Knowing what parental control
options are out there is essential to any parent whose children have reached the age where they can go online by themselves.
Kids can easily stumble across inappropriate content, or they might go looking for trouble online. In either case, some of the following options might be useful components of the parental controls you use to keep your kids safe
- Site blocking and Content Filtering – blocks inappropriate sites based on algorithms that determine content, can be purchased software or a built-in component of your PC or the search engine you use
- Keystroke Logging – keeps track of user names and passwords entered online
- Time Allowance – controls duration and times of day when Internet use is allowed
- IM,Chat, and Email Logging – keeps records of both sides of virtual conversations your child has
- Built-in Controls – almost every computer, phone, and gaming console has options for parents to filter, limit, or block certain features of online use
- Web-based services – monitors your child's online activity, delivers regular reports to you, and usually alerts you immediately if dangerous activity is detected
- Parental Involvement – knowing where and when your child is online and actively enforcing household rules about Internet use,
Depending on your family's needs and what you hope to get out of your parental controls, you'll need to use any combination of these to effectively protect your child. I like the ease of use of uknowKids, which keeps tabs on your children no matter what device they use and watches their texting and social networking behavior in addition to the old standards.
It's important to be informed about all your options for parental controls, but remember that they never replace the need for parental involvement.Jenny Evans is a mother of four and a freelance writer specializing in parenting, childhood, and family issues.