Protecting your children online is just as important as protecting them in the real world. There is no way to tell the difference between people with good intentions and malicious people online, so it is best to block all unknown people and sites. Although no software can replace parental guidance, here is some things you can do to restrict online access for your children.
You should first decide what you feel comfortable with your child seeing online. For example, do you care if your child views a web site about slang terms? Also, you should find a couple of sites that you approve of. It's best to go with popular sites like "NOGGIN" or "NICK JR." Smaller sites have the potential to be purchased by other companies and then the content may change.
Next, you should blockappropriate content. You can do this using third party software or the parental controls that are normally built into your operating system. On Windows OS's it is easy to set up parental controls. Here is a brief overview:
o Set up a standard user account from the control panel
o Also in the control panel, under "User Accounts," click "Set up parental controls"
o Select the account to set parental controls for
From this point, you can choose what sites your child can access, set time limits and days where online access is allowed, games that can be played and numerous other restrictions. It is also important to set up similar restrictions on gaming consoles that allow internet access, such as, Nintendo Wii, PS3, and the XBOX.
Even after you set up parental controls, it is important to monitor online activity. You can do this by checking the web browser's history, installing computer-monitoring software or just by keeping the computer in a public area.
It is very important to make your children aware of the dangers of talking to strangers online. You should put reminders on the computer monitor, such as, "Do not talk to strangers online" or similar messages. Make sure you use a colorful, large font that stands out and will not be ignored.
If you use access restrictions, along with close parental supervision, your children will be much safer online.