Apps

Apps

Using the Apps we selected from our initial research, we investigated what features each App has and its functionality. We investigated each Apps terms & conditions along with their privacy policies to see how personal data is stored and used by the App.

We then reviewed the security features and settings each App has and recommended the safety configuration of settings which we feel will reduce online visibility and the user’s footprint making it harder for marketing agencies or product manufacturers to gain access to user’s data, while also reducing the likely hood that online malicious users or predators will be able to find and contact the user.

We concluded this portion of the service by evaluating each App according to our App safety rating system and offering our recommendation as to whether that App should be used by children or not. To view this information, go to the navigation bar at the top of the page and under the drop down menu in Apps click on the app you would like to learn more on.

VPN (Virtual Proxy Network)

Virtual Proxy Networks or VPNs are a relatively new addition to online security but the use of them has exploded in recent years. But what exactly is a VPN? Should you fear them? Should you use one?

A VPN is a service that hides your (Public) IP Address. The reason why this increases security is because an IP Address identifies your local network and your location in the online world. The local network you are using could be your Wi-Fi at home.

To demonstrate how a VPN works, we created a fake scenario. Say that you were at home and you wanted to watch a YouTube video using a VPN. All you need to do is turn on the VPN and the following automatic process occurs:

  1. The user goes on to a YouTube Video.
  2. Your device tells the VPN to get that video from YouTube.
  3. The VPN connects to YouTube and asks them for the video.
  4. The Video is sent from YouTube to the VPN and back to your device.

The reason this is secure is because YouTube thinks that the VPN requested the video, not the user who is at home. YouTube does not know that the VPN sent the video to the user at home and does not know their IP Address which identifies them.

There is a stigma related to the use of VPNs because, due to its anonymous nature, which infers it is used by hackers. Despite this, we disagree with the stigma because VPNs provide an extra layer of security online and are very user friendly. Some VPNs also encrypt your data which means if someone intercepts data sent to or from your VPN it will be near-impossible (Depending on the level of encryption) to decrypt and read. The use of a vpn is becoming increasingly a standard practice in computing.

VPNs not only hides your IP Address, they act as though they replace it. As mentioned above because it is possible to locate a user from the IP Address, if you use a VPN you can not only hide your location but seem as though you are somewhere else. For instance, if you use a VPN while in Ireland, your location could appear to be in Germany or elsewhere to the online world.

Some websites can restrict your access based on your location, a VPN can be used to bypass these restrictions. This is a double-edged sword however and if there is content you do not wish your child to access which you have blocked via a router or firewall; a VPN might allow them to bypass these restrictions.

We feel that while there are potentially a few drawbacks connected with VPN use, our group feels the benefits out-weigh the risks. The ability to hide your child’s location, preventing potentially dangerous Apps from leaking their location to potential malicious users or predators alone merits the use of a VPN.

Should you use a VPN? While it is not strictly necessary in day to day life, we do strongly recommend the use of a VPN. Currently our top recommendation for a VPN would be ProtonVPN. Should you fear a VPN? Absolutely not. A VPN is merely a privacy and security tool.

VPN Software

Proton VPN

  •  Encryption
  • Up to 10 Devices
  • Support available via Subreddits 
  • 395 servers in 32 countries

     

Proton VPN

Nord vpn

  •  Unlimited data
  • Encryption
  • 6 Devices at a time
  • 5111 servers in 60 countries
  • 24/7 assistance
Nord VPN

Hotspot Shield

  • Unlimited data
  • Encryption
  • 5 Devices at a time
  • 2,500+ servers
  • 24/7 tech support
Hotspot Shield

TunnelBear

  •  Unlimited data
  •  Encryption
  • 5 Devices at a time
  • 20+ countries available
  • Dedicated support staff always available
TunnelBear

Windscribe

  •  Unlimited data
  •  Encryption
  • 5 Devices at a time
  • 60+ countries available and 110 cities.
  • Support available via subreddits or tickets
  • 10 Gigabyte per month free plans
Windscribe

parental control content filtering software

Content filtering is an important topic to us, particularly when it comes to parental control. The parental control app we researched in the scope of our project was Google Family-Link. You can find our research Google Family-Link here. You can find Google Family-Link online here. There are however other parental control content filtering software can be useful. Hotline.ie, which is an Irish service to improve internet safety, recommends the following software.

Net Nanny

Net Nanny , is parental control software with internet filtering, screen time management, alerts and reporting and remote access for your computer.

Net Nanny

Pearl Echo Suite

Pearl Echo Suite is a piece of web filtering and cyber security software allowing users to monitor and filter their personal computers including areas such as emails, web surfing file transfers and Skype instant messaging. 

Net Nanny

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