Protect Your Kids: Keeping Children Away from Adult Sites
In our on-going efforts
at Cams to make your experience as fun and safe as possible, we have created
this document to help parents understand how to protect their children from
inappropriate online material.
The first step to protect your family is to install parental control software
on your computer. Some of the best-known and respected parental control
software packages are CyberPatrol, Net Nanny and Safety Surf. Also, some ISPs
(Internet Service Providers, the companies that let your modem connect to the
Internet) provide content filtering as part of their basic service. Check with
your ISP to see if this is an option they offer.
Parental control software works by blocking access to specific websites and
online content. In most cases, when you buy the software it already contains a
large list of sites that are inappropriate for children. You can then update
the software through the manufacturer’s website or, in some cases, the software
will update itself.
Another way filtering software works is to block sites based on key words, such
as “sex.” However, filtering software doesn’t have to just block
access to adult-oriented material. You can configure the software to filter for
topics such as tobacco, drugs and drug culture, alcohol, violence and racism.
Since there might be only one computer in your household, and you might be
using the same computer as the children, you can set up the system to filter
content during certain hours, such as when you’re at work and not around to
supervise your children’s web surfing. You can also setup the system to create
a password, that only you know, to override the restrictions.
Some programs can also block personal information, such as name, address and
phone number, from being sent from your computer. This is an excellent way to
protect children from potential online predators.
Many programs allow you to create different levels of security and filtering
based on the different ages of the computer’s users. Children can be given high
security and heavy content filtering, but when you log on to the machine, you
can set it to not filter any content at all.
One thing to remember is that by installing filtering software on your
computer, you might also restrict childrens’ access to legitimate sites. This
is especially true if you rely on key words (such as “sex”) for
blocking. Certain key words appear on legitimate news and information sites, so
it’s best to experiment with different settings when configuring the filter
Installing filtering software is no guarantee that children won’t be exposed to
some inappropriate material online. New websites pop up everyday, so it’s
important to keep your software up to date. Also, learn how your Internet browser
software works so that you can check the sites your family has visited (this is
the “History” feature, which displays a list of websites visited by
the web browser).
Talking to your children about the possible dangers that exist on the Internet,
and supervising their web surfing are still the best ways to protect them.
Some key general Internet-related safety points for your children:
- Tell them to never give
out personal information about themselves or the family to strangers they might
meet online or in a chat room.
- Remind them that online
it’s easy for people to pretend to be someone else. They can easily change
their name, age and gender in an effort to get close to children.
- Teach them that they
should never meet a new online friend without an adult present.
- Tell them to never give
out their picture to a stranger, and that if they ever get a picture with
sexual content, or something they find disturbing, that they should get off the
computer immediately and tell you about it.
- Let them know that if they
encounter something or someone dangerous that they can tell you about it, and
that you won’t blame them or get mad.
Here are some sites where you can get parental control software:
Good Internet safety information sites for both kids and adults are: