Internet Safety, Security & Digital Parenting Resources

I recommend these resources that cover Internet safety and security, digital parenting, and online privacy.

Updated May 22, 2020

Disclaimer: I don’t necessarily endorse all the content of every third-party resource listed here.

Some of the links are affiliate links, so if you click one and buy, I receive a small commission. But, you don’t pay any extra! I recommend these because they’re useful, not because of the referral fees. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see Affiliate Disclosure.

Table of Contents (Quick Links)

Click the links below to jump straight to that section on this page.

  1. Software & Tools
    1. Browsers and Browser Extensions
    2. Parental Controls and Internet Filtering Software
    3. Anti-Malware (Antivirus)
  2. Hardware
  3. Video Tutorials
  4. Books
  5. Podcasts
  6. Informational Sources
  7. Internet Security & Privacy Guides

Software & Tools

LastPass: Secure password manager that you can use from any (common) device.

PrivacyTools logo

PrivacyTools: Collection of software and services that protect your privacy. Also links to other resources.

Have I Been Pwned? Get notified if any of your accounts are compromised in a data breach.

IDrive Remote Backup

IDrive: Reliable, inexpensive online backup service compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Allows you to use your own private encryption key to prevent IDrive (or anyone else besides you) from reading your backed up data. 25% discount for going through my link!

Virtual Private Network (VPN): ProtonVPN and Private Internet Access securely tunnel your traffic when you’re on an insecure network (such as public Wi-Fi) so that others on that network can’t see what you’re doing. They don’t keep logs of your activity. Free and paid plans. Learn more about what a VPN is, and how to choose one.

ProtonVPN: Secure and Free VPN Service
Free

ProtonVPN offers secure VPN through an encrypted VPN tunnel, so your passwords and confidential data stay safe, even when you are using public or untrusted Internet connections.


We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Private Internet Access: Anonymous VPN Service
$39.95

Private Internet Access provides state of the art, multi-layered security with advanced privacy protection using VPN tunneling. It helps block unwanted connections, hide your IP address, and defend yourself from data monitoring and eavesdropping.

We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Startpage: Privacy-respecting search engine that delivers Google search results in a private way. The results aren’t quite as good as Google.com, and it lacks some features, but it’s the best alternative I’ve found. Many browsers will let you set Startpage as your default search engine. If yours doesn’t (such as Safari), you can set it to your homepage or the page that new tabs open with.

Browsers and Browser Extensions

Firefox, Brave, and Safari (only available on Apple devices) protect your privacy more than Google Chrome.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials: browser extension that blocks third-party trackers and shows a privacy grade for websites. Available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari.

Parental Controls and Internet Filtering Software

Qustodio lets you block inappropriate content (including porn), control screen time, set time limits on (or block) apps, monitor time spent on social media, view calls and texts, block contacts, and track your child’s location. Available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire.

Net Nanny: Parental Control Software and Website Blocker
$39.99

Net Nanny protects your child against dangerous content and online threats. You can block apps and websites on your child's device, and get peace of mind with the best parental control software on the market.

We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Net Nanny lets you control screen time, block apps, track your child’s location, filter Internet content (including porn), and monitor your child’s online activity. Available for Windows, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire.

What Bark Monitors

Bark monitors 24 platforms (social media, messengers, YouTube, and other apps) for dangerous or inappropriate activity, and alerts you. It also lets you control screen time and filter websites (including porn). Available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Chromebook. 10% discount for going through my link!

See also Circle Home Plus, listed under Hardware below.

Learn how to choose parental controls and Internet filtering software.

Anti-Malware (Antivirus)

Here’s the Windows anti-malware that has the best test results from the independent test labs AV-Comparatives, AV-TEST, Virus Bulletin, and SE Labs. These are in alphabetical order. These are all paid, except for Avast Free Antivirus and AVG Free Antivirus.

Bitdefender’s software has consistently earned high ratings from multiple organizations over the years, and I recommend it.

BitDefender Mobile Security: Protect Your Mobile Devices Against Threats
Free

BitDefender is the best protection for your Android smartphone and tablet. Includes secure VPN for a fast, anonymous, and safe experience while surfing the web.

We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Here’s the Mac anti-malware that has the best test results from the independent test labs AV-Comparatives and AV-TEST. These are in alphabetical order. These are all paid, except for Avast Security for Mac.

Learn more about the best Mac anti-malware, based on independent lab tests.

BitDefender For Mac: Protect Your Device Against Threats
$39.99

BitDefender For Mac gives you protection against Mac malware. Quick to install and light on your computer resources. The only free antivirus that you will ever need.

We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Video Tutorials

Simple Cyber Life logo

Simple Cyber Life is a membership site with Internet safety video tutorials. It’s for parents who want to protect their family online, and is useful for adults protecting themselves, too. It explains the risks your family faces, and tells you specifically how to protect against them. Topics: cyberbullying, identity theft, sextortion, sexual predators, account hacking, fraud, and explicit content. 20% discount if you sign up through my link and enter code 4BMFACHA

Here’s my review of Simple Cyber Life.

Smart Social logo

Smart Social is a membership site with social media safety videos. It teaches students (and their parents) how to stay safe on social media and establish a positive digital reputation. It also makes parents aware of the dangerous ways kids use various apps. Topics: digital reputation, potentially dangerous apps, cyberbullying, parental controls, and screen time.

Hardware

YubiKey: Small device that plugs into a USB port or works wirelessly, which you can use for two-factor authentication. Simpler and stronger than getting codes from an SMS/text message or authentication app. Supported by many sites and apps.

