Below is an interesting article about protecting kids online. Unlike
other similar articles it is focused to the combination of internet
filters usage with parental supervision.
Tips and programs for protecting kids online.
Kids are logging on to the Internet more than ever before, playing
games, chatting with friends, and getting help with schoolwork. The
Internet has opened up a whole new world for them. However, the online
world, like the real world, is made up of a wide array of people. Most
are decent and respectful, but some may be rude, obnoxious, insulting,
or even mean and exploitative. Areas full of sex, violence, drugs, and
other adult themes are another possible danger for them.
But the fact that crimes are being committed online, however, is not a
reason to avoid using these services. Children need parental
supervision and common-sense advice on how to make their experiences
with the Internet happy, healthy, and productive.
In this article we will show you some necessary tips and essential
tools and tell you how to put them together to make the Internet a
safe place for your child.
There are programs that are available to you called Internet Filtering
programs, which will run in the background on your computer while your
kids are surfing the Internet. These programs filter pornographic and
other offensive content, monitor each surfer's online journeys, block
access to certain web sites and newsgroups, keep kids out of the
shadier chat rooms and log their online activities. There are about
three dozen Internet Filtering programs on the market with different
levels of features from a simple plug-in for Internet Explorer to
server-based solutions for enterprises (employees need control too).
Some of them are subscription based (Cyber Patrol) so you pay every
year; others require a one time fee and include unlimited update
subscriptions (Cyber Sitter, iProtectYou Pro). There are also two
FREE, but yet very effective Internet Filters: iProtectYou Free and
Combining the use of Internet Filters with as much supervision as
possible is the best method of protecting your child online.
Below you will find 11 online safety tips and directions how to apply
them to iProtectYou Free. We choose iProtectYou because it is FREE and
has good capabilities Visit the SoftForYou Web Site to download a free
copy of this program or read the documentation of your favorite
filtering program to find out how these tips can be applied to it.
Tip #1 Put the computer in a visible place in the house
Make sure the computer is in a visible place in the house. Ask
questions. Walk by and check what is on the screen. If your child
quickly closes the screen, this is a red flag and should be
Tip #2 Spend time on the Internet with your children
Go online with your children as often as possible and help them
identify inappropriate communications. Give them a chance to show you
what they have learned or the things they like. Send E-Greetings and
Christmas cards to family and friends or participate in interactive
games together. Ask your children to tell about their cyberspace
friends, just as you would want to know their real-life friends.
Tip #3 Schedule Internet use for your children
Limit young grade-schoolers to 30-60 minutes a few times a week; older
kids may need more frequent access for school projects. This will make
them more responsible in using the Internet. Open iProtectYou Control
Panel, click on the "Main" button on the left panel, then the
"Timeline" button on the right panel. Fill in the "Permitted
Time” list to determine the time interval when Internet access
is allowable or fill in the “Blocked Time” list to set up
the restricted time.
Tip #4 Limit your children to only certain websites, newsgroups and
Sit down with your child and agree on types of websites your child may
and may not visit, limit the use of Instant Messaging and chat rooms.
Open iProtectYou Control Panel, click on the "Dictionaries" button on
the left panel, then the "Web Sites" button on the right panel. Fill
in the "Permitted Web Sites” list to restrict to only these few
web sites or fill in the "Blocked Sites” list to block access to
these certain web sites. News Groups can be adjusted with the same
pattern. Now click on the "Main" button on the left panel of the
iProtectYou window, then the "Applications" button on the right panel.
Fill in the "Blocked Applications" list of the restricted programs
that must not have Internet access.
Tip #5 Never give out personal information
Instruct your kids never to give out personal information (name,
address, telephone number, password, credit card number, and so on) in
chat rooms, email, or bulletin boards. Be aware that Web sites for
children—even the most reputable ones—sometimes ask for
e-mail and home addresses, telephone numbers, and parents’
professions before allowing children to enter. Open iProtectYou
Control Panel, click on the "Dictionaries" button on the left panel,
then the “Inappropriate Words" button on the right panel. Add
your private information, credit card number, for example, in the
“Inappropriate Words" list to prevent them from being published
Tip #6 Use nicknames instead of real names
A nickname—an online alias (like KingStar or
PinkPanther)—is also vital to protecting privacy because it
conceals a person’s real identity. Consider sharing the same
nickname and e-mail address with your children under 14 so that you
can closely monitor the instant and e-mail messages that come to them.
Tip #7 Never allow a child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with
someone they met online.
Instruct children to never arrange a face-to-face meeting with another
computer user without parental permission. Never allow them to get
together with someone they "meet" online without first checking this
“friend” out to the best of your ability. If a meeting is
arranged, make the first one in a public place, and be sure to
accompany your child. Thus, someone indicating that "she" is a
"12-year-old girl" could in reality be a 40-year-old man.
Tip #8 Randomly check visited web sites log
Viewing the log of visited web sites can give you enough information
about your kid’s habits, interests and online friends. Normally
you should do this only occasionally but if your child becomes
secretive, then you should check more often. If you find that the
history of sites visited is deleted in your Web Browser, this is a
signal that something is going on and should be investigated.
iProtectYou keeps its logs in encrypted, hidden files and it is
impossible to delete these logs without knowing the administrator
password. Open iProtectYou Control Panel, click on the "Log Files"
button on the left panel, then the “Details" button on the right
panel. Here you will find the detailed log of visited Web Sites and
online activity of Internet programs on your computer.
Tip #9 Teach children netiquette
Good manners can protect kids, too. Words written are just as strong
as words spoken. Tell children never to respond to messages or
bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, or harassing.
Ask them to be sensitive to others’ feelings when posting online
messages and to avoid being rude, mean, sarcastic, or excessively
argumentative. A comment that’s meant to be funny could seem
insulting and make others mad. Visit message boards and chat rooms
with your kids to point out comments that could be misinterpreted.
Tip #10 Teach children be careful with e-mails from people they do not
Instruct your child never to open emails, especially with attachments,
from people they do not know. Most likely these emails contain a
computer virus or they are mass mailing (spam) e-mails with
Tip #11 Set administrator password for your Filtering program
Do not forget to set the administrator password in your filtering
program to protect your settings from being changed by your smart kid.
Without this, your filtering program makes no sense. Make sure you
store your password in a safe place because if you forget your
password you will lose access to your filtering program. Open
iProtectYou Control Panel, click on the "Main" button on the left
panel, then the “Settings" button on the right panel. Click on
the “Change Password" button and enter your new password.
Reporting Internet Abuse
If you become aware of the transmission, use, or viewing of child
pornography while online, immediately report this to the National
Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline at
The Internet is a great place for kids. By applying real-world
parenting skills and remedies to the wired world, you can make the
Internet a safe place for your child to learn and play. The more time
you spend with your children, the more rewarding the whole experience
of the Internet can be, and the more their safety is ensured.
Remember, Internet use is a privilege that can be taken away if