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Your Child and Online Chat Rooms
Despite parental controls available, it’s not possible for Internet providers to control and monitor public chats that occur on websites. So it’s extremely important to do the monitoring yourself if you allow your children to chat online. Many experts recommend that you don’t even let your kids onto these sites, due to the inherent danger involved. There’s no reason why your kids need to be on a public chat room talking to strangers when they can chat with friends and family using Skype, MSN or AOL Instant Messengers (these programs have parental controls built into the program). Essentially, any monitoring you conduct will be to make sure your kids aren’t visiting these chat sites and talking to people they don’t know. If you install a monitoring program on your computer, you can watch where your kids go online from a remote location, as long as you have access to the Internet. This technology has made it possible to protect your kids from online threats even when you’re not at home.
Public chat rooms are dangerous places for young children, and attract a lot of bad apples, for obvious reasons. The Internet has made it extremely easy for criminals to come into direct contact with young children. Chatting is the easiest way to lure kids into very bad situations. Internet service companies don’t offer enough protection against this type of problem, which is why you have to take things into your own hands. Sit down and talk with your kids about some of the dangers that are present online. Tell them not to use public chat rooms or to talk to people on the Internet they don’t know. Explain the dangers of giving out personal information, such as your phone number and address, online. Kids will listen if you take the time to speak with them about Internet issues. You still have to do some monitoring, but sitting down and talking is always a good first step.
If your children really want to use a public chat room to talk with kids their own age, there are some that are made just for youth – these chat rooms are monitored by adults for safety reasons. If you let your kids use this type of service, take a lot of precautions and make sure you keep watch. But don’t just keep an eye on your children’s computer activities – it’s also a good idea to pay attention to their behaviour, mood changes, and anything else that may be happening in their lives. If you notice something strange or different, investigate the matter further to make sure there isn’t something going on in your child’s life that could be dangerous. Monitoring software or parental controls can’t look in the faces of your kids and know when something is amiss – this is where things need to move out of the realm of technology and into the hands of loving and protective parents. Do everything you can to ensure your kids remain safe when they go online. We provide tips for internet safety for kids to help parents be proactive in protecting their children.
Article Posted by Expert Author: 3 on 10/31/2014
Article Posted In: kids safety
Peer-to-Peer Networks and Internet Safety
High speed Internet providers may be able to control some of the information and websites that reach your computer from the Internet, but they can’t control the file sharing that goes on in peer-to-peer networks. If you don’t already know what a peer-to-peer (P2P) network is, you’d better find out soon because your kids, or their friends, probably use them. P2P networks allow users to share files over the Internet through a central server or website. They are organized online communities where members search for and download files of interest to them, and upload files for others to enjoy. Although the concept is an interesting one, if your kids are members of such a site, there are dangers you have to be aware of. Because peer-to-peer networks are involved with the sharing of files, you never know what your kids may gain access to. Pedophiles have been known to upload pornographic material, which can then be downloaded by anyone who is part of the network – this puts your children at risk.
Also, P2P networks require that you download and install special software to navigate the files available, which is bad news because the software may have spyware on it that tracks your child’s Internet activities, and possibly collects personal information. The reason kids love this type of online networking is pretty simple – you can download music, movies, E-books – anything you want all for free. Because people are uploading files they have at home, you can access media normally not available in stores or elsewhere. Unfortunately, the files your kids download may also contain viruses that may infect your computer and cause major problems. If your kids are using peer-to-peer networks unbeknownst to you, all the protection you have put in place for filtering websites may be doing you no good, even with the many safeguards available. A good virus and spyware checker can take care of the potential for infection, but it gets harder when you want to control the files your kids are downloading.
Internet providers in my area can only do so much when it comes to security and filtering. If your kids are using P2P networks, it’s suggested that you implement security measures that can scan files and monitor computer activity remotely. This way, you can check up on the content and size of files that have been downloaded to ensure nothing inappropriate has made its way onto your kid’s computer. Unfortunately, the people who distribute pornography purposely mislabel the files, to trick children into downloading them. This may also make it past certain filters you have installed, so conducting your own monitoring makes a lot of sense. Not allowing your kids to use these P2P networks is the ideal situation, however, older kids may not appreciate it.
Copyright infringement is another concern with these sites. In that case, you may actually hear from your Internet provider that someone in your family is breaking copyright laws. So although your teen may hate you for banning P2P networks, you’re probably saving your family a whole lot of trouble by doing so.
Learn more about how to keep your kids out of trouble online at http://www.internet-serviceproviders.net.
Internet Safety at the Public Library
You may have found ways to filter websites and monitor your kids’ web activity when they’re at home on your computer, but what happens when your children leave the house and use the Internet in different locations? How do you monitor what they’re doing online on public computers at a library, at school, or a friend’s house? Internet service providers can’t keep track of what your children do in other locations, so this is a tricky question, but there are ways to ensure their safety even when they are out in the world.
What About the Library?
