Since we moved back to Oregon, I have returned to the public school classroom as a substitute teacher. At 14 and nearly 12 years of age, my kids are old enough to be left home alone for several hours at a time on occasion. I have no fears that they may catch the kitchen on fire while trying to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I am confidant they know what to do in the event that they may injure themselves. Even more so, their grandparents are just a couple miles away and check up on them regularly.
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There is an added danger today, however, that my parents did not have to contend with when I was a child and my mother returned to the workforce … the Internet. The digital age brings a wealth of information and conveniences, but we cannot ignore the risks it poses for the family. Most children are exposed to the Internet at the age of 6, and 70% of children see inappropriate content by accident. The average family has 10 Internet-connected devices and counting, creating new security threats and vulnerabilities. However, the existing parental control tools are too complicated to use and expensive with annual subscriptions.
Honestly, the content itself is not the only concern. In our family, the biggest frustration we have is with finding balance. According to a report by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on helping families and educators navigate the world of media and technology, teens in the United States spend about nine hours using media for their enjoyment. The report found that tweens spend about six hours, on average, consuming media.
When my son was younger, he would spend hours playing the piano each day. It was his passion. “I want to become a concert pianist,” he exclaimed regularly. Now that he has discovered YouTube and social media, I have to remind him to practice piano. He now dreams of receiving a silver play button when his subscribers reach 100,000.
While I admire his dedication to his new interest, I am very frustrated. He is sometimes so wrapped up in making his next video or battling against hackers on his Minecraft server that he neglects his other responsibilities. My husband and I have tried numerous strategies to help him find balance and develop better study habits. It is honestly, both time consuming and exhaustive.
Gryphon Wifi Router
When I learned of Gryphon, a powerful yet convenient approach to online safety, I was immediately intrigued. This new WiFi router is just what we have been looking for – an easy to use product that addresses many of our parental concerns about Internet safety and device time management.
Gryphon combines a high-performance WiFi router and a simple-to-use smartphone app, making it easy for parents to manage the connected home from anywhere. Now that I am working part time away from home, this is a huge comfort to us. Using our phones, his father and I can make a few adjustments and limit access to the internet when we are away.
Gryphon Online Safety from Pure Cinema on Vimeo.
Even more, all the security features are built directly within the router itself, eliminating the need to install additional apps on your connected devices. Setting up the Gryphon router takes just three steps and a simple tap with the Gryphon app. As parents, we may grant access to specific websites, restrict internet access during various times of the day (such as during sleep and homework), and monitor our connected home devices like thermostats or cameras to prevent hacking. This can be done on your smartphone from anywhere.
There’s a Gryphon App, Too
The app even features a social collaboration tool, so you can work together with fellow homeschooling parents to create a safer Internet for everyone, by recommending and rating specific websites. Wow!
The people behind Gryphon have worked hard over the last year on the design and the software platform and they have launched a Kickstarter campaign today for the final production of Gryphon. You can go to www.gryphonconnect.com to find out more about the product and the campaign.