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Thursday, April 14, 2011


5 Essential Tips for Online Parental Control

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:
  1. 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.
  2. Allowed Websites
    Initially, parental 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.
  3. Approved Online Contacts
    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.
  4. 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 friends.

    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.
  5. Establish 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.

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