Parental Controls and Internet Summers

Keeping kids active, involved and safe this summer is a topic on every parent’s mind. We’ve complied suggestions for both sides of that equation – websites that are engaging and appropriate for K-12 AND guidance for parental controls. Have a great summer and hang in there!

Websites for Fun and Safe Summer Learning

Contributed by one of our favorite educators, these websites provide a variety of options for your young learners:

IXLpersonalized practice in all content areas for K-12. Some content is free, $20/month for membership.

Prodigy Free math program for students in grades 1-8. Set up in an engaging game format, so for this reason students love it.

KahootGame used by teachers for review/test practice. Popular with students, however it takes a bit of setup. Many free options, paid is $4-$20/month.

ABCyaGames that review math and language arts skills for students in grades K-6. Some games are just fun, certainly not all bad in the summer months! Free plus premium content for fee.

National Geographic – Kids – Very kids friendly and great content, free. An overlooked resource!

EPIC – Free for 30 days (or totally free if teachers provide a “class code”). Access to 40,000 ebooks for kids of all ages in English and Spanish.

PBS Kids – Great content, Kid-friendly games, videos, etc. Skews toward younger children.

Dave Ramsey Junior – Targeted toward kids ages 3-12, a variety of content that can help your kids get an early start on managing money. Starts at $18.99.

Master Class – For the more mature “child” and their parents, this presents a great opportunity to learn together. $15/month

Parental Controls for Internet Safety

Now that kids are online with some great content, how do you keep them safe and perhaps limit the time they spend online? You’ll need to invest a little time and perhaps some money, but it is time well spent. Your internet provider may have great tools to limit kids’ available content as well as set time limits. Here is information about parental controls for Verizon Fios and Xfinity, other providers have similar information.

This article from Common Sense Media is a great guide to parental controls. The consensus from experts seems to be that parental controls are worth it, and if your kids are old enough you should let them know what you are doing. Nothing can take the place of spending time with your kids on the internet so that you know firsthand what they are doing. Teenagers often find their way around much of what you do, so communication and frequent review are needed!

There are many options depending on what you want to do. You can block specific websites, types of content, impose time limits and report on activity. Once your child has a phone there are apps that monitor text messages, social networks, emails, and other mobile functions, and have to be considered depending on your concerns. GPS trackers can keep you informed about your child’s whereabouts (or at least their phone’s whereabouts!) as long as the phone is turned on.

You can also control the devices on your home network, limit screen time and turn off WiFi. Once your kids are on social media, there are controls but you’ll need your child’s cooperation to keep them turned on.

Managing Risk in the Cyber World

Managing risk is a critical aspect of many parts of life. For our physical safety, many of us are staying behind closed doors now more than ever, but the doors to the internet are also very risky. If you’ve filled out a cybersecurity insurance application or read stories about a security disaster, it might be time to consider a cyber risk assessment.  And a big part of risk assessment is determining what you should do to mitigate and recover from a cyber disaster.

Upcoming Events

CMMC Updates and What You Need to Know

The GovCon Council of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce invites you to join us for the latest installment of the GovCon Series centered around the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. REGISTER

Join Katie Arrington (DoD) and George Bills (Logical Security Services), as they discuss the evolving CMMC ecosystem, timelines for Third party Assessments and CMMC requirements in RFI/RFPs, and general expectations for the next year.

Lunchtime Webinars

If you have 15-30 minutes to spare at lunchtime, we’d love to have you join our monthly lunchtime webinars. Targeted toward end user (translate – not technical!) these are designed to help you conquer technical issues and save time. Upcoming are:

Vacation or Staycation, it’s All About Securing Yourself

Tuesday, July 28 at noon REGISTER
Join Mike Jennings, President of BEI for this overview of staying safe online. Whether you choose to travel this summer or stay close to home, there are steps you can take to secure yourself. Learn some simple ways you to protect your identity and corporate/personal information while home or on the road.

Lunch at desk

Physical Security Solutions

Tuesday, August 25 at noon REGISTER
Join BEI Partner Ken Kocher, President of Force Security, for this informative webinar on physically securing your workplace. Ken secures everything from federal agencies to apartment buildings to banks to office suites. He will discuss layers of physical security from access control to camera systems. Bring your lunch and get ready to be engaged!

Cybersecurity Insurance

Tuesday, September 22 at noon REGISTER
Andrew Beardall, Senior Partner/General Counsel, The Capital Group will give an overview of the risks and considerations involved with selecting a Cybersecurity insurance. Andrew will cover questions such as:

  • when applying for cyber insurance, are there deal breakers or conditions/history that really raise premiums?
  • what are the most critical safe guards insurance providers are looking for?

We record all of the webinars and have posted them for you to watch at your leisure!

Microsoft Excel Tips and Tricks

Our recent webinar covered a long list of tips and is worth watching if you use Excel often. We’ve broken out a few tips here, check out the rest in the video.

Customize the Quick Access Tool Bar

If you spend a lot of time in Excel then there are many functions you repeat over and over. Therefore, taking a few minutes making them easy to reach can be a big time saver.

The Quick Access Tool Bar is located at the top left of the screen. On the right is a small down arrow that exposes many options, including moving it below the ribbon – cutting down on the time to use it!

Take some time to review the commands that you can put there. Furthermore, deciding on the set to use can save lots of time!

Excel Quick Access Tool Bar

Find Duplicate Values

Often finding and deleting duplicate values in a table is the first step toward making data useful. Finding the duplicate values is a good step because it lets you review the duplicates and then decide if removing them makes sense. Here is one way:

1. Select the cells you want to check for duplicates.
2. Then Click Home > Conditional Formatting > Highlight Cells Rules > Duplicate Values.
3. Now the box to the right will appear. Pick the formatting you want to apply to duplicate value and then click OK.
4. Note that the duplicate values are formatted differently that the other data, but before you remove them it is a good idea to copy the original data to another worksheet (or tab) so that you won’t lose any information.
5. At this point you can either sort the data using formatting or manually remove the duplicates (makes sense if this is a small data set) or use “Remove Duplicates” under Data.

The Bottomless Email Inbox

In the world of email it has been said that there are Filers (those who have a folder for everything) and Pilers (those who keep it all on one place and rely on search tools). Regardless of your style, managing email is a chore. Spam filters and rules can help, and Microsoft offers Focused Inbox, which some people like and some hate!

Hey from Basecamp doesn’t seem like its ready for prime time, but the approach is interesting. For $99/year, Hey let’s you decide who can email you. Rather than deciding who to block, you decide who can email you. The first time you receive an email from someone you get a notice at the top of the screen and you decide whether or not you want to receive email from them. Although this gets complicated when there are some emails from a sender you want and some you don’t. This article in the New York Times does a good job of summarizing the problem and provides a review of Hey.

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