In today’s world where the Internet is very much a part of our children’s lives, there are safety and security measures that many parents are looking for. Along with all of the wonderful information that the Internet provides, there is an amount of inappropriate content that many parents do not want their children to be exposed to. Fortunately there are some ways to have technology work for you in protecting your children. Windows Vista is a program that now comes as a standard operating system. Vista allows parents to regulate what their child is able to view and monitors their activity on the Internet.
This much anticipated Microsoft safety feature comes with “Parental Controls.” With Windows Vista, the tools that you need to begin establishing the types of sites you will allow your children to see are already built in. If you choose to do so, Vista allows you not only to limit access to certain sites, but it also allows you to better keep track of what your child is doing when they are online.
The Family Safety section of the Windows Vista operating system (found in the Windows parental controls settings), allows for other software applications. Windows Vista makes it easy to put their parental control settings on any private computer. Furthermore, Vista is convenient because parents do not have to worry about complicated and confusing configuring options. All settings and reconfiguring options are in one place. Even the novice computer user can follow the easy instructions to set up the restrictions that are right for their family.
Not all parents will agree on the same levels of monitoring that they want for their children and this is ok. With Vista you can block or monitor as much or as little as you wish. If you feel like it is an invasion of your child’s privacy to monitor their every move, perhaps you may just want to try blocking certain sites and not monitoring the sites that they are allowed to visit. Reporting the activity on your computer can easily be turned on and off as you like. On the other hand, studies have suggested that when teens know that their Internet activity is being monitored, they are less likely to visit web sites that they know their parents will not approve of. Simply having parental controls with activity reporting may be enough to deter inappropriate contact even if you are not constantly checking the reports.
Here are some examples of the types of controls that are available to you if you have or choose to purchase Vista from Windows. These types of controls can be set up to be as restrictive or liberal as you deem appropriate:
• Time Limits — Parents can set limits as to when their child can use the computer
• Web Restrictions — Using the Vista online service, parents can restrict what types of web sites their children can visit. This service is free if you own Windows Vista. Parents can choose to block content in a number of different ways. Parents can block content by category (i.e. my child cannot go to pornographic sites) or by specific URL addresses (i.e. if you do not what your child managing a MySpace profile simply block their ability to visit www.myspace.com).
• Game Restrictions — Parents can restrict the types of online games that children play based on game ratings. Vista has partnered with Computer Game rating systems from around the world (like the ESRB in North America) to allow for this feature.
• Application Restrictions — Parents can apply limits to what applications the child is allowed to use on the computer.