Kids and Komputers

July 16, 2007

If your kids use your computer, and whose kids don’t, then you are probably concerned about their saftey. And you should be. The internet is a hostile environment these days. There are two basic questions parents have.

How do I protect my children when they are using the internet?
How do I monitor what my kids do on the computer and on the internet?

Let’s tackle these one at a time.

How do I protect my children when they are using the internet?

  1. Make sure you have read our article on viruses and Spyware and have taken the steps outlined to protect your computer.
  2. Keep computers in public areas of your home.
    Don’t let your children have an internet connected computer in their rooms. Keep computers in public areas where you can look in on them and see what they are doing.
  3. Forbid your children to enter public chat rooms. Make it clear to your children that they should only chat with people they know on one of the instant messenger programs (Yahoo, MSN, AOL, etc.) If you catch them chatting with people they don’t know, or in a chat room that isn’t part of one of the instant messengers, explain to them how dangerous it is and ground them from the computer for a period of time.
  4. Social Networking Sites
    All kids today want to have access to social media. First, make sure your child’s social media account is set to be private. This means only people on their friends list can see their information. Instruct your child to only put people they have met in person on their friends list. Instruct your child not to put ANY identifying information on their page. They shouldn’t put what school they go to, what city they live in, and of course they shouldn’t have any identifying information like address, phone number, age, date of birth, etc. Last, and most important, is that you, the parent, need to have a social media presence and insist that you be on your child’s friends list. Then you can periodically check there page to see what pictures they have on it, and what’s being said. If you see something you don’t like, make them remove it from their page.
  5. Tell your children about the dangers of the internet.
    Kids, for the most part depending on their age, are naive about how dangerous the internet can be for children. They have no idea what to look for or what to avoid. They think it will never happen to them. 
    Tell your children:

    1. To never give out ANY information about who they are, who their parents are, where they live, or where they go to school.
    2. To never arrange to meet anyone in person who they met over the internet.
    3. That just because the person on the other end of the internet seems to be a 13 year old girl, doesn’t mean that’s what they are. It could be a 45 year old man.
    4. that everything you read online is not necessarily true. If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not true.
  6. Do not allow your children to install software. If your children have a separate logon ID to log into Windows, make it a limited or non-administrator account. This will help protect the computer, but will also help prevent pornographic ad-ware from being installed.
  7. Forbid your children to read or participate on newsgroups. There’s a lot of bad stuff in the newsgroups.
  8. If your child has an e-mail address, instruct them to ask your permission before they give that e-mail address to someone, or register it on a web site.
  9. There are filtering packages on the market that attempt to filter or prevent access to undesirable web pages. Net Nanny is generally the highest rated one.

How to Monitor Your Child’s Use of the Computer and the Internet

As mentioned above, you should only have internet connected computers in public areas of your home. In addition to that, it is most helpful to have spy software (don’t confuse this with spyware) on your computer so you can track what your children are doing.

Isn’t this spying on my kids?
Yes, it is.
Won’t I be invading their privacy?
Yes, you will.
Isn’t that wrong?
That’s a judgment you will have to make for yourself for your children and your situation.
However, consider this question: What lengths would you go to in order to protect your children?
Remember, your children are naive, as they should be. They don’t understand the dangers. Even if you explain it to them, they don’t really understand and don’t have the judgement to know what’s dangerous and what’s not. If you are interested in monitoring what your children do on your computer on the internet, check out EBlaster.

If you have questions or need help with any of this, please give us a call.
We sincerely hope that this article has been helpful to you.

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