Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Protecting teenagers (K2 #77)

Question of the Week 
How do I make sure that my two teenage boys do not venture into inappropriate websites?
— Craig, Thimphu

Answer
Dear Craig,

The Internet is a fantastic invention. Left without supervision, however, curious children can easily venture into dangerous zones either intentionally or accidentally with a few mouse clicks. During the recently-started winter vacation, some children will spend a lot of time glued to the screen. It is therefore important for parents to protect their children especially during these times. Here are a few things that you, as a parent, can do.


First, use a free service called OpenDNS FamilyShield to filter out child-unfriendly websites. OpenDNS also filters out websites which may contain malicious software. The nice thing about this service is that it does not require any software installation. You will need, however, to make a few simple configuration changes to your Windows or Mac computer (or better yet, your home wireless router, if you have one; this will automatically protect all devices connected to the router). To start, visit goo.gl/t32kW5.

You can also install web filtering software on your Windows or Mac computer. One recommended program is K9 Web Protection, available as a free download at www.k9webprotection.com. In addition to filtering out inappropriate websites, the program allows you to block Internet access during specific times, view reports to monitor web access, and more. You will need to get a license, which is free for home users.

Using these defence mechanisms together will increase protection, but nothing is airtight. At some point - either at home or at a friend’s house or perhaps in an Internet cafe - your children will be exposed to inappropriate material. It’s a good idea to have a candid conversation with them before that happens. Cyberbullying, internet safety and adult material are some topics worth talking about.

Enjoy the winter vacation!

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to boaz@thimphutech.com