Circle Home Plus: Small network device that includes parental controls and Internet filtering for your entire home network. Lets you filter content of apps and websites, set time limits, track the location of family members, and monitor usage (including browsing history). Works for all devices connected to your home network (phones, computers, tablets, gaming consoles, smart TVs, etc.), plus mobile devices even when outside your home network.

Netgear: High-quality networking equipment (wireless routers, range extenders, etc.). Some devices include parental controls. The company has a good security track record.

Apple: Well-engineered computers, phones, tablets, and other devices. The company has a good security and privacy track record, compared to major competitors.

Books

In order of recommendation:

Firewalls Don't Stop Dragons: A Step-by-Step Guide to Computer Security for Non-Techies
$28.87

Rely on this practical, end-to-end guide on cyber safety and online security written expressly for a non-technical audience. You will have just what you need to protect yourself—step by step, without judgment, and with as little jargon as possible. Just how secure is your computer right now? You probably don't really know. Computers and the Internet have revolutionized the modern world, but if you're like most people, you have no clue how these things work and don't know the real threats.

We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
August 3, 2020 8:09 pm UTC

Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons : A Step-by-Step Guide to Computer Security for Non-Techies by Carey Parker: Expertly addresses a range of security and privacy topics related to computers, phones, networks, Internet usage, communication, and parental controls. Explains concepts in clear, simple terms and with helpful analogies.

Here’s my book review and summary.


Cyber Smart: Five Habits to Protect Your Family, Money, and Identity from Cyber Criminals
$8.22

The rise of new technologies in our lives, which has taken us from powerful mobile phones to fitness trackers and smart appliances in under a decade, has also raised the need for everyone who uses these to protect themselves from cyber scams and hackers.

We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
August 4, 2020 12:12 am UTC

Cyber Smart: Five Habits to Protect Your Family, Money, and Identity from Cyber Criminals by Bart R. McDonough: Bursting with step-by-step advice for everyday individuals to protect their devices, networks, accounts, identities, money, and personal data.

Here’s my book review and summary.


Online Danger: How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from the Evil Side of the Internet
$2.99

The Internet is an informative, fun, and educational resource for the entire family, but it also has its own risks and dangers. From phishing to cyberbullying to identity theft, there are myriad ways you could be harmed online, often with irreparable damage.

We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
August 3, 2020 8:09 pm UTC

Online Danger: How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones From the Evil Side of the Internet by Eric Cole: Practical personal cybersecurity advice. Cole explains not only how to protect yourself, but also how to protect your family, and how to help them protect themselves by teaching them a security and privacy mindset.

Here’s my book review and summary.


Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves
$11.99

Increasingly, identity theft is a fact of life. We might once have hoped to protect ourselves from hackers with airtight passwords and aggressive spam folders, and those are good ideas as far as they go. But the truth is, there are people out there -- a lot of them -- who treat stealing your identity as a full-time job.

We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
August 4, 2020 5:16 am UTC

Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves by Adam Levin: A useful resource on minimizing your risk of identity theft. It covers both theory and practice, teaching you how to have a security and privacy mindset, and also giving specific protective steps to take, online and offline.

Here’s my book review and summary.


The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data
$11.99

Be online without leaving a trace. Your every step online is being tracked and stored, and your identity literally stolen. Big companies and big governments want to know and exploit what you do, and privacy is a luxury few can afford or understand.

We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
August 4, 2020 5:16 am UTC

The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin D. Mitnick: Packed with strategies and tactics for increasing your digital security and privacy. It instills a privacy mindset. Average computer and phone users will likely be overwhelmed; this book is most useful to those whose tech-savviness is above average.

Here’s my book review and summary.

Podcasts

Defending Digital podcast
Defending Digital podcast

Defending Digital: Audio versions of Defending Digital posts

Intego Mac Podcast: Security advice aimed at Apple users, but often relevant to all users

Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons: Explanations of computer security and Internet privacy topics. The first half or so of each episode is news, so skip that if you’re not interested.

WIRED Security: Mostly security and privacy news, often giving advice related to the news

Loose Leaf Security: Computer security advice for the average user

Komando On Demand: General tech podcast that often discusses Internet privacy and scam avoidance

Cyber Security Today: Mostly cybersecurity news, often giving advice related to the news

Here’s my list of Internet safety and digital parenting podcasts, to help you protect your kids online, and teach them to defend themselves.

Informational Sources

Defending Digital email newsletter: Get Defending Digital posts by email

Defending Digital on social media: Get Internet safety, security and digital parenting tips from a variety of sources, via social media

Security Checklist: An educational checklist to improve your security and privacy

Stay Safe Online: Internet safety advice

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.: Internet safety advice

ConnectSafely: Internet safety advice, with a lot of content for parents and kids

Get Safe Online: Internet safety advice

Common Sense Media: Age-based reviews of apps, games, movies, TV, and books

privacytools.io: Collection of privacy-respecting software and services

ThinkPrivacy: Collection of privacy-respecting software and services

Surveillance Self-Defense: Advice and software recommendations focused on communicating privately online

Internet Security & Privacy Guides

Defending Digital Internet Security & Privacy Guides: Step-by-step guides to increasing your digital security and privacy on social media, your phone, and your computer

2 thoughts on “Internet Safety, Security & Digital Parenting Resources”

  1. Again … so that we know it’s current, can you please add a “Last Reviewed” date to this posting.
    Thank you in advance.

    Reply

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