Long lost are the days when parents could rely primarily on movie and music ratings for guidance on what their children could or could not watch and listen to. And while these ratings are still in place, and now apply to TV and video games as well, modern parents must take extra steps to regulate their children’s entertainment.
In today’s online world, children and teenagers have quick and easy access to websites, chat rooms, social media sites and a multitude of other things parents would like to protect them from.
So what can YOU do?
There are many steps to ensure children remain safe on the internet these days. You may choose to apply all of them, or just some of them.
Know ‘What & Where’ your Child Visits, and ‘Who’ they Interact with
You can keep track of the sites which your child visits simply by checking your internet browser’s history. However, this alone does not provide a comprehensive view of all browsing history, as it is easily cleared with a few clicks. Luckily for concerned parents, there are applications specifically designed to track this type of information. It is also very important to caution your child about talking to or sharing personal information with strangers. They need to know that contact information and specific location details should always be kept confidential. Remind them that the rules about not talking to strangers apply to people on the internet as well.
Software for Prevention
Windows Live Family Safety allows you to choose the websites, games, and programs your child can access. You can even specify certain time periods in which they can or cannot use the computer. Hoopah Kidview Computer Explorer is another option. This application self adjusts internet controls based on the age of your child, but is mainly aimed at young children and toddlers, and may be too restrictive for older children.
For older children with more encompassing internet requirements, like school papers and assignments, Net Nanny & K9 Web Protection are ideal choices. They have the same features as the other applications mentioned, but have more precise controls and settings, allowing you to custom tailor your child’s experience.
Change your User Settings
It’s always a good idea to set a limit on downloads but also teach your children to ask your permission before downloading anything. There are many free offers on the internet that can entice a child into downloading software which may contain something malicious that can harm or infect your computer.
You can also create different Windows User Profiles, each with different limits and allowances. This means each time someone logs on, they have to enter a password. For your children’s profile, you may consider not allowing them to download new software or change existing preferences and system settings.