Photo by McKaela Lee on Unsplash
As a parent, I understand the fears many parent share of their child being online, especially unsupervised. Luckily for parents, there are a lot of amazing tools you can use to control when and what websites or content your child can see. Content control is covered more extensively in our article here about How To Set Time and Content Restrictions in Microsoft Family. In this article below, we are going over another concern regarding children and modern technology, which is data collection. For the most part, when websites are collecting your data it is harmless, as it’s usually used as a way to save your preferences, and the general way you use a website’s product. In that way, your experience is often bettered by that products use of your data. But there is third party data collection which is also being used by many websites or devices that want information about your behavior for the purposes of marketing directly to you. Think of Faceook and the jeans ad you saw shortly after looking at jeans on your Target app. Where these third party cookies are coming from aren’t always straight forward. In my last example it was probably not the Target app that was sharing this information with Facebook, it was most likely your device. This brings up a question of ethics. Children having their data collected is a concern. When they are old enough to understand the implications of such practices how will they feel about it? How will it shape their experience in the world to have technology always seemingly reading their thoughts? Better as a parent not to have to worry too much about it, which is why I wrote this quick guide.
Choose a Safe Browser like Firefox
Why is Firefox better than Chrome, Edge or Safari for Privacy?
Firefox is proud of its Privacy First policies. In fact, “the latest version of Firefox includes a feature called Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) which is turned on by default for all users worldwide.” This is a quote directly from this Mozilla article regarding Chrome vs Firefox. Security and Privacy are Firefox’s first priority. This is good for you, since it is safer to use by default. Meaning as soon as you download and start using it, you will not have to spend any time adjusting your settings to ensure your child’s privacy is secure.
How do you set it up?
Firefox takes minimal to no set up to start using. Just begin by Downloading the Firefox Browser here: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
Next, after you complete the download and install it on your child’s computer (or your computer and your child’s account), just open it up and start using it!
Then, if you’re interested, we have a tutorial here that walks you through setting up your child’s School Workspace in the Firefox Browser. That tutorial goes over setting up an Open Page to open the browser on, for example your child’s school portal site, and setting up the bookmarks bar to make it easy for your child to get to the school provided websites they need to get to.
Download and use DuckDuckGo as your Search Engine instead of Google
Why wouldn’t I want my child to use Google?
Google search engine has changed the world and how we find quality information, but Google also allows that information and your searches to be used for marketing purposes. DuckDuckGo is a Privacy First Search Engine. It works well, it works a lot better than any other competitor of Google Search, and you can feel safe knowing your child’s search queries and results won’t be collected for third party data collection.
How do I make this Search Engine my child’s default?
You can go to this site: https://duckduckgo.com/ and download the Search Engine right now. Whichever Browser you are using will be the option you are shown to download. That means, if you are wanting to download DuckDuckGo for your child’s Firefox browser, like this tutorial suggests, you will want to go to their Device, log in to their Account, Open the Firefox Browser and go to the dukduckgo.com link to download the Search Engine. One of the best features of DuckDuckGo is that it sets itself as the Default Search Engine of the Browser you are using once you are done downloading it. Yay parent, you don’t have to do more work!