Internet Security for Kids during "At Home Computer Time"
There is a nearly
mind boggling amount of information floating around in cyberspace.
We unwittingly contribute even more each and every time we enter a
phone number, address, or bank account number into our computers.
The irony is that we often need to enter these things in our
computers in order to get the information or merchandise we desire.
We live in a world that is increasingly dependent upon
computers and the Internet in order to achieve even the most modest
of tasks - tasks we couldn't easily accomplish at home that once would have taken a drive to the library.
This drive to the library might have taken anywhere from a
matter of minutes and a cursory glance through the card catalog or
hours spent sifting through dusty shelves and outdated collections
of books in order to find relevant information to the topic being
Unfortunately, the clear advantages of the information age,
such as ready access to information twenty four hours a day seven
days a week with just the click of a few keys is also proving to be
a logistical nightmare when it comes to safeguarding the security of
homes and businesses around the world.
Without proper management of our computers,
we increase a variety of risks to our families.
To safeguard children from Internet predators and material
that simply isn't
appropriate for their viewing, requires serious parental controls,
rules, and guidelines during "at home Computer time".
Your children may protest but a few hours of their complaints
is well worth the peace of mind you have knowing that nothing should
be getting through that you don't want them to view. No doubt that
this will result in some difficult moments as favorite websites may
be tagged for ridiculous reasons.
You'll have to take those on a case-by-case basis and decide
whether or not you want to allow your children access to these sites
that are often tagged with no real reason or inappropriateness. No
system is perfect but doing nothing would be far worse.
Another thing you should do in order to more closely monitor
their Internet activity is keep the computer in a centralized area
in the home rather than allowing them to bring computers into the
privacy of their bedrooms where they are unobserved.
Keep in mind that even the best and brightest among us are
quite likely to be outshone by our children when it comes to
computer savvy. Do not trust that minimal efforts will net the big
results you are hoping to achieve.
procedures with your children, especially your teens. Remind them of
these things on a regular basis and drill it into them. Safety is
the most important thing when having discussions online, in chat
rooms, or even in weblogs and websites.
It's amazing how
much information is revealed accidentally through
For this reason it's even more important to stress the
urgency of secrecy on the Internet. Team names, practice
times, school names, and sports participation should be
kept to a minimum as all of these things can be used in
order to isolate and identify your teen.
Photos should also be limited, particularly those in
cheerleading or ball team uniforms that can easily be
used to identify location. Pictures can also include car
tags and other relevant information that is identifying
While this may
seem harsh to your teens, it is much better to be harsh with them
than go through the heartache and uncertainty of a missing teen or
worse because of
Peer pressure can be a major problem for teenagers. You can
help make it easier to handle for them if you let their friends'
parents know that you are enforcing strict computer safety rules in
your home. Share your methods and
them to tell you how they are handling internet security in
Internet Security for Kids at
home is the most important thing you can
protect. If you do not make them aware of the risks, they might not take those risks seriously. An important part of home
security is protecting your family members from themselves as much
as it is to protect them from the world outside.
... Richard Rossbauer