Kids use computers a lot earlier and much more nowadays. That means internet, search engines, links, etc. Pages like kids.yahoo.com offer child safe content that can nearly be trusted blindly by parents.
The problem is the browser itself: predefined bookmarks, search boxes, and, of course, the address bar. The normal parent using Windows XP and Internet Explorer 7 encounters lots of difficulties narrowing and controlling their kid's internet access:
- Some components like the address bar cannot be removed without being anything else than a 'normal parent'.
- The Content Advisor does not work:
- A lot of the sites suited for kids do not take part in rating systems like ICRA.
- The white list with the allowed sites is very tiring to fill.
- And if you let your child work under limited user rights (like I do), whitelisted sites are not saved -- with the next start of the browser all changes are forgotten. (Really!)
- Special browsers designed for children cost lots of money (because they work with monthly fees) or are inapplicable: most of them do not control executables. There you go, you have a child friendly browser, but the Internet Explorer can be started right next to it...
- In many families it is still common usage to have all family members working with just one user account. If you want to add another user account for your kid, you suddenly have lots of work: installed software is not visible with the kid' account, or settings get lost, etc.
- And for additional family safe features like time quota control you have to pay again.