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The Parent's Guide to Protecting Your Children in Cyberspace by Parry Aftab
Internationally respected attorney and cyber-expert Parry Aftab offers a sensible, clear-cut guide to protecting children from the dark side of the Web.
Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn To Use the Internet Safely and Responsibly
Nancy E. Willard
"Willard blends the perspectives of a wise parent and a serious scholar about issues related to Internet behavior and safety. . . Pick up the book, open it to any random page, and you will find on that page or nearby a wealth of helpful advice and useful commentary on the cyberreality facing our children and on how to deal with any of the issues she's identified." —Dick Thornburgh, J.D., former U.S. Attorney General; chair, National Academy of Sciences Committee on Youth Pornography and the Internet
How to Protect Children on the Internet: A Roadmap for Parents and Teachers by Gregory S. Smith
“Smith outlines methods for protecting children against online threats. He describes recent tragedies and shows how to protect against specific dangers, for parents or educators of children from age eight to 17. He specifically discusses how to monitor children online, with recommendations for surfing, blogs, and social networking; email; instant messaging and voice-over-IP, cell phones, and PDAs; and talking to children about risks. Information has been drawn from research reports, case studies, child advocacy organizations and web sites, interviews with experts and parents, and the author's own experiences as a parent, technology professional, and educator.”–Reference & Research Book News
i-SAFE Internet Life Skills Activities: Reproducible Projects on Learning to Safely Handle Life Online, Grades 9-12 (Jossey-Bass Teacher) by iSafe
Reviews: "This is a great book for students. Just as importantly, this book will assist parents to keep their children and families safe in Cyberspace."
—Peter La Monica, executive director, BeNetSafe.Org
"Our experience is clear: there is no fail-proof technical solution that will protect our students. We must train our students, teachers and staff to be aware and responsible users; no one provides better quality and updated training than i-SAFE. This book should be mandatory for any parent, teacher, or school site administrator." —William D. Piotrowski, Ph.D., chief technology officer, Leon County Schools
Youth, Pornography, and the Internet - by the Committee to Study Tools and Strategies for Protecting Kids from Pornography and Their Applicability to Other Inappropriate Internet Content, National Research Council, Dick Thornburgh, Herbert S. Lin
The book discusses social and educational strategies, technological tools, and policy options for how to teach children to make safe and appropriate decisions about what they see and experience on the Internet. It includes lessons learned from case studies of community efforts to intervene in kids’ exposure to Internet porn.
See: Parents Survival Guide to Online Safety">
Photo credit: “Boy Using Tablet Pc” and “This Is My Daddy's New Gift To Me !” by stockimages, courtesy of freedigitalfotos.net
Page updated: May 3, 2017
|What Parents Need to Know About Parental Internet Control Software
Parental Control for Cyber Dangers
Liya Panayotova is a counseling psychologist and writer the field of psychology. She is keenly engaged in educating children and parents on mental health and in helping families forge stronger bonds. She is currently writing a series of books on bullying and communication.
Article by Liya Panayotova
"I wish my parents would install parental controls on our [home] computer" Internet, declared one 13 year old who had become addicted to watching pornography on the Internet when his parents were not at home. While the teen recognized the danger of watching pornography, he found it too much to resist. Pornography is just one of the many dangers on the Internet that parents may be concerned about for their children and teens. Young people are online, not only on the home computer, but on all sorts of electronic devices.
It is no longer surprising to see children and even toddlers holding smartphones and tablets; it is rare to find a high school teen who does not have a Smartphone. It is only natural for vivid images, interesting sounds and interactive programs to be utterly captivating for the youngest.
What is more, electronic devices are not only a boundless source of entertainment for children, but they may also enable parents to take a breather while their child is occupied. Teenagers and young adults, on the other hand, often build a life centered around electronic devices or cyber communication. While all of this is a normal part of current reality, the cyber space also presents some very real and serious dangers, which all parents should be aware of.
More than half of all children who use the Internet are exposed to pornography in their own homes.
Image:stockimages courtesy of freedigitalfotos.net
What Could Be Dangerous About Electronic Devices?
Having electronic devices and the ability to go online is indisputably a tremendous advantage in many ways. There is open access to all types of information, connections with friends and family are easily maintained, not to mention that it can be quite fun. Unfortunately, this aspect of modern life also has a dark side, which can be especially threatening to children.
While online, kids may be exposed to inappropriate, even scary content—videos, photos and images, articles, music lyrics, and games may often be intended for an adult audience and thus can easily confuse, frighten, or traumatize children, even leading to dangerous behavior.
Sharing personal information and photos online may expose children, as well as their entire families, to crime and cyberbullying. Unmonitored texts and phone calls from strangers may also pose a threat to your child. All of this is certainly frightening, but of course, as with all problems, there is a silver lining. In this case it comes in the form of parental controls.
What Are Parental Controls?
