Online security is a growing problem and a growing concern for many families. We use the Internet every day but need to make sure that our loved ones are protected from others who would want to do us harm and take advantage of us while we are on the Internet. There are many things to consider while choosing how best to protect ourselves. One of the most important aspects of security to many parents is the safety of their children online. It has been reported that one in five children between the ages of ten and seventeen have received a sexual solicitation over the Internet. There are real dangers and there need to be precautions taken to protect ourselves from threats. Child Internet safety software programs are one of the ways that we can make using the computer and the Internet safer for our children and for our whole family. There are some basic things you need to know about them to make the best decisions. Here is a review of what you should know and expect from a good child safety program.
There is a wide variety of products available that fits a wide range of needs and expectations for different families. Some of the most important features that could be part of the software program you choose are: site blockers, activity monitors, chat and IM restrictions, time limit and program access limits, and download controls. These features all have specific benefits and will help you decide what will suit your needs best.
Site blockers — This is obviously one of the most important features of a child safety program because there is so much objectionable material out on the world wide web available at the click of a mouse. Blocking sites that are pornographic or that have associations with hate crimes and other unacceptable behavior is the main objective of most parents. Keeping your children safe from this content is key to keeping them safe online and keeping them from being exposed to inappropriate material while online.
Activity monitors — This is often a very important tool as well. It allows you as a parent to keep track of where your children go while they are on the Internet so that you can take any necessary actions to correct their behavior or review expectations for appropriate use of the computer and Internet. The only way to adjust your system and settings to meet the needs of your family is to know who is doing what when and what things might be slipping through the cracks.
Chat and IM restrictors — This is important for many reasons as well. There are many people who represent themselves as someone they aren’t while they are online, especially while on chat sites and logged into Instant Messaging programs. You don’t want your children setting up appointments with people who they meet online and have never met and you don’t want them giving personal information like names and addresses and schools to people they don’t know. This feature will allow you to see what is happening and make sure that their communication fits in the guidelines you have set.
Time and program access limits — Many parents are also concerned about the amount of time that their children spend using the Internet. Many programs, and even operating systems, require specific logins and will only allow a session to last a certain amount of time. You can also limit what times of the day your children can be logged on. So you can make sure they aren’t skipping school and getting online while you are at work and that they aren’t getting up in the middle of the night to use the computer to do things you don’t want them to.
There are many things to consider with a child Internet safety program and they should all be tailored to fit your needs as a family and as individual children.