The Internet can be a wonderful, but scary resource for children. It can be used for homework research, communicating with children their ages, playing age-appropriate games and interacting with others on social networking sites. It is important to be aware of what children are seeing and hearing on the Internet. With a single stroke of a key, a child can be directed to an inappropriate website or interaction.
As a parent, be sure to decide which websites are appropriate. Being involved in your children’s online activity is the best security device there is. Not only is content a problem, but friend requests from strangers that children may accept or the downloading of programs that can wreak havoc on your computer.
Content based web and internet filtering technologies are available that can give parents peace of mind. The easiest to use filtering technologies are DNS and router based, which means that the filtering occurs in your router, so no software or settings need to change on any of the computers. One of the most well known is OpenDNS. There are also software based filtering technologies available which are programs that resides on each computer. An example of this is Netnanny. There are many benefits to using these technologies.
- Filtering Technology
Gives parents the complete visibility and control over their child’s online activity.
- Alerts & Reporting
Advises parents when their child is attempting to view an inappropriate website or is participating in a dangerous or inappropriate online conversation.
- Time Limit Controlling
Gives parents the ability to establish limits and create schedules.
- Profanity Blocking
Allows one to hide vulgar words on approved websites, such as news sites.
- Pornography Blocking
Scans a website for pornography and other mature content and blocks it automatically.
- Cyber Bully Alerting
Alerts parents to cyber bullying or harassment that occurs while children interact with others online by watching for key phrases or indicators of bullying or harassing interaction.
- Instant Message/Chat Room Monitoring
Examines Instant Message content and alerts to the potential predators and other inappropriate behaviors.
- Social Media Monitoring
Allows parental access to a child’s activities on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.
While software can help prevent problems, the ultimate protection is to set simple rules for your children to follow.
- Never reveal personal information such as your name, address, telephone number or school name.
- Never share personal photographs.
- Never respond to threatening email messages.
- Never share usernames or passwords.
Children should understand that social networking sites can be viewed by anyone with access to the Internet, making them a target for scams, cyber bullying and Internet predators.
Taking an active role in children’s Internet activity will help ensure that they benefit from the valuable information it offers without being exposed to any potential dangers. The software above can be configured for both Windows and Mac computers, as well as Android Smartphone devices. Be sure to contact your computer services technician to inquire about which filtering technology would be best for you.