Internet Safety at the Public Library

Article Posted by Expert Author: Jesse Schwarz  on 10/31/2014

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

Article Posted In:  kids safety  

Categories: internet serviceparental controlskids safetyanti virus software