EXCITING NEW PRODUCT……

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Finally we have a locally developed solution that really is less complicated and therefore a lot more effective.

KidsBlocker has been developed in Australia by three IT savvy dads who searched for a solution for their own families, didn’t find what they wanted, built it, shared it with family &  friends and based on the overwhelming response and requests – launched a new product KidsBlocker!

This month we have completely transitioned FamilyFilter as our product of choice for Australian families.

Based on the feedback from existing users, we’re confident that you will agree that KidsBlocker is the best parental tool currently available.

 

 

KidsBlocker is an easy solution to empower parents

  •  Turn on/off internet access to any device in a home network, from anywhere
  • Provide access schedule for any device
  • Provide internet filtering by device – to protect from inadvertent inappropriate exposure
  • Simple to configure and operate


KidsBlocker users have said:
“My home is calmer now”  “I feel like a better parent”
“You’ve hit the nail on the head with this product”
“We now have the confidence to share the online world”

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Who really needs ‘online boundaries’?

When I was considering what to blog on this morning, it got me wondering how many people actually took the time to read said blogs. This ‘wondering’ comes as we come to the end of our second year in the business, and when it comes to ‘selling’ internet filters for families, it has certainly been interesting seeing the facts behind who actually takes the time to purchase a filter.
We have come to the conclusion that it is similar to buying insurance. One is having to spend money on something that one will hopefully never have to be put into use, but it jolly nice to know is there! The difference being, with filters, and with the internet these days, there is more than a 50% chance that it WILL be needed – this figure conservatively based on the fact that MORE than 50% of the websites out there, are PORN related. Couple this with the social implications and habitual nature of technology and its uses, and our guess is, an internet filter is ABSOLUTELY going to be called upon to swing into action!
SO … as much as I can throw in all the helpful words that will allow this blog to be ‘picked up’ on an internet search, using adwords and all the clever collating of information around our product …like parental control, and web content filtering, internet protection, web filtering, and internet filters … its about those who take action, those who read the research, those who are proactive enough to stand for their family! For their children. For what their children could / will see online. For what habits their children are forming!
And may this be the topic of conversation at your next playgroup. Your the next preschool/kindergarten meeting. The earlier we take up this sort of ‘insurance’ – the healthier our children’s lives will be online!
GO on! Start the conversation!

Formative? Fascinating! Frightening? ~ fff.whatcouldbenext.com?

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Formative? Fascinating! Frightening? fff.whatcouldbenext.com?

The incredible advance in Technology is certainly forming this and the next generation into something that was quite unpredictable when I was a child. The words eBay, emails, iPad, iPhone, texts and even ‘the internet’, certainly were not part of OUR playground conversation! Let alone the competition and the ‘managing’ of these new words … android, blocking, twitter, tumbler, filters, restrictions,facebook, parent control, and who would have thought that a Gumtree was an ACTUAL tree that we were possible sitting under to eat our recess! This world has certainly been, and continues to be formed, by technology! And it is doing so in a fascinating way and pace.
Check out these incredible facts I found on Website Magazine.

1. On eBay, there is an average of $680 worth of transactions every second.
2. Ninety-one percent of all adults have their mobile phone within arm’s reach every hour of every day.
3. There are 6.8 billion people on the planet and 4 billion of them use a mobile phone. Only 3.5 billion of them use a toothbrush.
4. Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, as well as Apple have one not so obvious thing in common – they were all started in a garage.
5. Twenty-five percent of Americans use only a mobile device to use the Internet.
6. Every minute, 100 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube by individual users.
7. There are 271 million mobile subscribers within the United States alone, and numbers are quickly growing.
8. Two hundred and twenty million tons of old computers and other technology devices are trashed in the United States each year.
9. Ninety percent of text messages are read within three minutes of being delivered.
10. Thirty million individuals watch television programming from their mobile phones.
11. The average 21 year old has spent 5,000 hours playing video games, sent 250,000 emails, instant messages, and text messages, and has spent 10,000 hours on a mobile phone alone.
12. The first personal computer was created by Berkeley Enterprises. Affectionately referred to as Simon, it sold for a pricey $300 in 1950.
13. It has been 40 years since the world’s first mobile phone call successfully took place.
14. On average, technology users carry 2.9 devices on them at all times.
15. There are 350 million Snapchat messages sent every day.
16. Since the company’s inception, there have been 144.7 million individual visitors to Facebook, making it the most visited social networking site as of June 2013.
17. RadioShack was one of the first companies to start the personal computer revolution, back in 1970, with its TRS-80.
18. The first mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbart in 1963; it consisted of a hard wooden shell and two clunky metal wheels.
19. Of the 60 billion emails that are sent on a daily basis, 97 percent are considered spam.
20. The first cell phone sold in the United States – the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X – was designed by Rudy Krolopp in April of 1984. It weighed two pounds.
21. Google handles an estimated 1 billion search queries each and every day, releasing almost 200 tons of CO2 per day.
22. There are 500 apps added each day to the Windows Phone Store.
And most importantly…
23. The man known as the Father of Information Theory, Claude Shannon, invented the digital circuit – the foundation of the magic that provides us all access to the Internet today – during his master’s degree program, when he was just 21 years old.

