As the world continues to become more technologically dependent, kids are spending more and more time surfing the Web. While the Internet is loaded with educational sites available for free to children to learn about the world around them, it is also filled with dangers that could have seriously bad effects on a child. Parents are becoming more and more aware of these dangers, but sometimes feel like they are not computer savvy enough to protect their kids from these dangers. Parents need not despair. Internet filtering programs are available to help, and here are a few tips on loading and using Internet filtering programs to keep children safe online.
Many Internet filtering programs are very user friendly. Some of them simply need to be placed in the disk drive. They will upload onto the computer and then start to filter right away. Others require a little user interaction to get going, but once they are set up seem to function on their own. Luckily for parents, most software that needs to be uploaded onto a computer comes with directions. Simply follow the step-by-step instructions that appear on the computer. The software will soon be loaded and ready to use.
Once the Internet filtering program has been loaded on the computer, the user needs to customize the settings on the filter. For example, many Internet filtering companies give the user the option to filter for language, pornography, instant messaging, email, etc. The user must decide what should be filtered. Then the program will generally send a weekly or even daily report to the user of what has been viewed since the last report. While this may seem like an overwhelming task, users will find step-by-step instructions in the user manual or on the screen to help them through the process.
Another thing parents must consider when installing their Internet filtering program is ensuring that their children will not be able to hack the program and change the settings. Because children are so technologically savvy, opening a program and changing the settings would not be a very difficult task. Parents should ensure that the program is protected with a password or secret question. This will help ensure that children do not change the settings on the Internet filtering program.
Tool vs. Solution
While Internet filtering programs are incredibly helpful tools to help adults monitor and filter what their children are viewing on the Internet, they will likely not be the entire solution. Internet filtering programs should be used together with parent-child interaction. Parents should open up a dialogue with their children about what is appropriate to view online. There should be an understanding about chat rooms, Facebook, Myspace, and blogs. By teaching children what is okay to use online, and then having the Internet filtering program to help ensure children do not stray to inappropriate sites, parents will have a much better chance at finding a solution to keeping their kids safe on the Internet.
The Internet can be a great place for children to get research for homework projects, chat with friends, or learn about the world around them; however, it can also be a dangerous place full of pornography and predators. The best thing a parent can do is to open up a dialog with their children about Internet safety and also ensure that they have a quality Internet filtering program to aid them in monitoring their children online.