Monitoring a child's internet use is often easier said than done, with many parents finding themselves overwhelmed at the prospect of monitoring online activity. Adolescents and teens are increasingly keeping their internet history private and protected, while outdated filters and parental controls are unable to keep up with the never-ending array of dangerous online destinations. While keeping a child's internet use monitored and secure is a serious challenge, there are several resources available that can help alleviate the pressure of this important task. Use the following tips to ensure your child stays safe and secure online.
Utilizing System Controls
While filters and controls are not foolproof when it comes to scanning internet content, they can be used to limit time spent playing games and browsing the web. These controls are built-in to many of the world's most popular operating systems and web browsers, making it easy for parents to set limits for their children. While certain web browsers, such as Chrome, can limit the content acceptable for certain users, it is important to understand that no filter is entirely secure. As such, parents need to take addition steps to keep their child from viewing inappropriate content online.
Consider Monitoring Software
Monitoring software is a touchy subject, as some parents like the power it provides, while others find it intrusive. If you opt to use monitoring software, is best to inform your child of its presence, this will ensure he or she is aware of the surveillance, and does not feel their trust has been violated.
Providing Physical Surveillance
The easiest way to ensure compliance with your rules for internet use is to be present when the computer is in use, that way you can easily divert attention for unwanted online destinations, and work to ensure your child is protected. This also gives you the power to turn off the machine at any time.
Participating in Social Media
Social media networks are one of the web's most popular destinations, and many children and teens have accounts on these platforms. While there is nothing wrong with these systems, per se, you need to have access to who your child is speaking with online. Many parents provide a simple ultimatum: full parental access in exchange for social media usage rights.
Establishing Clearly-Defined Limits
Kids can easily spend inordinate amounts of time online, and rather than simply accepting this as a fact of life, work with your kids to establish time limits in advance, and with many internet service providers, like Bell internet service, you can have a timer set to shut your computer down at a certain time. This will ensure other areas of a young child's life do not suffer because of too much internet use.
Melisa Cammack has been freelance writing for a number of years, and loves to write parenting, self-help, health, and travel articles. She is a Seattle native, but is currently living in Western Australia with her husband and their three (soon to be four) children.