What I find frightening about these facts, is what is coming next! The achievements of the technological age is quite something! There are those who dream, and those who have enough knowledge to know ‘how to dream’. And it’s my passion for families, that has my mind racing midst the talk of these dreams.

Yesterday morning, I was watching a mum running behind a pram carrying a young child. She was forced to stop at the lights and whilst waiting, she reached down, grabbed her phone from the child, pushed a few buttons and then gave it back to the child who continued to play on whichever game she was engrossed in.
I am wondering … are our kids becoming unable to appreciate so much of what is ‘naturally’ surrounding them, as we fill their lives with the ‘whats next’ or ‘whats latest’ …?
And if we are, how is this going to play out, as we dream about this technological world. My guess is, unless we step up, as parents, to help monitor, filter and control some of this exposure, this is not a pretty picture. Family Filter is keen to see parents do just this – we want to encourage and empower them to take action. JOIN US!!!

Losing the art of being alone!

The Art of being Alone ~ Lost forever?

I Ieft my phone at home the other day when I had quite a bit of traveling time. Found myself in quite an interesting place? Found myself feeling quite uncomfortable with my own company!

This is a conversation I had with a good friend; about 50 years of age; mother of many; running a busy little company that keeps her on the run!

The Age last week ran an article last week (October 12) talking about just this fact. For our younger generation, the mere concept is a foregin one, and many will put a great deal of effort into avoiding the notion of being alone. Must have phone. iPad charged up. Computer in bag. Lives will go passed without me ‘knowing’ if they dont connect in to Facebook at least ONCE a day! Photos wont be seen if Instagram or snapchat isn’t at the fingertips. To lose internet, or venture where there is poor signal or, gasp, NO signal, is simply something one doesn’t choose to do! The Age even quotes a recent piece of research in America where college students would give themselves electric shocks rather than be left in an empty room alone!

On the other end of the scale, here in Australia, one in four households are single person dwellings. And yet we too are shown to be less comfortable with being alone than ever before.

‘The experts’ are suggesting that emerging studies are showing that we should be seeking out solitude rather than running from it. Reasons? TO improve our mood, our creativity, our memory and to lower stress and agitation! Sounds good to me!

However we now fight on a battle front for this sort of time. Computers, ipads, phones, and games are just the start of it! We are growing into a culture that tells young people that being single is NOT something to celebrate. One is ‘left on the shelf’ if one doesn’t have a partner. Children are being given iphones and ipads with a selection of games that are possibly NOT helping them find ways to connect with their own self, using their own creative thinking, or even connecting with and embracing solitude. Whilst little, our kids are forming the habits of a lifetime, and if this means that being alone means them and a piece of technology, they will find it hard to have experiences where one is truly alone. I even know of families where their kids are sent to sleep playing games or watching movies on their ipad.

We at family filter are keen to see all parents take internet protection seriously. And this too means setting in place time restrictions on their internet. This allows a natural boundary to be put in place, for the internet simply to switch off, so that technology use is limited. I love that SOME families have put the same internet hours / restrictions for themselves as well as their teenage children! What a great example. Their after 9pm hours are spent together, either watching a movie, sitting chatting around the dinner table, washing up after the meal, playing a game of some sort or even taking an evening walk – alone or together as a family!
The delight of enjoying your own company is that time spent by yourself is a time where there is no need toe be anyone other than yourself! One needs not fill any roles or obligations or do what others want you to do. Aks oneself some great questions: What are my fears, my goals, my shame, my purpose, my regrets, my doubts, my hopes, my joys! What great questions to have to ponder, and really nut out for oneself!

Internet protection has many purposes. Web content filtering is one purpose. Protecting our kids from the dangers of ‘over stimulation’ and an inability to be by oneself, and enjoy ones own company, is another great purpose of Internet protection! DO it ~ it works on so many fronts!

Web – The movie?

‘WEB’ the movie!?

Now although this movie has nothing to do with ‘Charlotte’s’ web, there is a remarkable link that I feel is quite plausible.
Charlotte’s web, is a fictional story telling of a clever and inspired spider who used her ‘web’ to help an ordinary, everyday pig, become ‘seen’ and become ‘special’.

WEB ~ the film, is a Non-fictional story, of how many clever and inspired people use their passion to use the access to the world wide web, to help those who would normally not be ‘seen’ and who certainly are quite invisible to us in the western world!

