Parents’ commitment to understanding their
children’s online activities and setting ageappropriate
rules, along with the use of software to help monitor and enforce the
rules, provide the best combination to protect kids online. Here are 5
essential rules for effective parental control:
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Protecting Children Online report
- Amount of
Time Spent Online
Parents need to determine the appropriate amount of online time for
each child. This may mean only certain days of the week, some extra
time on the weekends or enforcing a set time at night by which the
computer must go off.
Parental control software that includes time control
functions empowers parents to set and manage schedules that allocate
the amount of time that each child may spend accessing the Internet or
playing games or other computer activities.
control programs can be used to limit access to only select
sites that are most appropriate for the child. Many children-oriented
sites include numerous advertisements that can lead kids away from
children-safe sites into other areas of the Internet. Parental
control programs prevent children from navigating to any of
these advertising sites that are not on the approved site list.
The people children can contact online should be screened and
pre-approved by parents. Particularly for younger children, additions
to the email address book and the IM buddy list should only be made by
a parent. Parental
controls software can be used to block contacts from anyone
not in the address book or on the buddy list.
- Keep The
Private Information For Themselves
In all cases – web sites, email, IM, chat rooms –
children need to know not to give out any personal information
online.children also need to be educated about keeping their passwords
private and not sharing them with their friends.
The unfortunate reality for children and adolescents is that someone
who is their “best friend” today may not be their
friend any longer in a couple months. It is important that they know
certain information cannot be shared with anyone, not even their close
In addition, creating an effective password that does not use obvious
personal information such as the family pet’s name and one
that is made up of numerals, special characters and uppercase letters,
should be part of the discussion.
Clear Computer Ownership
Even if a child is the primary or sole user of a particular computer in
the home, it’s important to set expectations early that the
computer is owned by the adults in the family. Parents should be very
cautious about thinking of the computer as the child’s
private space like a diary might be. Online access for non-school
related activities should be given as a privilege by parents and
respected as a responsibility by kids.
Parents should retain password
control. In addition, parents should educate themselves about
how to reset passwords. Parents should also remember to keep their own
passwords secure, so that children cannot sign in as parents. Parental
control software should include robust features that prevent children
from making any configuration changes to the computer.