YouTube Safety Options for Families by Leah Nieman


The question I get most often when I’m speaking is, “How can I set up my YouTube account for ‘family friendly’ viewing?” YouTube is a great resource. Here are some YouTube safety options you can use for your family. As always, I recommend talking to your kids about what they view online. Open communication is going to be key.

Set up Safety Mode

Think of Safety Mode as Parental Control for YouTube. Opting in to this setting will help screen out objectionable content you might not want your family to stumble across while enjoying YouTube. Enabling Safety Mode on YouTube automatically enables Google SafeSearch (his is a similar filter for Google Search). Please keep in mind that Safety Mode might not screen out all questionable content. (I give an example in the video below.)

Safety Mode works on your browser. If you use multiple browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE), you’ll need to log in to YouTube and enable Safety Mode for each browser that your family uses. Be sure to log out of your YouTube account after enabling Safety Mode.

Here’s a quick video that will walk you through setting it up in a snap:

Safety Mode is great but, as with any filter, please don’t rely on the filter alone. Instead, be sure that you are talking to your kids about online safety. And remember, they need to be able to come to you if they feel unsafe or have questions.

Create Playlists

Playlists make it easy for you to filter out content that isn’t age appropriate. Remember to begin allowing your kids to have a part in creating their playlists as they get older.

Sara at Happy Brown House has a great video showing how easy it is:

But, what about older kids?

How do you begin guiding kids so you can help them build towards full independence?

1. Watch with your kids. Kids naturally want to share videos they love with their friends and family. Let them know you are interested and invested in their lives.
2. Take the time to watch alone. If you are uncertain about a video or a creator your child has mentioned, take the time to research it. If your concerns are solid, share them with your child.
3. Encourage your child to subscribe or create playlists for their favorite videos and creators. It means they will be notified when new videos are uploaded. And, it means they have to search less to find what they want.
4. Comments, ads, and suggested videos can be clues. Are they helpful, encouraging, and appropriate? If not talk to your child about the fact that they have to constantly weed through them. How does this make them feel? Is this a positive or negative influence in their life?

YouTube can be a great resource for families. We can use it safely. And, in the process, we can guide our kids so they can learn safe guidelines for using YouTube.


iPad Cases that Offer a High Level of Protection

Many iPad cases on the market now provide a reasonable level of protection while maintaining the  benefits and functionality of the slim design and light weight benefits of a tablet device.

There are also numerous cases that provide little or no protection but look great and only last a month or two.

Within a school environment most student owned iPads will take a battering and occasionally get dropped or have excess pressure applied.

I just wanted to share three reasonably priced brands of iPad cases that perform well within a school environment for children who are likely to experience rough use of their device.

Gumdrop cases, Griffin cases  and  Hardcandy cases.



Be Web Smart

Be Web Smart


Be Web Smart offers articles, tips, guidance and reviews for parents who want to keep their families safe and productive online.

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Prevent your child from downloading Kik, Instagram, Keek, Hatr, Snapchat, Tumblr……..

Posted on 09/06/2013 by 

Itunes Rating

Adjust your App Rating restrictions, for iPod, iPad and iPhone to stop your child downloading adult-oriented apps. Many of the Apps that can be purchased from the App Store have age restrictions on them.  Some are 12+ such as Instagram, and Keek others such as Kik and Tumblr are rated 17+.  In the iTunes Store Tumblr, a favourite of teens,  is rated 17+ because it has:  ‘Frequent/Intense Sexual Content or Nudity’   Learn how to restrict apps by rating.  Once set up your child will not be able to download apps over the allowed app rating. My tween daughter, for example, cannot download any app rated 12+.  If she tried the option would be greyed out.  Read more about Kik and App ratings at:

What is Kik? And is Kik okay for Kids? | Be Web Smart.


Open DNS: A free internet filter for ANY device connected to your home network

Being a parent of two children at St Stephen’s School , I have always been concerned about the Internet in our home. My children are involved in internet searches for their school projects and enjoy online games in their spare time. So, since they first began to use the computer, we have used content filtering software to block inappropriate content from entering our home. Some of these programs were free, but these are now unavailable. So for the last two years I have been using OpenDNS.

How does OpenDNS work?

Typically your traffic is routed through DNS servers through your Internet Service Provider (iiNet, Telstra, etc). Instead of using a default DNS server, you can point your wireless router to direct traffic through OpenDNS. Now that OpenDNS is performing the translation of website domain names and IP addresses for all of the traffic in your network, they can refuse to resolve a domain if the website is listed in a blocked category.

OpenDNS will filter all traffic through your wireless or wired network!

