Keep Your Kids Safe On The World Wide Web

You may be wondering how you can make the Internet safe for your kids. You’d like to protect them from the objectionable sites and emails that would be so easy for them to find.

I bet you would like to find a program you could buy that you could install on your computer to block objectionable content, but permit research.

Here’s the bad news: filtering programs can’t do the job by themselves. NentNanny and other applications like it search for certain words in the Web site your child is clicking on. Simple words like “belly” can be targets for blocking, causing frustration, while research on “breast cancer” may be impossible.

But programs that look for words fail completely if the site has no objectionable words–only objectionable photos. My teenage son figured this out. He used Google Images to look for objectionable sites. He found them despite the fact that our filter, NetNanny, was turned on.

The software could not have detected the objectionable photos, since NetNanny and similar software look for objectionable words. They are not able to evaluate pictures.

So, what can you as a parent do?

* Keep your computers where you can monitor what the kids are doing. Put them in the kitchen or wherever YOU are.

*Have a login password that only the adults know. The kid has to have permission, and oversight, to use the computer.

*Require the child to log off when he is done. Now the password is required for the next session.

*Use NetNanny or a similar filter. It can only help.

*Make sure the kids know your expectations and the consequences for disobeying.

*Unplug the Internet cables if the child doens’t need to access the Internet for his task.

*Make younger kids use your email address. Then you can be sure to delete that filth that lands in the inbox from time to time. Or, as the kids get older, give them their own but instruct them to give out their address only to trusted friends.

If you take these measures and are watchful, you will help your teenagers withstand a temptation that is everywhere on the Internet, and get them into the habit of making good choices when sitting down to use the computer.