Online safety for kids
Filters, safe zones and labels are the most common ways you can control and monitor the material your child accesses on the internet.
While filtering software will help protect your child from potentially harmful or inappropriate material, you should never rely solely on the software to do the job of a parent. Computer savvy children can work out ways to get around the restrictions, and as the software is only ever as good as its last update, there is always potential for your child to innocently stumble onto a site that has not been picked up by the filter.
Parent supervision is just as important as having good filtering software, so make sure that you are always aware of what your child is doing on the computer. A good solution is to keep the computer in the family room or another area of your home where you can keep an eye on things, rather than your child’s bedroom.
- Filters are programs which block access to internet sites based on keyword searches as well as a list of banned sites. Using filtering programs, you can block access to chat rooms, newsgroups or any other areas of the internet that you deem inappropriate for your kids. You can also block your child from being able to give out personal information.
- Labels attach to internet sites, and are a great back-up for filtering programs. Users can view the labels and make decisions about material based on their advice.
- Safe zones are secure networks that are separated from the rest of the internet. These are usually the most suitable for younger children.
There are many useful sites to help you tackle this problem. These include:
- Netsafe. Police worked with the internet safety group on this national internet safety initiative. It promotes confident and responsible use of the internet, with plenty of advice on staying safe.
- Useful censorship links. This site, developed by the government and department of internal affairs, has a selection of websites related to internet safety, censorship and child safety issues.
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