It's an Internet age that we live in, and the children today are growing up to be more tech savvy than their parents could ever dream of being. It's a frightening reality to realize that todays youth may have more knowledge and control in viewing what's out thereincluding everything from free pornography to gambling sites.
Sometimes blocking a website may not be enough to prevent your child from exploring the Internet. Here are suggestions to keep your child safe, as you aim to manage their Internet habits:
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Establishing Expectations And Boundaries
Using the computer may be a given in today's world, but how and when we use it is still up for consideration. Sit down with your children to discuss the safety concerns you may have regarding their Internet use.
Set an expectation of responsibility, and allow your child to rise to that responsibility. Also, be honest about the fact that you will be checking in on their Internet usage, not to create an environment of mistrust; but rather to create a nourishing home of safety and respect. Accessing the Internet is a privilege, and one that your children shouldn't assume is always available to them.
Speaking of privileges, when and how frequently your children use the Internet is another essential conversation. Most routers now have a setting that provides you the capability to limit Internet access to certain times of day.
This means that if you don't want your children to use the Internet between nine at night and seven in the morning, you can actually enforce that policy. To prevent them from resetting the router to its factory default settings, consider putting the router in a place where it can be locked,like in a cabinet or in a closet.
Keep the computer in a public space in the home, like the kitchen or the den. This will prevent your child from having private viewing access while in his bedroom. Make computer time more oriented towards the family so there is no secret behavior.
Connect With Your Neighbors
Internet safety starts in your home, but can extend to the homes of your neighbors because wireless network access isn't limited exclusively to your home. Check if your child would have access to open wireless networks nearby.
If so, have an open dialogue with your neighbor, encouraging him to set up a password to protect the connection. This keeps the control in your hands, and prevents your neighbor from providing free Internet access for the whole block.
If you really think you need to keep tabs on your child's Internet habits, you can purchase monitoring software that allows you to review the files of the sites they have visited. Similarly, you can activate the logging function on the wireless router itself.