This guest article is written by Ken Myers, the founder of http://www.longhornleads.com/.
Unlike many adults prior to the Generation X movement of technology, children are subjected to computers and electronics at an earlier age than we were. While many of us grew up with Commodore 64s, Nintendo, and Atari, our children are bee-bopping around the Internet as early as kindergarten. There wasn’t a single computer in the elementary school I attended. With this ever persistent technology, how do we keep our kids safe while they browse the Internet?
1. URL Prevention - In most homes that have access to the Internet sits a device called the router. If your household is full of geeks like mine, you could possibly have a managed switch. Regardless of the network design, there are options within these devices that can stop the access of certain websites. In fact you can kill access to the Internet all-together if you suspect the kids getting online when they should be sleeping.
In the router or switch is a command for URL blocking or keyword blocking. In this setting, you are able to put in quite a few website addresses you don’t want the children to have access to. You are also able to put in keywords to block. For example, if you put the word “porn” as the keyword, sites that have the word will no longer be accessed by anyone on the network.
2. Software Methods - There are a variety of software titles you can purchase and install on your child’s computer in order to help steer them clear of inappropriate online behaviors. Some of these more elaborate software titles will analyze the content of your child’s communications and scan for predefined keywords chosen by yourself. Once these keywords are utilized, an email is sent to your address informing you of the activity in real-time.
Some parents have a problem with these kinds of “eavesdropping” software as it is in violation of personal space. However, are you going to act as a parent or a friend? If you are using this information to help protect your child, that is different than just peeping into someone’s private life. You are supposed to protect your child from threats and danger, not allow the computer to be a babysitter.
3. Conversation - One of the best ways to keep your kids safe while using the Internet is by having regular discussions and reminders about what is inappropriate behavior online. Children are more susceptible to your guidance than you may realize and you can help them determine for themselves if something is safe or not. Keeping the lines of communication open with your child gives them someone they can trust in order to ask for help. This should be something you’ve been doing since they were born. However, it’s never too late to keep trying to involve yourself in his or her daily life and they need to know that you care.
The Internet doesn’t have to be some scary monster that needs to be banned within the home. Parents need to become more active in their child’s life and participate in keeping kids safe from predators or inappropriate content. The global infusion of content gives our children direct connection to the sum of human knowledge online and it would be a shame to waste such an opportunity for growth. Be active and keep the kids safe.
Ken Myers is the founder of http://www.longhornleads.com/ & has learned over the years the importance of focusing on what the customer is looking for and literally serving it to them. He doesn’t try to create a need, instead he tries to satisfy the existing demand for information on products and services.
Be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.
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Remember, personal computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.
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