The Internet is a powerful tool and has become ubiquitous through many aspects of our lives, including the lives of our children. Children have readily adopted mobile technologies and are sometimes more proficient at surfing the Internet than their parents. Children can use the Internet for a variety of purposes, from education to fun. The Internet can be a useful research tool that can help them with homework, and also provides a powerful entertainment tool, with online games for kids and social media keeping them entertained for hours on end.
However, the Internet has a much darker side, and it’s easy to come upon content not suitable for children by accident. There are also those who will stalk social media sites in search of vulnerable and naive children, putting your child at risk from potential predators.
Keeping your child safe online can be approached in two very broad measures, blocking or monitoring.
Blocking software works very similarly to parental controls work on TVs. Parents decide which sites their children are allowed to visit, and which sites are completely off limits. While providing the best feeling of control, blocking can be quite ineffective, since blocking software only works on websites at home, meaning children can still get access to websites through their friends if they are determined enough.
Using monitoring software allows parents to monitor their child’s activity online, and even their mobile habits. This means parents can identify problems as they arise, and can explain to their children why the content of certain websites is inappropriate. A certain bit of deception is required, as monitoring is much more effective when the children aren’t aware of the monitoring.
The simplest way to monitor your children online is to check their browser history. But, as children get older, they get smarter, and it’s very easy to clear browsing history after a session. There is a variety of software available that ranges from quite simple to quite complex. The simplest software will simply record the browsing history, while complex software can provide detailed reports of all aspects of your child’s Internet activity.
Whether you choose to keep your kid safe online through blocking or monitoring, it is not the only precaution you should be using to keep your child safe. Staying involved and teaching your child online safety is necessary and will result in safer surfing habits.