Many parents have the fear that their children are doing and seeing things on the Internet that they do not approve of. Ten years ago the online problems that our children and loved ones are faced with now were miniscule. Many people feel like they do not know enough about the Internet to do anything about this problem. Fortunately there are options for even the most novice of computer users.
Windows Vista is a program that now comes standard on many personal computers that allows you to access and set up what are called parental controls. Parental controls allow you to set your own rules concerning what is and is not appropriate for your children to be doing online. Many newer computers have Vista or another filtering program already built in. If you do not have a filtering program you can buy Vista at a computer or office supply store.
In addition to being able to restrict the websites, games and communication that your child sees online, you can actually monitor your child’s every move. Vista has what they call activity reporting. Activity reporting records every website that any user of the computer visits. The report also includes what programs were used so even offline monitoring is possible. This option can be turned on or off as you wish.
After reviewing this report you, the parent, can see if there have been any inappropriate sites visited and can talk to your child about why those sites are unacceptable. You will be able to visit the sites that your children have visited to see for yourself if there is anything there that you would rather they not see. You can add this URL address to your list of filtered websites and prevent your kids from ever seeing that site again. It is important to stay on top of this process. New websites are being created by the minute. You are never going to be completely assured that nothing objectionable will get through a filter that you have set up. This is why regularly monitoring and checking different websites personally is really going to help in your battle to protect your children. Monitoring your child’s computer activities using parental controls in Vista is a way to stop potentially serious problems before they start.
It is important to address the moral issues that some people have against monitoring a child’s online activity. Opponents to Vista feel like constantly spying on their children destroys feelings of trust between parent and child. Others feel like it is important for a child to learn for himself what he should and should not be doing instead of being prevented from making any choice at all. Some parents believe that because we cannot monitor our child on every computer they have access to throughout their lives, that we are hurting our child’s perceptions of what the Internet is really like. Perhaps these children are therefore worse off because they do not know what to do when faced with objectionable opinions and materials.
The choice is yours and the creators of Vista understand that not all people will want the same type of Internet protection. You can choose a variety of parental control options and the degree to which they restrict your child.
Many sad stories can be told of childhoods robbed, relationships destroyed and even personal safety compromised because of Internet activity. Fortunately, you do not have to be another one of those sad stories. There are things that you can do to actively play a role in the education and protection of your child through monitoring their online activity in whatever way you feel most appropriate.