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Why Internet Filters May Not Be Enough Protection for Your Children
Most Internet providers offer the ability to filter websites and stop offensive material from popping up on your computer screen. This is a great first line of defense. But there’s much more you can do to protect your kids from inappropriate content. Internet security experts recommend that parents purchase web filtering software to more effectively control their children’s browsing activities.
A lot of parents are unaware of the dangers that lurk online – this is unfortunate, as the Internet is full of material not suitable for kids, and predators look for the vulnerable to exploit. Although protecting your little ones outside of the home may take the priority, it’s just as important to monitor your kids when they browse the Internet – these days, perhaps more so. You don’t have to do much to take precautions – filtering software is a good first step, and it’s very easy to install and configure. If you make the decision to buy a website filter, no question, you are doing it for the right reasons.
As previously stated, you need more than this basic level of protection to properly filter website content before it shows up on your computer. Also, the “ready-made” software from your internet service provider doesn’t necessarily make it possible to monitor your kids’ online activities while they surf – or afterwards for that matter. Monitoring is often more important than filtering simply because some questionable material may still make it through the filtering mechanism – no piece of software is perfect, but as a parent, checking up on your children is always effective because you’ll know when something is wrong the minute you see it. If you stay on top of things, you can stop problems before they even start and keep your kids away from dangerous content and people. There isn’t a software program on the planet that will look out for your loved ones like you do – parental monitoring is one of the best ways to keep your kids safe.
Internet filters are usually inexpensive and once you make the purchase, you simply download the file and install the program – the whole process is very easy and fast. This type of software can be customized to the level of protection you want for your kids, depending on their age and what they plan to do online. There are many different features available with these programs – some that do more than simply filter websites. For instance, you can monitor the sites your kids have been visiting so you can make sure they haven’t seen anything objectionable. When you get home from work or have spare time on the weekend, all you have to do is open the software and look up the web history of each child. It’s a simple way to stay on top of what your kids have been up to when you’re not around - rest easy knowing that they aren’t gaining access to information they shouldn’t see or read. At The Broadband Safety Guide there are many useful articles designed to help parents understand online safety.
Article Posted by Expert Author: 3 on 10/31/2014
Article Posted In: parental controls
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 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.
Internet Service Parental Control Locks in Windows 8
One of the benefits of the new Windows 8 operating system from Microsoft is the ability to set up advanced parental controls for Internet browsing. ISP’s offer some parental control features, but you have to step it up with other security measures if you want to protect your kids fully.
The parental controls available on this operating system allow parents to screen and regulate all online content kids can access on the Internet. To enable the parental controls feature in Windows 8, you have to turn it on for each user account. This will keep harmful websites away from the eyes of your little ones.
Here’s how to do it step-by-step:
- Turn on your computer. When Windows has launched, open the “Start Screen” and open the “Control Panel.” You can open the control panel by starting to type the name anywhere in the start screen.
- Double-click on “User Accounts” and choose the option to set up “Family Safety.”
- Choose the user account for which you want to change the settings. If you have not set up a user account for your child, this is the most important step, so please do so. You will not need an email account, so select the regular “local” login type. When prompted, select “Child” account so that you can turn on the parental controls.
- Double click on the account you want to modify.
- Here you can select “family safety” and “activity reporting” - These two features have additional settings that you can modify to make the computer and internet more secure. You can control the websites your children have access to, set time limits for computer use, block unwanted websites or even specify “only” the specific sites they can access, like Wikipedia or Nick Jr.
- Turn the “Activity Reporting” feature on - This lets you view information about computer usage for each windows 8 account. You can read through individual activity reports by selecting “View Activity Report.”
Depending on the age of your child and the amount of restrictions you put on their home Internet use, the level of browsing protection you implement may vary. It’s important to choose the settings that work best for your family.
Internet service providers have some control over content, but to achieve the best level of protection, it’s necessary to set up additional parental controls on your own computer. Be warned - if your kids are tech savvy, they may try to navigate around the parental controls you’ve set up by starting a new account. If you’ve established password protection for new users, however, this won’t become a problem.
Another tip – select the “Block File Downloads” box to disallow file downloading on specific user accounts. This way, you can prevent your kids from downloading certain types of material off the Internet. If they need to download something for a specific purpose, they will have to do it under direct parental supervision.
Remember that parental locks must be set for each user account on Windows 8 – user accounts without these settings in place allow free and easy access to all Internet content. Although you may have an automatic web filter installed, and access to parental controls through high speed Internet providers, it’s always prudent to add more protection. For more information on parental controls and internet safety visit http://www.internet-serviceproviders.net/ .
Remote Monitoring – a Step up From Parental Controls and Tracking History
Remote monitoring is a unique concept – it’s much more effective than the basic software offered by high speed Internet providers, and allows parents to effectively keep track of all their kids’ activities online without even being in the same room – or house. In the modern world, it’s not always possible to be around your kids 24 hours a day – it’s just not practical. Yes, you can limit computer time and set up the family computer in a busy part of the house, but it’s not realistic to be on top of things at all times. At the same time, you don’t want something important to slip through your fingers – you want your kids to be safe when they go online. That’s where remote monitoring saves the day. This incredible software lets you monitor your children’s online browsing habits from a remote location. You can be at work or in another part of the house, and still know what your kids are doing when you’re not physically in the room with them.
It’s easy to see why remote monitoring is a step up from other software packages. Your ISP can’t handle remote monitoring, or provide the same level of protection that can only come from the watchful eyes of a parent. Once you purchase the software and install it on your computer, you’ll be able to use any Internet connection to access the program and review a list of websites that your child has visited on your home computer. The software constantly keeps track of computer activity – it’s easy to check in every once in a while just to make sure your kids are not up to any trouble. Most parents use this type of program from work, so they can let their older children go online even though no one is home to supervise. For younger children, limiting Internet use to times when you’re at home is still the preferred method of monitoring, but when it comes to teenagers, hovering over their shoulders and expecting them to only use the computer at certain times becomes less practical.
Luckily, remote monitoring software allows you to look out for your teens’ safety without severely intruding on their lives or stopping them from going online. Real time monitoring is convenient and really works. Without physically being on the computer, you can check up on your kids several times throughout the day – can high speed Internet providers offer that kind of service? And the best part is, as long as you can find an Internet service connection, you can log into your account and see what’s happening on your home computer. So you can be at the office, at a friends’ house, or in an Internet café for that matter – you can be anywhere in the world and still know what websites your kids have been visiting while you’ve been away. Parents find that monitoring software is particularly useful when they are away on business trips and can’t see their kids in the flesh. Although you won’t be home to make them dinner or pack their lunches, you will have access to their Internet usage.
Learn more about useful parental controls and tools to keep your kids safe at www.internet-serviceproviders.net.
Article Posted by Expert Author: 3 on 10/31/2014
Article Posted In: parental controls
Categories: internet service, parental controls, kids safety, anti virus software,