The Internet is a place where innocence goes to die.
Yes, it's also mankind's greatest repository of collected knowledge--but some of the Internet's knowledge might be a little inappropriate for young minds.
In spite of this, Web browsers have quickly blanketed my home over the past few years. They're on my phone, my TV, my computer, my tablet, and apparently coming soon to my refrigerator. As the father of a 4-year-old, I run our house like digital-era Holden Caulfield, disabling or password-protecting the browser on every gadget I can own.
It's not even the Web's sexual content I'm that worried about at this point. The odds of a four year-old accidentally typing "hardcore porn" into a Google search bar are pretty slim (though we've seen autocorrect do some crazy things). I'm more concerned about the surprising acts of violence and profanity--like an Elmo search on YouTube that shows the little guy being immolated while he dances, or Spongebob Squarepants being set to Scarface dialog.
All this is a long way for me to say that concerned parents should at least know how to set software restrictions on the Web-connected devices they let their kids play with.
How to passcode lock Wi-Fi on Kindle Fire (photos)See all photos
Tablets in particular, have become a popular toy for tots. A relatively inexpensive tablet like the Amazon Kindle Fire can be easily stocked with educational games, children's books, cartoons, and movies--all of which can be used without a connection to the Internet.
To help parents, Amazon provides a feature on the Kindle Fire that allows you to put a password lock on the tablet's Wi-Fi connection. Once locked, the tablet's Web browser, e-mail, and credit card-connected Amazon storefronts are essentially killed off.
Now, the Kindle Fire's parental restrictions are a far cry from the nuanced controls offered in iOS devices, such as the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch (I have a tutorial for those, as well), but at least it strikes at the source of where inappropriate media comes from.
To learn how to enable restrictions on the Kindle Fire, check out the accompanying video and gallery.