Keeping children safe from the potential dangers of the Internet has become a priority for parents across the world. It is impossible to physically supervise the kind of content children are accessing on the internet, given the fact that in most families both the parents are away at work for the better part of the day. This makes online safety a veritable challenge and has become one of the most common concerns in every household today.
Setting parental controls is therefore the best way to ensure your children stay protected. . . Parental controls are filters that block offensive sites and prevent children from being able to view inappropriate content.
How parental functions control online activities:
- Stipulate time limits on your children’s Internet use
- Determine the type of games that can be accessed
- Forbid the use or viewing of specific programs
- Monitor content that children are browsing online
- Set profiles to match individual family members and the level of access to be granted to each one
Types of parental controls
There are three types of controls parents can use – networking, device and application controls.
- Network controls are applied to the main hub and cover all the devices connected to that hub or router. These are also referred to as ‘whole home filters, as they control the content on any device that is hooked on to the home router.
- Device controls are set on specific devices and apply wherever that device is connected to the Internet, regardless of the location. Most gaming consoles come with controls that can be enabled to restrict access to inappropriate content, giving parents the ability to decide what they will permit their child to be exposed to.
- Application controls are enabled on platforms that are most commonly used, for example Google, Bing or You Tube. All major search engines have filters that can be set up to block access to adult sites and explicit content that you wouldn’t want your child to come across while browsing online. Another way to achieve this is by promoting the use of child friendly search engines such as Swiggle and Safe Search UK.
A check-list of parental controls
- Enable home broadband parental controls
- Activate controls on search engines
- Protect each and every device used by your child (home and hand held)
- Adjust privacy settings on social networking sites that filter unsuitable advertisements in feeds
- Block pop-ups to prevent unsuitable content from sneaking in
How effective are parental controls?
Filtering content is not the only way to promote internet safety – ongoing conversations are just as important. The best way to protect your children from the potential dangers of the Internet is by talking to them and keeping them informed about the risks posed by the online world and how it could impact their lives. These family discussions prove to be the most effective when it comes to instilling a sense of right and wrong and in ensuring that children make the correct choices.