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How You Can Protect Kids From Online Dangers

Jun 6, 2008
The Internet is an amazing tool that people rely on more and more in several aspects of their lives. One of the fastest growing demographics of Internet users is children. Unfortunately, children are also one of the demographics most vulnerable to being taken advantage of online, making protecting children a chief concern of both parents and software developers. There are several keys to making sure children are protected when using the Internet.

The most important thing that can be done to help a child stay safe when using the Internet is to educate the child of the dangers that exist online. Children should know that while sites such as chat rooms seem like a lot of fun, that there could be dangerous people looking for pictures or personal information of children.

Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook are becoming increasingly popular among teens, but users should take precautions such as setting profile pages to "private" to control who is authorized to view the child's page. Personal information such as phone numbers and addresses should never be posted in a public place on the Internet.

One of the tools that parents often turn to in order to keep their children safe online is filtering software. This software is designed to examine web pages for content that might be offensive, inappropriate, or unsafe for children and to block the site from being accessed from a user's computer. This software is effective and helpful, but should never be considered a replacement for supervision from parents.

There are often sites that somehow find loopholes in even the most effective filters, so parents should still monitor computer activity. One of the downsides to filtering software is that pages that are inoffensive may be blocked, hindering the user's ability to access needed information from a harmless website. Filtering software should be password protected so that children can't give themselves access to the entire Internet.

Many parents monitor children's Internet activities by tracking where they have been online. Checking browser history and other files stored on computers as users surf from web page to web page is a good way to make sure your children are staying away from harmful or offensive sites. However, many children who use the Internet are smart enough to know how to cover their tracks, so relying on tracking the history of web sites visited is not enough in most cases. Several filtering programs send parents a weekly report of web sites visited and time spent online, a more accurate way to track a child's Internet activity.

Setting house rules for computer and Internet use is another effective way to protect children who use the Internet. Some rules could include keeping the computer in a public room in the house, limiting the time and hours each day that the Internet can be used, and maintaining a list of approved websites for children to visit.

A parent's responsibility is to use a combination of all of the above tools and ideas to make sure their children who use the Internet are protected.
About the Author
Identity theft is just one of the threats you face when you're on the internet. Learn how to get your internet security set up properly to protect you from identity fraud as well as hackers, spyware and other security threats on the Security Manor website.
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