First, many libraries do have some filtering software installed on their computers – this includes public and school libraries. The reason libraries use this software? They know a lot of children use the computers to go online, so it’s in their best interest to make sure every kid who goes in the library is there for educational purposes, and won’t accidentally come across something they shouldn’t see.
Libraries and school computer rooms are usually supervised by an adult as well, to make sure the kids stay on task and don’t start downloading inappropriate material. The internet service subscriptions used by schools and other larger institutions may provide some filtering services, but extra software is usually installed to handle filtering more adequately. These filters are designed to keep objectionable material from being downloaded and viewed on the computers – for instance, if your child accidentally or purposefully does an online search for a specific term and then comes across questionable content, when they click on the link, the filtering software won’t let the site load, preventing your child from viewing its contents. This is an effective way to stop younger children from seeing something troublesome. There is a lot of dangerous material online these days, so it pays to be extra cautious and it is a good idea to take precautions no matter where your kids happen to be.
Libraries also prevent kids from downloading and installing programs - they do this to protect the network from viruses. But this also ensures that kids don’t download things that may contain something inappropriate or disturbing. Remember, though - you as the parent need to discuss this with the library management to determine what safety measure they have in effect.
What About When Your Kids Visit Their Friends?
What can you do in this situation to monitor Internet usage? Although you can’t know what the Internet service providers of your kids’ friends have in terms of parental controls, and you don’t know what filtering software has been installed on their system, you can do other things. For instance, talk to the parents and ask about the filtering programs they have installed. If they have none at all, suggest they purchase one, for the sake of everyone’s children. Some parents don’t yet understand the risks involved with Internet surfing. Tell them about the dangers so they become more informed on the topic. Also, talk to your kids about Internet safety and what they should do at a friend’s house.
Learn more about broadband safety at www.internet-serviceproviders.net.
Article Posted by Expert Author: 3 on 10/31/2014
Article Posted In: kids safety
Internet Service Providers Offer Parental Controls – But Don’t Forget Your Browser
PC users surfing the internet with a browser like Firefox may not realize that plugins are available with parental controls built right in. But take note - you have to configure the settings for optimal performance. Although many internet service providers offer security suites that perform some blocking and filtering tasks, tweaking the browser’s parental controls feature is the easiest way to step up security and ensure your little ones don’t gain access to the wrong websites while online.
When you add the right plugin, monitoring your children’s internet use becomes an easy task. With this web browser, you can control the websites your kids visit, keep track of their browsing habits, screen and limit downloads and program use, and manage the contacts and e-mail addresses they are permitted to use.
An added bonus for many of these security features is the ability to block websites that use malicious tactics like phishing or transferal of viruses.
Categories that parents can configure include topics like Adult, Alcohol, Extremist Groups, Nudity, Drugs, War and Violence, Weapons, and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing, to name a few.
How to Find Plugins Available Through Firefox:
- Open your Firefox browser and click on Tools. Then select Add-ons.
- Click on Get Add-ons, and then search for "Parental Control" in the Add-ons Manager.
- Click on Show All Search Results. Review the various add-ons available. Blocksi is one web filter and parental control application that supports 79 internet categories, and has access to a database with over 76 million websites and over 20 billion web pages rated for safety. FoxFilter is another option that is easy to administer for a small fee.
- When you have selected the plugin you wish to install, click on download. You will need to accept any terms and conditions put forth before you install.
- If Firefox is blocking the download, you'll need to click on "Allow".
- You will need to restart Firefox under most circumstances in order to activate the plugin.
- Next click on Extensions at the Add-On Manager. You should see the Plug-in listed. Click on Options if available, and configure the tool. For instance, with Blocksi there is a quick filter for parents or children if your child will access the computer. There is also Advanced Filtering Options where you can select specific categories to block. Finally, you can set up individual user accounts and enable passwords. Select the options and make modifications that suit your family's needs.
- Click on OK once you are finished.
Besides at the browser level, make sure you set up the parental control locks in Windows 8. It's easy to beef up security and add another layer of protection in addition to that which is supplied by high speed internet providers.
To ensure your browser’s parental controls are working properly, it’s important to run the latest version of Firefox at all times. You can download updated versions by going to the Mozilla.org website and clicking the download link on the Firefox page. You can also set your computer up to check for updates regularly.
Parental controls do more than just protect your children – they also offer security against downloading files that contain viruses. While high speed internet providers give you protection against dangerous files, the settings on your browser prevent suspicious downloads from infecting your computer.
The software ISPs in your neighborhood offer to filter websites and content is invaluable, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add more security whenever you can. There is more information about internet providers at http://www.internet-serviceproviders.net/.
Fortunately, Mozilla is known for excellent customer service, so if you ever need assistance with setting up parental controls, don’t hesitate to contact them with your concern or problem.
With some browsers parental controls are not an option, so it may be time to update your computer if you’re concerned about filtering the websites and files your children view while on the internet. Keeping everything up to date is generally a good idea because your system will be less prone to security breaches.