Now here is a movie that poses some really interesting thinking!
What does it look like for every child on the planet to have a laptop? When the ‘disconnected’ in this world, get online!
It poses the question, “What have we, the first ‘online’ generation, done with this ‘powerful tool’ to help mankind?

I love this question – as so often we are focused on the negative sides of internet access, wanting to control, and restrict, and block harmful websites. Instead, to look at the possibilities that emerge when access is given to those who have never even seen a laptop, or those who have to have the term ‘online’ or ‘google’ explained to them.

It truly opens a whole new world to them. And dare I say ~ to us as well.

I do love it in this movie when the children, who have had one lesson at school on the laptop, take this back to their parents and try and explain it to them! For us – a world away from our desire to direct adults to have ‘internet parental control’ over what our children see. Our push to have internet filtering and protection so that the threats of the ‘www’ are not accessible to our children.

There are so many obstacles for this initiative to flourish, but I love that there are companies of people who are pushing in to see this happen.

For us, the families here in Australia, we have many different obstacles that we still have to push in to, in order for our kids to use this ‘powerful tool’. Web filtering, monitoring our kids online, blocking internet access at different times, filtering the harmful sites that we KNOW we do not wish our kids to stumble across … all these things are still very much part of our world online here in Australia!

See the movie trailer here.
Better still, download the whole movie – well worth a watch.

Fences? Why have them?

Fences.

Why have them?

I recently read an article that applauded the Coalition’s ditching of the internet filtering back in 2013, seeing it as a victory for common sense! Their comment read:
“Grown-ups will keep putting up fences and kids will keep climbing over them. Rather than waste our time and money building a false sense of security, we should use our resources to educate kids about privacy and reputation protection and …” (theaustralian.com.au)

Am not sure what YOU think about this, but we see this as being a slightly naive view of what is ‘available’ for our kids to stumble across whilst online, and the habitual nature of this ‘technical world’.

If this were the general consensus, then are people saying that fences ANYWHERE are a waste of resources? Should schools be unfenced? Our front doors left unlocked? Should we have no gates / fences on our home so our kids can play football ‘free’ on the front lawn … next to the two laned highway!?

Interestingly, I do feel that people misunderstand what is meant by the idea of ‘fences’ when it comes to internet filtering. By definition, fences are usually designed to restrict movement across a boundary, most often being able to ‘see through’. Walls, by definition are usually barriers made from a solid substance blocking vision as well as passage across a boundary. I can appreciate that the notion of filtering being like a ‘wall’, is possibly not a helpful scenario, as this would not encourage our kids to build skills and take ownership of their own viewing. But a filter should be as a gate, or a fence, where it is put in place for the safety of the child, to bring a healthy restriction to the internet’s use, and to stop a child from ‘falling’ into an unsafe place.

If a child grows up knowing there is a safety net in place for him on a computer, and that it is there because he is being loved and cared for, then there develops a beautiful balance of boundaries and nurturing, a recipe for success in any parenting scenario. The times will come when children / teens will feel the need to ‘venture out’, and ‘see through’ the fence, but here, with some sensible ‘filtering’, it would be in a more fitting environment.

Family Filter are so passionate about getting families to install filters EARLY, not waiting till their children are teens! Seems that once a child start walking – there is a need for fences! Why should this be different with technology?

SmartThinking!

Why recreate ‘a wheel’, when you already know ‘one’ that has travelled a great distance, experienced many types of ‘road surfaces’ and been to places that are sometimes both troubled and yet beautiful at the same time.

It’s time I started directing you to some amazing people who have some rich wisdom to share on so many topics that could possibly have bought you to this page … Today I want to call it ‘Smart Thinking!’

Collett Smart is a lady who I admire greatly, as she not only walks the walk with young people in this changing and progressive world, but put of this, she has provided us with some great resources to help us negate this journey of ‘parenthood’ and living as a healthy family in a sometimes, not so healthy world! Allow me to give you a few words / headings that will motivated you and direct you to her website of resources:

Parents are having much farther reaching effects than they know.
You are worth more than the sum total of your ‘likes’
Changing negative thinking patterns
How much time should our kids be on ‘screen’
Empowering parents to nurture Resilience in our kids
Supporting teens with depression
ADHD is still a 4 letter word.

These are some of Collett’s ‘features’ at this moment on her webpage.
DO visit it, as, after 20 years in the game, she is a well travelled ‘wheel’, worth connecting to!

Her website is www.collettsmart.com

Take a look!

 

Classifying Music Videos

Do you remember when the ratings on TV shows first came out? Back in 1970, a newly formed classification system named Australian Classification Board was established to rate all films, and later in 1994, all video games.

