Parents Internet Guide - Parental Controls

A Parent's Guide to the Internet and it's Dangers to Children, and Parental Controls software information.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Perhaps I Should Clarify

I am not a parent. I am in my early 20s and only a year out of college. In all actuality, I can probably relate better to a teenager than to the parent of a teenager because it was mere years ago that I experienced those awkward years myself. I remember when my parents first got the Internet. I was (and still am) much more Web savvy than them. I know that, at times, my curiosity got the best of me and I ventured into places and talked to people that I wouldn't have if I wasn't in the comfort of my own home. Nothing bad ever happened to me. I think my worst experiences were harassing IMs and emails from peers and I did the same to others my age as well.

I believe that parents should treat the Internet the same way they treat the 'real world' as they raise their children. Younger children should be monitored and given more guidance than older children. Parents should lead by example, keep tabs on what their kids are doing, teach online etiquette and provide information on the good and bad sides of the Internet. After all, in many ways the Internet truly is a virtual world. As children get older and earn more trust from their parents, they should given more freedom and be allowed to make their own decisions and, consequently, their own mistakes. I do feel though, that even as teenagers, kids still need some guidance and shelter from the big things, like those people or influences that can cause them serious harm.

I would like to, quickly, comment on the software that I support, Parent Tools for AIM and Yahoo! Messenger. The reason I like these are because there is flexibility in them. The chat rooms are set up to be disabled by key words or phrases only. So if you don't want your child involved in any chat of a sexual or violent nature you can disable those rooms while still allowing them the chat experience with their peers. Also, chat features have to be manually disabled, they do not come that way by default. Probably the most controversial Parent Tools feature is the logging feature. Remember, this only logs conversations on the specified programs, it does not prohibit Internet use beyond that. There is potential for abuse when logging conversations, but it was created under the assumption that it will be used responsibly. This software doesn't have a license. After it is sold it is the property of the buyer to use it as they wish. For more information on Joe (the developer) and his programs please check out what's right with the fight or visit his website through my links listed on the right.

My goal with this blog is to inform parents of the potential dangers of the Internet and provide them with links to resources that have more info than I do regarding education and safety tips. I believe I can offer a unique, and perhaps less biased, opinion of the topic as I have passed my teen years, but am not yet into my parenting years. I grew up with the Internet. Also, I work in the Internet business and I'm fairly tech savvy. I will try to better establish my views on the subject in my future blog updates. Again, to clarify, I do not believe in spying on responsible, trustworthy kids. I do, however, think there are great uses in logging conversations when there are well founded suspicions that something is wrong. To me, it is the same as searching a child's room when there are well founded suspicions that the child is using drugs or is affiliated with a gang, etc. Please read over my previous entries for more detailed indications of when something is not right with your child online, including warning signs of sexual predators and gaming addictions.

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