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Manage your children's exposure to the internet

 

Wondering if there are ways to make sure your kids aren’t exposed to everything on the internet? There’s some pretty scary stuff out there as we all know!

Luckily, just like most of us cannot access YouTube or Facebook from our work PC’s, there are ways to filter what your children are exposed to online at home.

  1. PC filters are software programs installed on your computer which offer a range of different functions to block, screen or monitor unwanted content. Many filters can also be customised to suit the internet activities of each user. Here are some common features of PC filters:
  2. Category blocking enables you to select from a range of content categories (for example gambling, pornography) and decide which to block and which to allow.
  3. Time controls allow you to limit internet access to certain times of the day, or to limit the amount of time your child spends on the internet.
  4. Logging enables parents to track and record a history of sites visited by their child.
  5. Service blocking allows you to block or filter access to certain services, such as peer-to-peer, social networking or online games.

You can start simply by restricting the results of Google searches performed on your PC at home using Google SafeSearch:

Go to www.google.co.za, look at the top right hand corner of your page and click on the button called "Search Settings". This will take you to your page of preferences.

Scroll down to find the  “SafeSearchFiltering” option, and click on "Lock SafeSearch". This will activate strict filtering and restricts others' ability to change this preference.

When the SafeSearch is running, the icon (coloured balls) will be displayed on the top right of your search screen when results are returned for a search. This makes it very obvious to notice if your child has managed to de-activate the settings!

(You will need to create a Google account for this safety net to be activated),

In addition to the Google SafeSearch, most PC filter software comes with all of those features above. Next step is to get your hands on some. But unfortunately most filter software has to be paid for (and it isn’t that cheap, either). I found a wonderful website that reviews and compares an array of different software. Click on this link below to go there: http://www.monitoringsoftwarereviews.org/

What I’ve found from doing my own research, is that there are so many options available, and it’s difficult to recommend one as each is beneficial for different reasons and situations. The best option is to have a read through the reviews and decide which would work best in your personal home situation.

Good luck, and let us know if you need more help, or which software filters are working for you!

The Positive Steps team
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This article references information from www.PositiveSteps.co.za - a forum created to help parents embrace this exciting new era, as resisting it only leads to parent/child conflict. Whether it’s Mxit, facebook, BBM, tweeting or blogs – these channels help your child express who they are and allow them to identify with like-minded communities.

"Bridge the Digital Divide with your Children" is a free workshop presented by Lipton Ice Tea's Positive Steps program, with parenting expert Nikki Bush. Enquire about the next free Positive Steps workshop in your area.

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