Please take the time to read and understand these instructions. We want to create a safe surfing experience of kids.
1. Parental Control Software: Install parental control software, which blocks access to certain web sites and thus aids you in the process of protecting your children from seeing things they should not be viewing. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may or may not offer content filtering. Check with them to find out about the options they have available.
Some of the top parental control software providers are as follows.
- ICRAplus (free) - http://www.icra.org/icraplus/
- CyberPatrol - http://www.cyberpatrol.com
- Safety Surf - http://www.safetysurf.com
- Net Nanny - http://www.netnanny.com
Please take your time in setting up the software properly. Most of the software providers will already have a list of web sites inappropriate for your children loaded into the program. That list must be updated regularly. The software will either do this automatically or you may be required to go to the software provider's web site to download updates. Either way, make sure your list of blocked web sites is always up-to-date.
Along with blocking specific web sites, parental control software can also block certain key words which you specify. It can also stop personal information from being sent from your computer. Most programs will have various levels of filtering available, so you can adjust it according to who is using the computer. Again, please take the time to set this software up properly with password restriction before you allow your children to use the computer unsupervised.
2. Check your Internet browser history: Find out which web sites your children access when you are not around by viewing the Internet browser history. In most browsers, this information is stored and can be brought up for review with a simple CTRL+H command or finding the History tab. (It's under Favorites in Internet Explorer and under Go->History in Mozilla Firefox... I'm not sure about other browsers, but it shouldn't be difficult to find.)
3. Communicate with your children: Tell your children about the dangers lurking on the Internet and let them know that the Internet can be both a great educational tool, but also a potential danger zone if they give out personal information about themselves.
Talk to your kids about the following:
- Never give out personal information (i.e. name, address, phone number, etc.) to strangers on the Internet.
- Remind them that people can easily pretend to be someone else online. People online are not always who they claim to be. Child predators can easily choose a different age, gender, etc. to gain the trust of children on the Internet.
- Teach them that they should never meet a new online friend in person without an adult present.
- Tell them to never give out pictures of themselves.
- Teach them to get off the computer immediately and inform you if they see something disturbing or inappropriate on the Internet.
- Let them know that if they encouter something inappropriate online, you will not blame them or punish them. Let them know they can tell you about anything they may see online.
4. Supervise your children: This is, by far, the best way to protect your children. Your computer should not be a babysitter. If at all possible, children should be supervised while they surf the Web.
More web sites containing Internet safety information:
- Kids Get Net Wise - http://kids.getnetwise.org
- Restricted To Adults - http://www.rtalabel.org
Thank you for reading this important information on how to keep your children safe on the Internet!