The World Wide Web
The Internet is a great source of information, through the creation of the World Wide Web. Answers are often (if not always) one click away. Though the Internet is a “well” of information for the things you need, it is also infested by information you don’t need. Like the old saying goes “the Internet is 10% information and 90% garbage”. As the year entered the Millennium, the computer has been accessible to everyone, yes everyone. Kids become knowledgeable in using the computer as well as accessing the Internet. We all know that the Internet is never a safe terrain for our young audiences, our children. There are thousands of adult websites lurking on the Web; giving you no guarantees that your children would be avoiding all of them. Furthermore, computer online games are quite addicting for children sometimes they manage to slip by a few hours playing when you thought they are just doing their homework. So as parents what can you do? I have made a few tips that may help you in such matters.
Credit: Image: Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
1. Computer Usage Limit
The computer is really quite addictive, not just for kids, especially, when it is in terms of online computer games. The addiction can be reduced by limiting their time in front of the computer. Let us say two hours a day, doing home works using the computer can be excluded or included depending upon your choice. Though, it is ok to be strict that during school days no computer games are allowed, the computer must be for pure academic purposes. However, in weekends the kids are allowed to play those computer games.
2. Enable Safe Search
Almost all browsers have a safe search option that goes along with them. The IE or Internet Explorer is one of them, through which you could specify a security level of browsing. This is what those browsers calls “protected mode”. Firefox protective options have the widest range, due to its add-on integration ability. Furthermore, search engine implements some safe measures. For example, Google, the said search engine has an option it calls “Safe search”. It blocks illicit results. I always use that when I am searching for images in Google.
3. Blocking Harmful Websites
Your kids might be happy surfing on a certain site, but are you sure he or she is safe from those nasty websites out there? I have an experience when I was watching a "boxing match" in the web someone commented on the comment box about a website, I was curious, so I click the link. And to make the long story short, I did not like what I see. Even good sites may contain things unhealthy for kids. Links could always be embedded in the comment box of a site. Furthermore, there are sites that have chat boxes on it. Your kids might end up talking to people they do not know. There are many ways to block a certain website, I will tell it at the end of this article.
4. Parental Guidance
Who said they would only need parental guidance on watching their favorite television shows? In front of the computer, kids are more vulnerable to unwanted information compared to "sitting on the couch watching television". People or information that they encounter in the Internet could point them towards a site that contains matured contents. It is good to be on their side when they are exploring the Web, I am not saying you need to be over protective. Think of it a chance to bond with them, it would be kind a cool if they could play an online game with you. For example, if your kids play Ninja Wars a game on Facebook it is quite cool if you have a Ninja Wars account too (or a Cityville account). I think if that is the case your primary, is not really to guard your kids but to enjoy the company of each other in a way which both of you can relate with. The same time, you are guiding them away from those nasty sites. Of course don’t limit yourselves to just a Facebook game, that is the one I mentioned because it is popular.
5. Talking to your kids
Kids nowadays are pretty smart, no matter what precautions you do they would still find ways to do what they want to do. So I, therefore, advise you to explain to them at the very start why you want them to avoid certain sites. Explain to them the reasons, the pros and cons, etc. You are their parent, I guess you would know what to say. If the purpose of your precautions is embedded to them, I guess you would not be having a pretty hard time in keeping them safe from the World Wide Web. You will not find it difficult to keep them away from those nasty sites. They would be the one doing it for themselves.
Questions You Might Ask
1. Is Youtube safe for kids?
Yes and no at the same time, Youtube is a like a video search engine. There are lots of videos there that are not for young audiences. I know Youtube is strict in pornography, but there are still videos that promote sensuality directly or indirectly. Furthermore, be observant to comment boxes in Youtube people sometimes do post vague things in that section. Some videos have comments that are never related to the videos being shown. The good thing is that site often requires age verification before viewing mature contents.
2. Is Facebook safe for kids?
It really depends. People do post different things in Facebook. Some users are irresponsible ones, who post anything that they consider funny or interesting without realizing that there might be some minors browsing their “walls”. Furthermore, people whom your kid does not know might invite for a connection with your kid, (add him/her as a friend). Keep watch for those people, Facebook is a good site for meeting good people but also for meeting those “not so good people”. Talk to your children, that the advice of not talking to strangers, applies to the World Wide Web as well.
How To Block Websites
I made an article that teaches how to block a website. The article also explains how to set up web filters which is related to website blocking. The article is entitled: How to Block Websites.
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