My 4 5 year old taught himself how to use YouTube!
The kid can’t spell anything other than his name (and butt, he begged me to teach him how to spell butt), but somehow he’s figured out how to use YouTube for his personal enjoyment.
Only sometimes, things go awry.
Which I only know because, as I was fixing him his breakfast a couple of weeks ago, I was startled into action (and by action I mean stumbling over my own feet and banging the crap outta my hip on the stupid face stupid baby gate we still stupidly have up in our living room) because I heard Mario and Luigi cussing like Italian sailors in my family room.
Sure, sure, it was funny (with their little Italian accents and their funny laughs saying f%ck), especially because at first I thought he was the one doing an insanely awesome Mario and Luigi impression and I was going to rush off and grab my video camera to record it. So I could put it on YouTube. For other children people to accidentally upload until it goes viral.
But it wasn’t.
Which means it was wildly inappropriate viewing material for a preschooler who already doesn’t quite understand exactly how swearing can be wrong when it feels so right. A 5-year old who somehow figured out how to watch videos of other people playing Super Mario on the Wii when his own mother won’t let him play Super Mario on his Wii.
Bloody smarty pants.
Again I was reminded of why I need better parental controls on my devices.
Ones that are tighter. And that work. And that aren’t so friggin’ difficult to disable when I want to search for photos of Channing Tatum shirtless use my devices like the grown up human that I am.
I’ve looked for something like this for ages and I’ve finally found what may just be the perfect solution.
Please meet Cocoon (a company I currently work with because I think they are truly THAT amazing and I want other parents to know they’re out there).
Developed by the digital safety leaders of Virtual World Computing in collaboration with the KlaasKids Foundation (founded by father of kidnap and murder victim Polly Klass), CocoonKids for KlaasKids creates a safe space, a cocoon if you will, for your children to operate within online.
Because it’s not really realistic or expressly beneficial for your children to NEVER go online. Matter of fact, if I want my Dudes to be able to even do their homework they have to go online. Plus, the future of our world is a technology driven one and I want The Dudes to be equipped in every way possible to go out into it one day and apply for college so they can get good jobs at tech firms if they desire. Or even work the all electronic keyboard of a dump truck.
The beauty of this product is that it was made with younger kids in mind (so yeah, your horny 17 year old will probably be able to disable it) so that you can allow even your littlest future geeks to enjoy technology without having to worry about sites tracking them, creepers contacting them, or Mario and Luigi cussing them out!
Because it operates from a parent generated White List (meaning, you, me, and parents like us get to say which sites are safe for our children), kids are only allowed to interact with preapproved sites. Sites that parents actually have taken the time to visit and deem safe.
As per usual, I’m going to be entirely honest with you here: there are few things I am vigilant about. But, keeping The Dudes safe is one of them.
CocoonKids for KlaasKids is a relatively easy way to do that. And, you guys know how much I appreciate easy!
The service is free, it’s easy to install, and because it’s new I (and by I, also mean you of course) get to help create the White List.
Hello empowerment! Good bye creepiness that will give my children the heebie-jeebies for life.
We as parents get to determine which sites are friendly to kids of different ages. So, say Cartoon Network is perfect for your 10 year old, but not really a place you want your 4 year old hanging out, you’d use the white list creation tool to indicate that and they can’t get there.
All it takes is 5 simple steps (the techy, probably more accurate, version can be found here: CocoonKids White List Creation):
1. Sign up for Cocoon here: Get Cocoon.
2. Download this creation file: Cocoon Whitelist File
3. Add the file to your toolbar by clicking and dragging and shaking all about placing it in the toolbar; then follow the onscreen instructions for installing the aforementioned file (feel free to continue to shake).
4. Visit your kids’ favorite online destinations and mark them appropriate using the little tab thingy in the upper right hand side of your screen.
5. Enjoy Internet safety!
I’d love to have all of you help keep kids everywhere stay safe by taking a few minutes to add safe sites kids like to the White List. Help us, help you, help your kids. Help us make this world a better place for you and for me and the entire human race.
Michael Jackson would be so down for this. Or not. Or, um, yeah, forget him.
Let’s just do this thing.