Online Gaming – Kids Safety Concerns
Does your child play online games? If so, it’s important that you monitor their accounts and keep your eyes peeled for suspicious activity. While online games are growing in popularity, and can be a lot of fun, it’s important that you know exactly which games your kids participate in to protect their safety. Online games, such as World of Warcraft, allow users from all around the world to interact and play the game together, which is why monitoring is so important.
Internet service providers don’t monitor online games for you, although they have certain parental control features that keep inappropriate material from getting through. If you want to keep track of the games your kids are playing, you’re going to have to do it yourself.
Very young children should not be allowed to play online multiplayer games at all – the dangers are too high, and it would be extremely difficult to monitor them as they play. With teenagers, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure they don’t get into trouble or talk to the wrong people:
- Keep communication open. Talk about the importance of not giving out personal information, and staying anonymous in online games. Have your teenager tell you what games they’re playing, and their account information, so you can check up on their activity in the game.
- Know your child’s password so you can get into their account without their help – monitor what they have been doing.
- Limit the amount of time your teenager can spend playing the game, so that they don’t become obsessed or addicted. Set down some rules, and request that homework be completed before any online gaming takes place.
- Set up any parental controls the game may have created for safety purposes.
Broadband has made it possible for people to play online games – with dial-up services there wasn’t enough bandwidth for such a phenomenon. The popularity of online, interactive gaming has made it necessary to monitor your kids’ activity online, and ensure they don’t spend too much time staring at their computer screen.
For World of Warcraft in particular, there are settings made specifically for parental controls. If you do allow a younger child to play the game, this will come in handy. Of course, even with parental control settings, you have to watch younger kids play online games at all times.
Here are the settings for World of Warcraft’s parental controls, which allow you to set up a play schedule for your kids:
- Visit the World of Warcraft community site and search for the parental control tab.
- Log in using your kid’s password and player information.
- Create a password to be used for the purposes of parental control. Keep this safely stowed away.
- Use the calendar to set access times for your child. You can even read the parental control FAQ if you need more help with settings.
Another way to monitor online gaming usage is to play along with your child. This is a fun solution to the problem, and very effective. If you play with your child, you’ll know exactly what they’re up to in the game. Of course, this probably won’t work with older children, but the younger ones may actually get a kick out of it. High speed Internet providers have made it possible to have fun playing online games – so get out there and play!
Child safety and virus free computers are the focus at http://www.internet-serviceproviders.net. We can also help you find reputable broadband options in your city and help you select the best one to fit your particular needs.
Online Safety and Your Mac Computer
For the concerned parent, the security and filtering measures put in place by high speed Internet providers are a good start in keeping questionable material away from your children, but there is more you can do. If you own a Mac and run Mac OS Tiger, the parental control settings provide even more protection and security. All you have to do is make sure everything is set up the right way.
Here’s what to do:
- Log in as the system administrator to gain access to the computer’s settings. Your personal account is probably the system administrator’s account if you’re the one who purchased the system.
- Click the Apple icon in the “Finder” menu bar.
- Scroll down to “System Preferences” and click “Accounts.”
- Select the user account to which you want to apply the new parental control settings.
- Click “Parental Controls.”
- Set up each account according to your personal preferences. Remember, you’ll have to set the parental controls for each account individually for the changes to take effect on all user accounts. The good news is that you can customize the settings for all your kids’ accounts, depending on age and the type of Internet usage you expect from them.
Because high speed Internet providers don’t affect the parental control features on your computer’s operating system, it’s necessary to set the security levels manually. Luckily, this is easy to do, and doesn’t take a lot of time. Many people don’t realize that operating systems come with parental controls that can be tailored to suit your family’s needs. Take advantage of these tools, instead of letting them sit on your computer unused. These parental controls are free and work well, so it makes sense to take a few minutes out of your day to set them up for each user account on the computer. Plus, this way you won’t have to worry about limiting your own browsing and filtering preferences. Your kids will be safe while they surf, and you can continue to use the Internet without security measures intended for your children getting in the way.
Some more tips
The great thing about the parental controls on your computer’s operating system is that you can change the settings according to your personal needs – you can’t always do this with the software offered by Internet service providers. Set the filters and blocks to a level that is appropriate for the applicable child. The level you set will depend on the age of your kid. The higher the settings, the safer your kids will be. You always have the ability to go back and alter the settings as your needs change. The Internet and the nature of online threats continue to evolve as time goes by. Although you may be satisfied with your parental control settings for now, it’s important to make changes as your needs develop over time.
If some of the menu options are dimmed and inaccessible, click the Lock icon to open up all your options and enable other functions.
For more useful safety information, visit http://www.internet-serviceproviders.net.
Article Posted by Expert Author: 3 on 10/31/2014
Article Posted In: kids safety
Categories: internet service, parental controls, kids safety, anti virus software,