Protecting Your Child Online: A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety

by Parental Control Products

Protecting your child from dangers they face daily is difficult and made more challenging in today’s world because you also have to protect them from the threats lurking on the internet.  Fortunately, several options exist to help ensure the safety of your child when they venture onto the World Wide Web.

The most important first step in ensuring your child’s safety on the internet is explaining to them what they are, and are not, allowed to search for and view.  Establishing verbal rules will help them understand what is expected of them and give them an idea of the consequences if they fail to obey those rules.

The next step in online safety is to investigate the parental controls available from your internet service provider.  These parental controls usually have settings for three different age groups: Teens (13-17), Pre-Teens (10-12), and Young Children (under 9).  Despite the specific age ranges listed, it is still your responsibility as a parent to insure that the category you chose for your child is appropriate for their specific maturity.

A child younger than 9 might not require the installation of internet monitoring software but rules must still be established.  It’s advisable to explore the internet with them and explain to them the types of sites they are allowed to view.  Even if you chose not to install software, you must continue to monitor your child’s activities. Children 7 to 8 year’s old may test how far they can push the established limits before crossing over into trouble.  Should this happen, the computer privileges must be reduced or forbidden completely until the child’s behavior has improved.

Children 9 and older are inherently curious about what fascinating, and often forbidden, information the World Wide Web offers.  Verbal rules will probably not be enough to control children in this age group and the help of the parental controls offered by your internet service provider should be employed.  Set the controls properly to insure that all inappropriate content is blocked.

For children 13 years old and up it becomes even more difficult to establish their safety online.  Most teenagers nowadays have been using computers since grade school and might know more about their inner workings than you, the parent.  With that truth in mind, it becomes increasingly necessary that you re-emphasize the importance of the rules you’ve previously established and insure that your child understands the consequences for disobeying those rules. You must be steadfast in your reviewing of your teen’s online activity as it is reported by your internet service provider.

Should the parental controls offered by your provider prove insufficient, you need to consider installing internet monitoring software.  Your teenager probably won’t appreciate such restrictions but you must remember that it is your responsibility as a parent to keep your children safe from any and all dangers they face in the world today.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean Brady December 4, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I have found that lack of installing proper software onto children\’s machines has been a problem. Most people do not take this action into consideration when giving a computer to a child.

Chris January 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm

It is important for parents to verbally discuss what their kids are doing online. Additionally it’s important that parents educate themselves about what kids are doing in order to understand why their kids want to spend time where they do.

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