How to Set up OpenDNS

1. Sign-up for OpenDNS

Go to the OpenDNS site for Parental Controls.  You can chose between ‘OpenDNS Home’ or ‘OpenDNS Family Shield.’  They are basically the same, however, I chose the OpenDNS Home route because I wanted to be able to customize our filtering more.

Simply by changing the DNS servers in your router, you can block objectionable material automatically. Generally, you can get to your router through a web link: or  (Check your router manual or contact your internet provider)

Going to this IP address will bring up the control panel for your router. Your control panel may or may not have a password to gain access. Check your router’s manual for the default password and change it once you login. You can usually find the manual online. Just type the router’s model number with the word “manual” in a Google search. When in doubt, try the username as “admin” and the password as “password” or blank. You can get specific instructions for your router at the OpenDNS website:

Once you go through the sign-up process and confirm your e-mail address, OpenDNS will automatically detect the home network IP Address.  It is likely in Perth that your home IP address changes (depends on Internet Service Provider,) you may want to get OpenDNSUpdater.

2. Set up filtering levels for Internet Safety

I set up moderate filtering on my account.  You may want to go through the categories to see if you would like to visit sites within a certain category.  For example, if Dad likes to play Lotto, you may want to allow the ‘Gambling’ category.  Or, you could add Lotterywest to the custom domain allowed list.

Check to see your internet filtering is working.

In order to achieve Internet Safety for the home we need to test the web filter.  But how do you test a web filter?  I don’t know any porn sites?  I don’t want to visit any porn sites!!

OpenDNS has two sites you can try to make sure your filter is working.

OpenDNS Welcome Page – This tells you that your OpenDNS is running and configured for that device.

Example Adult Site – – OpenDNS owns this domain.  You can click on the link to make sure that the desired web filters are active.

Blocked Site Image: Your kids can send a message to the “Administrator” to give you a reason why they should be allowed to view the site.  You will get an e-mail from your OpenDNS account regarding the request.

Boundaries of Internet Safety Filtering – Once a device leaves your wireless network it will not have any filtering enabled. Consider installing a filtered web browser app like ‘K9′ on your kids iPad, because you know they will be accessing it at multiple friends houses.  Here’s a link to a tutorial on Internet Safety for Apple mobile devices. (All traffic is filtered when your child is at school and connected to the St Stephen’s wireless network.)


iPad in the Home: 21 Parenting Tips from our Parents

  1. Talk to other parents.  Find out what management strategies work and which ones don’t. Appreciate that you are probably in the same boat as other families.
  2. Best to put rules in place from the very beginning.
  3. BOUNDARIES … but it seriously is a case of having to constantly be on guard and monitor their use.  Be consistent and persistent.
  4. Try and keep use to restricted hours and that will control the socializing and messaging that can go on through the night.
  5. Setup the ability for parents to be able to access and view content on all accounts like iTunes, iMessage, Facebook, Instagram etc.
  6. These devices will be a part of your child’s future. Best to embrace them and work with the students to try and ease them into this new world. Preventing the use of these devices or severely restricting the use will simply disadvantage your child from an education and social point of view. Students need to grow up with the new technology and learn for themselves how to manage the negative aspects of these devices (bullying/predators/adult content).
  7. View technology as an adventure and embark on the journey with your child.
  8. Find how the iPad works and what it can do. Get involved.
  9. Use a Docking station in an open area of the house where iPads are to remain during appropriate times.
  10. Ensure that when homework is being done, all social apps are turned off, or ignored as it is the biggest distraction for completing homework. We have set aside some time each day where we allow our daughter to check her messages and respond if necessary. This has been a trust issue.
  11. iPads are not to be taken into bedrooms.
  12. Have a negotiated deal with your child so that the iPad is used only as a school tool. It belongs to the parents and is made available for use for school work only.
  13. Be careful with credit card use.Do not link one to your child’s iTunes account. Better to use iTunes gift cards.
  14. Ensure you have a protective case. Our expensive cover saved the iPad on one occasion already.
  15. Purchase the iPad at the beginning of the holidays to work out all the issues early.
  16. Use a few games as a reward for good behaviour & restrict/un-install the games as a punishment for bad behaviour. Note you can reinstall apps that have been paid for at any time later for free. Effective behaviour management tool.
  17. Trust your gut. You know your child. Set rules based on what you know of their behaviours.
  18. Embrace change.
  19. Don’t use the iPad as a babysitting device.
  20. Talk with your child – educate yourselves in this technology.  It is not going to go away.
  21. Keep the children off Facebook until at least age 13.