Internet Safety and Parental Controls

Jan 18, 2010

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Internet safety has always been at the forefront of ContentWatch's mantra. But while technology can help ensure a safe online experience, communication, education and good parenting are truly the keys to their safety.  In other words, involved parents are the foundation.

Net Nanny has provided parents with Ten Internet Safety Tips to help protect your family online.  While you can view all ten here, I'd like to expand on three of them. 

  1. Install an Internet filter or family safety software - Ok I know I'm a little biased, but just the idea of having a filter installed will make your kids behave more appropriately online. Internet filters are also great at preventing those accidental clicks that would normally open a hundred porn pop-ups.  Don't forget how helpful filters are with unruly teens and inappropriate Instant Messaging (IM); or if they post the occasional inappropriate pictures on FaceBook. You wouldn't race a motorcycle without a helmet right? (RIGHT?) Well, don't leave you kids alone on the Internet without a safety net.

  2. Teach children what to do if they encounter pornography on a home or public computer, such as at a school or a library — A lot of parents decide to install Parental Control Software after an incident has occurred.  Being proactive is the smart thing to do, but in the meantime it's important to teach your children what to do if they accidentally stumble on something inappropriate.  Most tech-savvy teens can figure out what to do, but for those that don't, you should give them something easy to remember.  Stop, OFF, and GO.  It's kinda like STOP, DROP and ROLL.  Tell them to STOP what they are doing, turn OFF the monitor, and GO grab an adult.

  3. Set specific Internet guidelines for your children to live by and consistently enforce consequences if they are not being followed — After you've installed Net Nanny, give your kids some freedom and don't be so restrictive.  If they break the rules (and Net Nanny will tell you if they try) you can tighten the reins a little. For example set a few categories to “Warn—this will let your kids make intelligent decisions and give them some freedom. If they continue past an obvious warning, you can change it to “Block and be more restrictive.  You can do this with time restrictions as well.  If you give them 2 hours a day on the computer, but they use 3, simply set Net Nanny to enforce the time restrictions.  Just remember, an Internet filter should be a complimentary tool to your already established house rules.

Here are the rest of the online safety tips:

  1. First educate yourself, then your child.
  2. Teach children the obvious identity rules.
  3. Know the dangers associated with sites your children frequent.
  4. Manage your children's time on the Internet.
  5. Keep computers out of children's bedrooms and in open areas.
  6. Create a relationship with your children that is conducive to open communication.
  7. Understand Internet Privacy Policies as they apply to your child.

And remember—Net Nanny is here to help, but like I said, involved parents are the foundation. Be an involved parent.