To protect your children from the dangers of the Internet you need to use every method possible starting with making some hard parenting decisions. These web pages will begin to outline what you should be doing to protect children. We will start with the most important protective step you can take and the cost is FREE...it is parenting!
Read through the suggestions and I think the value is evident. No one should rely only on content filtering to protect their children. It is NOT enough and will only give you a false sense of security.
Applying the listed parenting ideas and using a content filter for your home Internet service will go a long way towards protecting your family but it requires diligence to keep everyone safe.
Talk to your kids about the harmful material and dangers of the Internet and teach them these rules:
- They need to come to you if they encounter a problem. If your child gets into trouble online, you'll want him or her to come to you instead of hiding it. Keep in mind that your kids could accidentally encounter a bad site, even if they're doing everything right.
- Never share personal information about yourself or family: name, age, address, phone numbers, pictures, email addresses, usernames, school information, friends information.
- Never send pictures to someone online!
- Never agree to meet someone from the Internet without your parents.
- Never open files sent in emails that aren't from official sources.
- Do not visit websites sent to you in Instant messengers, chat, or emails without talking to your parent first.
- Never accept gifts from people online.
- Do not talk about sex or share provocative information.
Talk to your kids regularly about how they use the Internet. If they're in the habit of talking to you about the Internet, they'll be more willing to come to you if there's a problem.
Place your home computer in a conspicuous location in the house. The kitchen or family room are both better choices than a dedicated room that may offer too much privacy for children.
If you believe they need a computer in their room use a filter that can restrict Internet access after a certain time.
Do not allow your children to take their smart phones, tablets and laptops to bed with them. Filtering their wifi in the home won't protect them if they are using cell phone data services and kids can quickly learn about neighbor's wifi they can use.
Monitor their usage on all the Internet access devices in the household by checking their Internet history and making sure they aren't deleting their history. Get the passwords and access their phones, tablets and computers.
Monitor their IM (Instant Messaging) friends. You should know who each of their friends are on all IM platforms.
Monitor social networking sites. Remind them not to share personal information and make sure you are on their FRIENDS list.
Monitor the pictures and videos on their cell phone. Consider disabling webcams on computers, tablets, gaming consoles and even cell phones. (Disabling on cell phones can be particularly difficult because it will prevent them from using their phone as a camera)
Remind them that the same rules of sharing personal information apply to online gaming sites.
Use an Internet content filter
Make sure it protects your entire network including computers, tablets, phones and gaming consoles. We have listed three methods that can help:
- Add Parental Control to your existing router. These devices connect to your existing network and do a reasonably good job of limiting access to harmful material.
- Buy a Parental Control Router. These devices replace your router with a
router device that has content filtering built in.
- Using a DNS content control method is the least expensive but isn't as secure as one of the hardware solutions listed above.
None of the Above Methods are 100% Safe!
Cellular data services, neighbors or friends wifi, random open wifi signals may circumvent all of the content filters.
There is no such thing as a failsafe system and relying on only content filter methods is foolhardy. You cannot abdicate your responsibility to protect your children to anyone. Use PARENTING and FILTERING.