Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Safety in the Home: Safeguarding your Child's Internet Searches

Young Child Supervised While Using PCDespite our grandest efforts, there is no way we can fully protect our children from every negative, harmful thing out there on the Internet.

I have tried time and time again to integrate secure-search settings on my family's computer only to find they are either too restrictive or not restrictive enough. Even though I'm fully aware there are going to be times when my children will be exposed to things that aren't appropriate, that doesn't mean I've given up all my efforts to protect them on the Internet.

If you have a child who actively uses the Internet, here are three things you can do to make sure they are safely navigating the Internet.

Search with them

The first few times I let my children use the Internet, I made sure to stay with them the whole time. No, I wasn't just keeping an eye on them; I was also taking an opportunity to teach my children how to safely use the Internet. I wanted them to know about the dangers of Internet searches, sexual predators, and Internet downloads.

At first, they voiced their frustrations about my needing to be there for each of their Internet sessions, but they eventually started appreciating my Internet-safety lessons. Nowadays, I let my children handle their own Internet searches because I trust they've learned a great deal from all that I taught them in those first few Internet sessions.

Track their Internet searches

There are a number of programs you can invest in to make sure you're children aren't engaging in unsafe Internet searches.I've heard a number of friends recommend McGruff's Safeguard, but I haven't personally used it. Most of the time, I'll just check the most recent search history on my computer, since my children aren't aware of how to clear the history.

If you're worried your children might engage in unsafe Internet searches, however, go ahead install a program on your computer to keep tabs on your children's searches. Not only will this calm your nerves, it will also be a way for you to calmly confront your children without them being able to deny any evidence.

Activate the right safety controls

I'm not the biggest fan of safety controls. Not only do they hinder successful Internet searches, but sometimes they overextend themselves. Although these settings have the best intentions at heart, they walk a fine line between being helpful and just plain annoying.

If you're absolutely set on using safety settings, however, the best way to find the right safety controls is to test drive various settings. Should you activate a setting that prevents your children from visiting basic, necessary websites, lessen up the grip a little more. Just keep playing with the settings until you find the right fit for you and your children.

If you haven't already, always keep an eye on what your children are looking for on the Web. See how these three tips can help you in your endeavors.

This guest post is compliments of Silvia Brooks, a busy mother who keeps a watchful eye over her children. She contributes to HomeSecurity.org and is passionate about empowering families to take control of their safety by investing in quality home security technology. You can reach out to Silvia by leaving a comment.

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