By Pamela Myers, BSEd
Children of all ages are using the internet these days. Parents know children need access to the internet for school but they’re concerned about their child landing on a page with inappropriate content. The following are some tools to help parents monitor children’s internet activity and give them some peace of mind.
Technology can be a wonderful tool but it can also be risky for young children. When you’re concerned about your children’s use of the internet, you want to see what websites they’ve visited and how they’re using the computer. Here are some free things you can do to monitor your children’s internet activity:
Log onto the computer your child uses and onto the internet. Look through the websites your child has visited. Go to the upper left hand corner to File. Scroll down to Tools and then click on Internet Options then Settings. This will bring up a list of all websites visited on this computer. Write down any website addresses which have you concerned so you can discuss them with your child.
Create a list of websites which are off-limits because they can have content not appropriate for children. These could include MySpace.com and YouTube.com. There may be others, but this will give you an idea about the types of site which may not be right for your child.
Keep the computer children use in a central location where people will be going past them occasionally. If you notice your child hurrying to cover up or turn off the screen, you may have an indication your child is viewing something they shouldn’t.
Check with your internet provider to see if there is a program they offer to help protect your children. If they don’t offer a program for free, they may be able to make a recommendation for a free or inexpensive program.
Do some research for yourself. There are so many software programs offering to help you monitor your child’s internet usage, you’ll want to compare them and find the one that will work best for your family. Prices range from free to $100 or more. Some will allow you to install the program on more than one computer at a time.
You can learn about what your children are doing online by looking on the browser they normally use. You can also purchase or download software which will give you many options for blocking or filtering out inappropriate content. These are but a few of the tools to help parents monitor children’s internet activity. Compare what is available and you’ll be able to make an informed choice to find what will work best for your family.