to social media alone. In fact, the study showed that people spent more time on social media during work time compared with when they were at home.
So what is the best approach?
Providing some level of protection to those using your Internet is always a good thing and fine tuning the balance of when and what is available can provide peace of mind. Implementing an Internet management tool will allow for monitoring, filtering and limiting the Internet use.
Australian based business WebLimits is one such solution providing for a sophisticated level of control (from $7 per month) going beyond simply blocking the Internet altogether - see www.weblimits.net.au
Using these tools parents can setup a schedule that restricts gaming and social media sites after school when kids need to access the Internet to do homework. However, later on after dinner gaming and social media is accessible. At “lights out” the Internet is completely blocked. Of course on weekends different schedules can be implemented.
Other features for families include “safe search” which stops unwanted google search results appearing for younger kids and “blocked categories” which completely block all sites associated with categories including porn, gambling, malware sites etc.
One critical component is the ability to track all websites visited by the kids (they can’t delete their browsing history from WebLimits) so appropriate discussions can take place and decisions made about future filtering.
Businesses can use WebLimits in different ways to boost productivity and create a safer, more friendly work environment. For example, allowing social media access only during lunch times, blocking inappropriate content including porn, gambling and malware sites and implementing safe searches to ensure staff are not exposed to inappropriate content while in the workplace.
Again, the ability to track the website history for all staff is an important way to understand staff usage of business owned and operated Internet access and have the important discussions around appropriate use of business resources.
WebLimits functions via your Internet modem/router but also functions on mobile phones and 4G connected devices via the installation of the WebLimits App.
Why is this all so important?
Allowing completely open and unfiltered access to the Internet for young families and for staff in the workplace can lead to dysfunctional relationships, loss of productivity, hinder education time, and increase the risk of cyber bullying from strangers. Wikipedia has a great overview of potential risks associated with overuse of the Internet
Taking back control of the Internet you provide to others provides peace of mind that you are providing a powerful tool responsibly. As Stan Lee always said – with great power comes great responsibility!
Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the number of households with children under 15 with Internet access rose to over 96% in 2016-17
Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the number of Australian businesses with Internet access has also passed the 95% online mark.
Media Me - Teen time spend on Internet
Team Lease World of Work - Business productivity loss at 13%
Wikipedia – Psychological effects of Internet use