As parents, we want to know that our children are safe at all times. And sometimes, we can forget about the dangers that lurk online as well.
Whether it’s adult content we don’t want our young children to see, or the worry of solicitation in random chat rooms, the internet is full of websites we don’t want our children visiting. Of course, educating them on the right way to behave on the internet is half the battle, but there’s also that curiosity inside every child, or that pop-up or bad link that can’t be avoided.
Without software there is only so much we can do as parents, short of constantly looking over a child’s shoulder when they’re using the computer. But luckily, software is available that can make our lives a lot easier.
Two types of application in particular are great for parents of children of a young age, especially when you are first trying to introduce them to the world of computing. This software can also help parents of wayward teens. Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about; the first of which is Parental control software…
Parental control software
This type of application can be downloaded and installed on the computer your child uses, and will filter and block websites depending on the content (text, images & videos etc). You can set up the software to be as strict as you wish, and when a website is visited the page will be scanned before it is shown for things like:
Gambling related content
Drugs & Alcohol related content
If content you have chosen to be blocked is found, the page will not show. Categories and settings will vary depending on the program, but most work very well and some will have extra features like just showing kids websites, or blocking depending on the age of your child. Some will even just blank out swear words so that sites aren’t blocked when it’s unnecessary, although almost all of this will be completely customizable in the settings.
Computer Monitoring Software
Computer Monitoring Software could be used in conjunction, or separately from Parental Control Software, but in a lot of circumstances will complement it well. Computer Monitoring Software can be downloaded and installed on the child’s computer and will monitor and log everything that the child does on that machine, for you to look over at a later date, or if something happens.
Everything will be logged, including anything typed, websites visited, applications used, documents opened and anything printed. Screenshots will also be taken of websites visited so you can see exactly what your child sees. You can have the reports emailed to you (Everything is logged and sent in secret), so that you can look through them from a different location.
Computer Monitoring Software is great if your child wants a bit more freedom from Parental Control Software, but you’re not quite ready to give them complete independence. It’s also great if you’re worried about your teenage child’s behaviour. Installing it can give you a good insight if you’re worried about them taking drugs, looking at porn etc.
Striking a Balance
Used together, these applications are all you really need to make sure your child is surfing the internet and using their computer in a safe and responsible way. But it’s also about striking a balance, and not taking too much of their freedom away from them.
Parental Control Software is perfect for young children, but choosing when to let them surf without it is a delicate matter. Similarly, Computer Monitoring Software can help give you peace of mind, but only use it when you really think you need to, using it all the time may be a breach of privacy. Of course, as a parent you have to decide what’s right for your situation!
If you’re interested in taking a look at some free trials of Parental Control and Computer Monitoring Software, head to the Gecko website, where you’ll find more information: http://parents.geckomonitor.com.