Basic Internet Safety for Families and Kids
03 November 2011
Many parents are concerned about their kids having access to websites that they do not wish them to see. These include sites that are extreme or inaccurate, violent or self-destructive, or simply not appropriate for their age. In addition, many sites, regardless of their content, are becoming havens for cyber criminals to infect people's computers in secret. So, while you are keeping your children safe from inappropriate content, you need to make sure you are keeping your computer and personal information secure too.
So, how can we do this?
- Set rules.
Keep the computer in a common area of the home (e.g. the living room) or set rules that your children must use their computer in a common area. Limit their time on it as well.
For additional protection: Some computer security software programs allow you to set time limits (beginning and end times) for specific users.
- Use technology.
Use the parental control feature of your computer security software. This allows you to block access to many categories of sites.
For additional flexibility: Some security software allows you to set this only when your kids are using the computer, but not when you are using it.
- Talk about it.
Agree to the websites they can visit. Review the safety and security policies of these sites, especially if they require someone to provide personal information (like an email address or home phone number) and make sure you know how that information will be used.
For additional protection: Use a website reputation service which shows you if the site you are going to visit is secure.
- Be proactive.
If you're still not sure if your child is old enough to visit a certain site, go to a site valuation portal (like Commonsense Media), look for the site and see if it's appropriate for them.