Child Internet Safety – How To Keep Kids Safe Online
Guest article | 22 December 2012
How to introduce kids to the Internet…
…and how to keep them safe online!
Over the past 10 years, the Internet has become a place that can appeal to everyone in the family, from young kids to their grandparents. We now have everything you can imagine online, from Facebook to Youtube and from games to education, there really is something for everyone. But the rise of the Internet age has brought a new worry into parents minds (as if there wasn’t enough to worry about already already!), how to introduce kids to the Internet and how to keep them safe online.
Most people these days know the dangers that lurk around the digital corners of the world wide web. Adult material, gambling sites, strangers in chat rooms and violent videos are just a few of the inappropriate and worrying prospects that a child could accidentally be exposed to. The good news is that internet safety is reasonably easy to address, thanks to a range of applications and tools designed with your child’s safety in mind.
Depending on your child’s age, you may have websites in mind that you want to allow them to visit but are worried that, because of the inescapable curiosity of young children, they may click away from that site. It’s the digital equivalent of telling your child not to leave your street or garden when they’re playing outside. There are plenty of sites that are perfect for introducing kids to the internet. PBS Kids, for example is a children’s website full of educational games and videos that include Sesame Street and Curious George. So how do you limit your kids to just sites like this?
The answer is Parental Control Software. With this type of software you can put a block on certain or all websites, only allowing access to a select few. Alternatively, you can use intelligent filtering features to let the software pick and choose what it deems suitable for the selected age range. You can filter or block any web pages that contain profanity, gambling, alcohol, adult material and more. Software like Net Nanny will scan a page before it loads and decide whether it can be viewed or not. Parental Control Software is a great way to introduce kids to the internet worry free and without having to watch exactly what they’re doing 24/7.
Although this is a great introductory strategy, as kids get older they’ll want more and more freedom online. We can all imagine stroppy, young teenagers grunting and shouting because their parents control what they do online. As with everything in life, at some point parents have to exercise a little trust. That being said, when a child is still a child, you may still worry about what they are going to view on the net, and may not think they’re ready to be trusted completely. At this point, you can find some middle ground by using Computer Monitoring Software.
Computer Monitoring Software such as Gecko Monitor (which can also work well in conjunction with Parental Control Software) can be installed on the family computer and will silently monitor and record any user activity on that computer. That means that any website visited, or application used, or message typed will be recorded and logged for you to view at a later time. Whether you want to let your child know they are being monitored or not is up to you, but this type of software is great for checking up on whether home work has been done and to keep an eye on the type of websites that are being visited.
Together, these types of applications can go a long way towards lifting weight of a parents mind when it comes to internet safety. But along with using these program, parents should also educate their kids about the dangers of the internet. Setting strong passwords, only accepting friend requests from friends and never answering emails from people you don’t know, are all subjects that should be addressed before you let children loose online on their own.
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