As parents become increasingly aware of the dangers children may encounter while surfing the internet, they sometimes worry that relying on one method of internet filtering may not be sufficient to protect their children from online threats. From pornographic sites to online predators, children are bombarded with information far beyond their years every time they log on. Instead, parents are looking for more, different ways to add additional layers of security to improve the security of the internet filtering methods they have at their disposal. Here are some tips for increasing internet security.
Internet filtering software is an excellent tool to help parents keep their children safe while they surf. However, if children are able to access the software control panel and change the settings, the software’s purpose is nullified. With that said, when parents are searching for internet filtering software, they should look for software that is password protected. Password protected software serves dual purposes: first, it requires parents to login when they want to change the filter’s settings and, secondly, it keeps mischievous children from hacking into the software and changing the filter settings.
While some internet filtering programs simply filter general dangers such as mature material or adult sites, others are more sophisticated and can be set up to filter and monitor specific websites, programs and content. When internet filter programs offer more filter options to parents, they are able, in turn, to make the internet safer for their children. These more sophisticated programs can be set up to filter instant messaging, email, websites and content, among other options. Many programs also offer parents the option of having detailed reports on viewed sites and content sent to them daily, weekly or monthly.
Enabling the internet browser’s pop-up blocker will also increase the security of the internet filtering program. Pop-up blockers will keep most advertisements from popping up while children surf the web which is helpful as many of these advertisements include material which is inappropriate for children. Parents should be aware that these settings are easy to change, so they will need to monitor their children to make sure the blocker is not disabled.
High Traffic Area
One way to help ensure that the internet filtering program and the pop-up blocker are functioning properly is to keep the computer in a high traffic area such as the living room or kitchen. Not only will this allow parents to discreetly monitor what their children are viewing and doing online; it will also deter children from trying to explore inappropriate material because other family members will be around. Parents can also make sure children do not change the settings on the internet filter. While this method is not fool-proof, it is another way to increase internet filter security.
It is important that parents and children have an open, honest discussion about internet safety so that children understand the dangers lurking on the internet as most of them do not think that someone would be trying to trick them on the internet. Opening a dialog with children will also give them the opportunity to ask parents questions about the internet and get clarification about what is and isn’t appropriate. Discussions about the internet not only serve as great learning opportunities for both parents and children but they will also make internet filtering more secure.