Online safety for kids
By Ella Walsh |
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. This is an independent site set up by the Government to help people manage the internet. Along with providing good advice and useful information about the internet, it also has a free downloadable internet content filter.
  • Hector's World. This is a unique cybersafety initiative for teachers and parents to help young people learn about safe online practices and digital citizenship.
  • The Scam Machine. This site helps you understand how online scammers hook you in.

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This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot. Sources include Victorian Parenting Centre and SA Government's Parenting and Child Health

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