The Internet can be a wonderful tool. It allows us to have access to knowledge at the tip of our fingertips. Anything you want to know is easily found with a simple search. But when it comes to kids, that can be dangerous. Child proofing the computer and blocking certain websites is a must. To protect vulnerable kids and set your mind at ease, you can set up monitoring software and enable parental controls on your computer. While parents can probably rest easy knowing that their kids aren't viewing anything inappropriate or dangerous, close supervision should also be a requirement.
1 Place the computer in a central part of the home, where usage can be closely monitored. Limit time spent on the computer daily. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids older than 2 have no more than 1 to 2 hours of screen time (TV, video games, computer).
2 Use your Internet service provider's parental controls to block assess to inappropriate websites. Go to the "Block Sites" section, typically under "System Preferences" and block domains and keywords you deem unfit for children. In the text box, enter the words or sites separated by commas. (For example: sex, porn) Click "Apply" to save the settings. You will likely need to add sites and words after you see what your child is doing. Social sites, hate sites and forums are examples of the kind of sites you may not know about until your child accesses them.
3 Research and download parental control software. PC Advisor rates Norton Online Family, Windows Live Family Safety, AVG Family Safety, PGSurfer and K9 Web Protection 4.0.296 as their top five free downloadable software choices. Choose one that allows you to control content as well as monitor usage, allowing you to see what sites your child is on and possibly their keystrokes. Follow the software's instructions to block sites and set up the monitoring system.
Items you will need
- Internet access with parental controls
- Blocking software
- Talk to your child about inappropriate sites such as chat forums, pornography sites, violent and hate sites. Instruct them to get an adult immediately if any unsuitable content pops up. Add those sites and keywords to the blocked list immediately.
- Check the software on a regular basis to ensure it is always up to date.
- Parental control apps for smartphones and tablets are becoming more common. Be sure to childproof any Internet-based technology that your child has unsupervised access to.
- Kids can sometimes come across sites that were not added to the blocked list. Monitor their usage closely and add content to the blocked list as necessary.
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