The Internet is an amazing new world for children and adults to discover. There are millions and millions of sites available at the touch of the mouse. Kids can find educational sites to help them with their homework, or supplement information they have learned at school. Children can discover entertainment in the form of games or chatting with people all over the world. They can even set up their own site to talk to their friends, meet new people, and show the world their personality. While this freedom and list of endless possibilities sounds wonderful to children, it can be overwhelming and a huge source of stress for many parents.
How does a parent even know where to start to keep their child safe on the Internet? A great place to begin is by filtering the sites that the children are allowed to use on the computer whether it is their personal computer or the home computer. But what sites should a parent filter? Here are a few sites that a parent should filter in order to keep their children safe on the Internet.
To keep children safe, a parent should block pornographic sites. There is no reason children would ever need to view sites that have pornographic material. Many times children view these pornographic images by mistake. Filtering pornographic pages will keep children away from material that they could accidentally come upon while researching for an assignment or trying to find games.
Another group of sites to filter are chat rooms. These sites can be very dangerous. Many times children go to chat rooms to meet new people. These new people aren’t always other children looking for new friends too. They can be sexual predators who are looking for children willing to give too much information about who they are, where they live, etc. Even though children may know the rules, that they should not give their full name, address, and other personal information, over time they can begin to feel comfortable and trust their new friend. This can be very dangerous. Filtering chat rooms is an important step to protecting children online.
A filter can block sites that have inappropriate words as well. Children can easily happen upon these sites also. To keep children safe, especially young children, it is important to filter sites that have offensive words. Filtering these sites can block the entire webpage and keep children safe from information that they do not need. Filtering out sites with inappropriate words may seem like an inconvenience when adults are using the computer. But a filter system can have passwords that allow adults to view these sites when they are working on the Internet. Blocking sites with inappropriate language is very important in protecting children while they are on the web.
Sites such as Myspace.com and Facebook.com should be filtered for younger children especially. These sites are safer than regular chat rooms since a person using either of these sites can set their profile to private so it cannot be viewed by anyone except those people that they allow to see it. However, these sites can still contain words and pictures that should not be viewed by young children and should be filtered.
Parents should also know that filtering supplements, but does not replace, parental involvement. Parents should talk to their kids often about what they are doing on the computer, and set rules about what should and shouldn’t be looked at during their children’s web surfing time. But by filtering these sites, parents are many steps closer to keeping their children safe from the vulgar language, inappropriate pictures, and predators that are unfortunately available to their kids.