Back then it looked like this:

G for General Exhibition
NRC Not Recommended for Children (this later became PG)
M for Mature Audiences
R for Restricted Exhibition (this became R18+)

In 1993 they added the MA15+ rating, as they saw the need to screen the content that was too strong for the M rating.

The aim, back in the ‘70s (and to the present day) was to help consumers make choices about what they read, view or play. There are six classifiable elements for films: themes (rape, suicide, racism, etc.), violence (the level of violence and how threatening it is in its context), sex (intercourse and references to sex), language (the level of coarse language), drug use (the use of, and references to, drugs) and nudity (the explicitness of nudity).

The question, which is being asked, both here in Australia AND more publicly in the UK, is, when are the music videos, which are now viewed more and more online, (through social media avenues, youtube, etc), going to come under some governance and ratings? Other countries such as France and South Korea already have this classification set in place.

I tend to agree with the author, Paul Chai, of an article where he suggests, “The raunchy music vid is not a new plague out to wreak havoc on the younger generation but over the course of a few pop songs via YouTube it is almost numbing the amount of female grinding, juddering and pole caressing that is going on.” Having asked some of my older children and their friends, they seem to not even see this as an issue – evidence that they possibly have been numbed to what they have seen over their years?

In October, the UK’s Prime Minister is proposing that all music videos will be subject to a similar classification system as films and games have, in an attempt to protect children from ‘graphic content’.

Hoping that Australia too, can take note, and see that this generation of children are now not simply sitting in front of a TV screen, or a games screen, or going to the movies. But that these children are now of the ‘mobile’ generation – and their viewing is portable, and they are accessing a field of material that is, at this point, ‘out there and unregulated’.

Ultimately though, as with films on TV, we as parents are the BEST source of rating and boundary drawing, however, in this world of mobile technology, we cannot be everywhere, all the time!

PS. And DO check your ‘Safety Search’ on Youtube is ON – on a regular basis! I again found mine OFF for some crazy reason – and the clips that came up on my search – were certainly not ‘rated’ G!

When is porn OK?

OK not OK

Such an interesting conversation to have with ones’ over 18 year old ‘kids’!
According to the ‘statistics’ – anyone over 18 in 2014 are from the GEN Y era – and, again, according to reports, “Gen Ys are now all officially over the age of consent: every single one of them can vote, get drunk and the majority tell us about it in gory detail on Facebook. (Sigh.)”

http://www.smh.com.au/national/generation-next-20140728-3coag.html#ixzz3AzMXeLEs

But how does this conversation about ‘porn’ sit with this generation?

From where I sit, as a baby boomer, about to hit that ‘special age’ of 50, my opinions seem to differ greatly to the Gen Y’s and I am wanting to ask the questions; WHY is this happening, WHAT is important here, and WHERE is this going?

In answer to the WHY: The entertainment industry, the media and the advancement of technology, seem to be obvious answers to this question. The availability of pornographic material, and the dumbing down of acceptance and the ramping up of its content, has totally changed this whole conversation. Take simply an episode of Friends, a sitcom that the Gen Y’s have grown up with. There seems to be an attitude of ‘of course it’s something everyone views’. The media too, over the years, seem to have changed its reporting of pornographic issues, in that it is now actually ‘news’ and part of the ‘everyday’ reporting. And of course with the ever increasing ‘mobile technology’, one can hear/read reports, access porn, AND watch episodes of Friends, whilst traveling home on the train!

WHAT is important here? Do young people know how much this sort of ‘viewing’ changes their attitude to the relationships they may already have, will have and hopefully will continue to have, in their lifetime? Porn affects how one views ourselves AND others, and what expectations we have of ourselves and others. Are we seeing people honouring each other in these moments? I dont think so. Is this what loving each other is really about? I am certain this is not so. What is happening in the dark, is it OK in the light? I cannot imagine so. Therefore, I do wonder, if all that is GOOD about enjoying each others bodies in a relationship, is being warn away?

WHERE is this going? Unless those with, what will seem like ‘old fashion’ values and integrity, bring this conversation to the table, I wonder if this will simply slip, over the generations, into a place of acceptance and moral bankruptcy?

This is not an easy topic. This may also not be a super easy thing to do, but I want to encourage us all, (me included) to have the conversations with our GEN Y’s over the dinner table. Find out what they think. Ask the difficult questions about their relationships? It’s an investment in their future.

And for those with Gen Z’s – also known as “iGen”, “GenTech”, even the ‘Digital Natives’, (those born between 1995 and, by some reckoning, as late as 2020), we here at Family Filter want to encourage you to stand for your kids, and put the boundaries in place on your technologies, so your kids get to enjoy being kids, and allow YOU to set the values in your family that YOU wish to see shine in your children’s lives.

Just my opinion?