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How to Childproof Internet Sites

by Barbie Carpenter

Your kids love surfing the web to connect with friends, read and learn. While the Internet can be a social and academic resource for your kids to explore, it also presents its share of dangers, including predators and identity thieves. In addition to these dangers, you want to protect your kids from being exposed to inappropriate content. Educating your family and securing your computer can minimize risks when your children are on the Internet.

Research and download parental control tools onto your computer. These tools can limit the websites that your children can access, ensuring they stay away from pornography websites or other sites with inappropriate images. You can find both free parental control tools and systems that you can buy. Select the one that provides the protection you desire, and follow the tool's installation instructions.

Monitor your kids' web access. Many of these parental control tools will keep a web-based log of your children's Internet activity. Checking this activity regularly has multiple benefits. First, you can ensure that the controls are working properly by preventing access to inappropriate websites. Second, you can monitor use of video-game or social-media websites, ensuring that your kids don't spend too much time on these websites.

Set up your computer in a public location in the home. If your kitchen is the hub of your house, place the family computer in that room so you can monitor your children's Internet use. While the parental control tools are your first line of defense, your watchful eye can ensure that your kids are accessing only child-friendly websites.

Talk to your kids about appropriate Internet behavior. Discuss the importance of never talking to strangers or divulging personal information on the web. Encourage them to stay on the lookout for signs of cyberbullying, such as threatening language, and report it to you immediately. An open dialogue about Internet safety can encourage your kids to come to you should a safety issue arise when they're surfing the web.

Tips

  • Keep parental control tools up to date -- they might require occasional updates, so check the software regularly.
  • If your kids use a tablet or smartphone to access the Internet, download parental control apps so you can monitor their use and protect them on these devices as well.

About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images