Protecting Children Online

The technology of today has advanced to the point of ease that even young children have been able to using the internet for researching for school reports and playing games online or talking with their friends and meeting new people who share their interests. There is nothing inherently bad about this, provided they have been taught what to and not to do. But some parents might want a little more protection for their children online and there are numerous ways that go past simply being careful. Parents can choose to implement only one of these suggestions or all of them if they feel they are necessary.

Some of the easiest ways to protect children is simply doing a few things built into the computer. The fastest way is to have them use a family computer until they are ready for a private one. It is very easy to monitor young children when the computer is accessible by everyone, and older children know that their parents can monitor what they do. It is also possible to create separate user accounts on one computer, and this can be useful in a multitude of ways. As the administrating account it is simple and easy for parents to set passwords to their account so children cannot access it and set the secondary account up so they cannot access for longer than the parents wish, install new programs, or even use programs already installed.

Other ways involve installing programs, both free and commercial, to protect not only any children online but the computer itself. An anti-virus is one of the most important programs for any computer, but it can do more than its name implies. Some programs offer options to rate websites and programs downloaded online based on community ratings, and it is possible to get them up to instantly block or delete these based on personal preference. A similar method is offered through additions for the popular internet browsers FireFox and Google Chrome, though they only gauge websites. They also offer additions for blocking ads, some of which parents may not want their children to see, and pop ups, which may hold malicious viruses or redirect to undesirable websites.

These browsers also offer parental controls that are easily set up, and there are programs that can be installed that block sites based on keywords. Other programs, such as popular instant messaging clients, offer parental controls that only allow contacts to be added with specific consent, and it can be easy to track social networking sites simply by following your children or implementing similar parental controls on the sites or other programs.

Protecting children online is both a simple and complicated affair, but it all depends on the child and parents involved. Some children can be trusted to protect themselves and stay off sites that are inappropriate or go to their parents, while others will always try to sneak their way around online. It is up to the individual parent to decide what is necessary.

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