Today’s tech savvy guest is Brittanie Werbel, a full-time mother of two boys and co-founder of KidDesktop. Brittanie and her family live in the Washington DC area,where they enjoy spending time on the computer or at the swimming pool. Brittanie is here today to talk about how she founded her company after realizing the need to safeguard her computer against mishaps like her sons accidentally deleting all of her files and providing a safe place for her children to explore websites.
Ah, summertime. Long days at school are replaced by relaxing days at the pool. Kids freely roaming the neighborhoods on their bikes, only returning home at meal times or to ask for ice cream money… Wait a minute. I just remembered that although that describes my childhood summer experiences, my own kids’ summers are rather different. Kids nowadays – my boys included – still enjoy their summer vacations, but they are much more likely to do so in a camp environment or under the supervision of their parent(s) or another qualified adult.
Similarly, today’s kids have quite the different experience with computers than we had growing up. Remember Logo, 3×5 floppy disks, and the original Apple computers? Ha. These days it seems like anyone whose 3-year-old doesn’t know how to open a web browser or maneuver a mouse is in the minority.
Like many other parents, I struggle with how to let my children BE children who explore and experience the world around them, but do so in a relatively safe environment. A particular hot spot is computer usage for young kids. Most parents want their children to grow up feeling comfortable on a computer, and parents recognize the enormous benefits of kid-friendly websites and computer games. But we’ve also heard horror stories about grade-schoolers visiting whitehouse.com instead of whitehouse.gov while researching the U.S. President, or the toddler who bought a $20,000 piece of construction equipment while her parents slept. What’s a conscientious and non-Luddite parent to do?
My husband and I looked for a Windows replacement program so our kids could play safely on websites we felt comfortable with, but while protecting our own files and computer settings. Not finding anything, we created KidDesktop as a way for our kids to surf educational and fun websites, play computer games we had approved, view pictures on the desktop, and easily interface with a children’s digital camera, all while protecting both them and the computer they were using. We added a customizable YouTube Playlist, and gave kids the ability to change their screen color and their volume as adults do. After the timer function (which visibly counts down remaining minutes and seconds of computer time), my favorite part of KidDesktop is how I can completely customize my boys’ accounts. I choose each and every website, game, or picture file that goes on each child’s Activity Bar, and I choose each and every YouTube video on their YouTube Playlist. (Trust me, don’t search for “Bert & Ernie” videos while your 4-year-sits beside you. While not going into explicit detail, I’ll just say there is some Bert & Ernie humor out there that is NOT appropriate for young children!) I blog about kid-friendly sites and YouTube videos, as does Leticia on Tech Savvy Mama, so parents can always find new and exciting activities to add to their kids’ Activity Bar.
When my kids use KidDesktop, they love having all their stuff in one place, and I love that both they and our computer are safe as they learn and play. So now they have a few more options while recovering from sunburns and over-chlorination, or while relaxing at home on those rainy summer afternoons. Now, if someone else could only invent a way to bring back those care-free summer days I remember…
Brittanie is offering a free license to KidDesktop to one PC using Tech Savvy Mama reader! Just leave a comment telling us what you worry about when your child uses your computer or share a horror story with us. A winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday, June 16.
No promotional consideration was paid for this post.
Thanks for reading Tech Savvy Mama through your feed!
Original post by Tech Savvy Mama