Saturday, August 6, 2011

Parental Controls - Internet

Internet Parental Controls

Parental control software is built in the latest version of Mac OS X and Windows, but can also be purchased as separate programs, which often offer more features and more flexibility. These include programs such as Bsafe Online, Net Nanny and Safe Eyes.

In addition to this kind of parental control software, other things you can do to keep your kids safe online include:

  • putting password protection on the computer, so that you have to log your kids on when they want to use the Internet
  • using parental control software to restrict access to the computer and internet to times when a parent is home and around to supervise what your kids are doing
  • if you use a router to share internet access through the house, then set it up to restrict access to times when a parent is home to supervise, or use your router to set up specific internet application and gaming access to different computers or internet-ready gaming systems
  • set strong privacy settings if your child uses a social networking site, like Facebook, and limit their friends list to people they know
  • putting the computer and other devices that have internet access in a common area of the house, so that you can directly supervise what your kids are doing
  • asking your Internet service provider (ISP) about additional filtering software that may be available to you
  • being aware that without parental controls, kids can hide their tracks by clearing private data from the Internet browser they are using, including the browsing history, cache and cookies
  • reviewing what kind of access to the Internet your kids will have when visiting friends and family members

In addition to general warnings about protecting kids from "the Internet," parents should be aware about some specific things that can cause trouble, including:
  • Illegal File Sharing Programs - through specific programs and sites, such as Gnutella, Bit Torrent and Kazaa, etc., kids illegally download music, movies and other content.
  • Social Network Sites - many kids use these sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, to post personal information and photos, which predators can use to contact your child.
  • IM and Chat - in addition to texting on their cell phones, many kids use Instant Messaging and Chat Rooms (iChat, AOL, Yahoo Messenger, etc.) to talk with their friends, and unfortunately, sometimes predators who pose as kids. Inappropriate chats can be an especially big problem in MMORPGs, where many players are in their twenties and thirties.
  • Video Chat - kids have also started using video chat rooms more and more, including the popular Chatroulette, which matches users with strangers to chart with and is reported to include a lot of people engaged in inappropriate behaviors while on their webcams.
  • Web Videos - kids on the Internet usually quickly find YouTube. Unfortunately, there are plenty of videos on YouTube and other video sites that are not appropriate for kids.

Our world has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades and at speeds sometimes just too darn fast to get a grip on them.  

This is a good start to bring you some what up to date from the FBI A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety  please click on the title and review this publication.  We also recommend working with other parents, law enforcement agencies, schools and other related groups to keep current what is new and what you need to know.

The Internet is like most things in life - there are good guidelines, basic rules, and like other this - we have the good, the bad and the ugly.  We adults need to take charge, set the proper example, teach our young ones what is acceptable behavior and adhere to them. 

Thank you!

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