As opposed to other conceptual takes, Parental Oversight takes a different approach. We believe that given the right education (“online education” that is) and guidance, children can adopt a better, safer, socially healthier approach to online activity, be it social networking, online gaming, chat rooms presence and so on.
When children go online they face new, unknown dangers. We spend hours educating them how o cross the street right, how to keep safe and not to get lost. This is no different. Online activity is as much a daily activity as crossing the street, and as such, should be taught from scratch, as all new things in life.
Please note; Parental Oversight disregards all potential hazards and risks to your computer and data as a result of letting your children use it. This issue is addressedhere in more detail.
Online Risks for Children:
- Violent and nudity content (text, images or video).
- Solicitation by online predators in various communication platforms (chats, forums, social networks).
- Online bullying or harassment.
- Abuse of personal information & data.
- Transfer of malicious software.
- Solicitation to download illegal materials, such as copyright-protected music files.
- Side effect – neglecting offline activities (such as homework, domestic chores etc’)
General Safety Precautions:
- Educate! Let your child know the potential hazards that are present online. Do it wisely, do not scare them, but embed the caution they need to be safe out there, or at least the wisdom to sense a mischief.
- Generate a set of rules, together, as for what good and allowed and what’s wrong and off limits – in which you go through the websites your child is interested in. Make it a fun thing to do together, in order to ensure your child is not holding back the real sites he\she are interested at.
- Make use of dedicated software. Nowadays the related software is divided into a few sections;
Monitoring & Report Parental Control software – with which you track and review your child’s online activities, emails and chats. Both visible and stealth modes are available.
Parental Control software – make sure your child does not even get to those spots you consider hazardous. The controlling software allows various restriction levels and are pretty much pre-configured to the common set of rules.
Aiding – help your child to get their way, but safer. Set them an email account to be used for sign ups in various sites. This will both help your child and let you be aware of the child’s interests and where they have signed up…
Some ISPs offer a built in parental Control feature with their package. These are usually good for the above uses, but if you need a better, more extensive feel of safety, you need to consider downloading one of the reviewed software available here.
- Personal information blockers: the software recognizes whenever a web page asks for personal information and denies that option from the user.
- Online tracker: creates an activity log detailing the websites and pages the child has passed through.
- Key logging: creates a log of the keystrokes the child has typed since the session started (his emailing, instant messages etc’)
- Time counter: limits the session time, and shuts down the connection for a given break-time after the time you have set for the child has passed (this can be per session, per day and so on.)
- Blocking: the software will block any flagged site for sexual content, violence and so on. The embedded list can be edited, and if you find unwanted sites you can add them to the list.
Recognize the need
One of the hardest things to deal with is the knowledge that you need to track and monitor your child. Not only that, but you also need to realize when that time actually comes. Monitoring your child’s online activity should start regardless of a certain occasion. As all precaution steps, this too, should be initiated without the actual need for it.
Before downloading any specific Parental Control Software, do the following steps:
- Browse through the recently visited sites in the Internet Explorer (a short How-To per browser is available here). See for yourself where your child has been visiting for the past few days.
- Check out the temporary files folder. Your PC whether you are aware of it or not, keeps track of images in sites you have visited. It is done in order to speed up your surfing performance, in case you return to that specific page. A quick view at the images there should give you a first heads up if needed; regarding adult materials and such (a short How-To is available here).
Please Note! A lack of the above two does not necessarily mean you have nothing to worry about. Some browsers and some preconfigured computers do not keep these files for long, so you may have visited them just after the last cleanup…