Essentially, parental controls are tools that enable parents to monitor their children’s time online, as well as to keep track of texts. Parents should utilize at least some of the parental controls that are available in many forms, designed for different devices and preferences, but their basic intent is to protect children from anything that may be harmful in cyber space. Through the use of such controls, parents may limit access to certain online content, block the numbers of bullies or strangers and monitor what children are doing online.
Types of Parental Controls
Consider some of the several types of parental controls including browser controls, controls for smartphones, tablets, computers, gaming consoles, and controls that directly built into the home’s wireless router. Before choosing any software, you should be aware of the type of your device’s operating system as some parental controls are specific to certain operating systems.
Whether you choose to install parental controls on your child’s phone, computer or other device, it is essential to be aware of your options. Not all parental controls have the same functions, and every family, and even every unique child, has differing needs.
You can choose from five general options.
Please keep in mind that some programs combine several of the objectives listed below.
Filters: With this filtering software, you can choose certain key words, websites and types of content that will be filtered, or removed, from your child’s online searches. With filtering, you can restrict access to content that you see as inappropriate, including music videos and photos.
Use restrictions: Parents can determine what features of a program or device are appropriate for their child. You may restrict specific actions, such as using the camera of a phone, access to e-mail, social networking, or chat, etc. With use restrictions, parents can also choose the times of day their children have access to the internet.
Contact management: Parents are enabled to determine who may access their children via cyber communication. This often entails managing a list of appropriate contacts and blocking out those contacts that parents see as inappropriate.
Privacy protection: Through privacy protection a child will not be able to send personal information such as address, photos, telephone numbers, Social Security Number, etc.
Monitoring: This is a broad category of controls that enables parents to remotely view everything that their child does on a the Internet, whether on a computer, smartphone, or other device, as well as to monitor the child’s whereabouts. Often this means installing a program on your child's device that copies data, making it available for parental inspection remotely.
Some popular parental control programs you can install to your child’s phone include Mobicip Safe Browser Premium, Norton Online Family –To Go Beta, Nearparent, iHound Mobile Phone and Family Tracker, McAfee Mobile Security, ESET Mobile Security, Kasperski Mobile Security, Lookout Premium.
Some of the widely used parental control programs for computers and social networks include ZoneAlarm SocialGuard, MinorMonitor, SocialShield, K9 Web Protection (free software without many of the bells and whistles available in paid parental control software), AVG Family Safety, KidsWatch, Net Nanny Parental Controls, Norton Online Family.
Communicating With Your Children
Although installing parental controls can be useful in protecting your child from cyber dangers, it is important to remember that no program is one-hundred-percent secure and there is no way you can monitor your child's actions at all times. After all, children often use school computers or on their friends' devices.
As a rule of thumb, if children do not understand why internet security is important, they would feel violated by parental controls and thus might try to evade them when they can. More importantly, monitoring children’s actions, without their consent, may drive a wedge between youngsters and their parents. To avoid this, it is essential to discuss internet security with your children, in a calm and respectful way.
Establishing a relationship based on trust and mutual respect means that your child will be more likely to share their online life with you, rather than hide it and thus become exposed to cyberbullying, pornography, and other dangers. The key to having such a relationship with your children is talking to them often and really listening to what they have to say, rather than jumping to conclusions, overreacting, or becoming angry.
Open communication about the internet may not always be an easy goal to achieve, but many parents find that it is worth the effort. The education of your child on online safety will stay with them as they gain more independence as teenagers and into their adult years, providing a good foundation for a balanced life.
Parents: Take time to educate your children on Internet safety. Be an active part of their virtual life through good communication.
Government and educational sources, as well as educational and some religious organizations, encourage parents to keep the computer in a public area of the home rather than allow a child or teen to have a computer in his or her bedroom. Keep it public, so you as a parent can easily see observe how the Internet is being used.
See Keeping Children Safe Online - U.S. Government information, with Carnegie Mellon University
Consider implementing parental controls - You may be able to set some parental controls within your browser. For example, Internet Explorer allows you to restrict or allow certain web sites to be viewed on your computer, and you can protect these settings with a password. To find those options, click Tools on your menu bar, select Internet Options...etc.
Some ISPs offer services designed to protect children online. Contact your ISP to see if any of these services are available.
Children and teens need to realize that there are impostors on social networking who are pedophiles or sexual predators; at one time MySpace was home to 20,000 sexual predators, who, of course, usually pose as children or teens themselves.
Internet Safety Related Pages
THE EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community
Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D.
Effects of Pornography - Summary, Solutions
How Pornography Effects Children
How to Teach Your Child to Use the Internet Wisely
Free Parental Internet Filtering Software - How Good is it?
Child Online Safety U.S. Government information page, from Carnegie Mellon University.
Internet Safety - Notes from Newark Public School Conference
Cyber Bullying - Parents: What parents can do