Parents Internet Guide - Parental Controls

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

Friday, March 03, 2006

Online Safety, What Parents Need to Know

Keeping kids safe online means teaching them to be smart, responsible users of the Internet. Here's some information for children of all ages from

Teach Your Children To:
  • Think before they click: With whom are they chatting or e-mailing, what are they saying and how are they saying it? Will the person on the other end know they are joking?
  • Walk away from the computer and "Take 5" before responding to something that upsets them online.

  • Avoid spreading rumors, assisting in cyberbullying or sharing private communications online.
  • Follow the golden rule of cyberspace: Don't do anything online that you wouldn't do in real life.

  • For age specific online safety tips read the Online Safety Kit.

    Internet Needs Social Order!

    Browsing through MSNBC this morning I found no less than three articles on incidents related to the social networking site, On the radio this morning, two local radio shows were discussing the repercussions the site is having just in my area alone. This is absolutely ridiculous!

    Every other place teenagers go there are rules regulating their behavior. Schools, malls, rec centers, even just walking around the streets there is a mandate to keep their behavior in check or risk being removed from the area or, in extreme cases, punished by law. When then, are there no such rules for these online social networks? This is still a place for kids to congregate and exchange thoughts and ideas. Written threats and pictures of drugs, weapons and debauchery cover the pages of many Myspace profiles.

    Whose responsibility is it to regulate this? Do we throw this on the schools? Do we expect the government to step in? Do we need Myspace creators to be held responsible? Or do we simply hope that parents are keeping up with what their kids are doing online? Throughout the media there is a quite a bit of finger pointing surrounding this, but I think all parties share some responsibility. Just as we expect mall security to keep the peace in our local shopping centers, so we should expect Myspace to be regulating their online version of a teen hangout. Anything that in anyway involves the schools should be punishable by school officials. This includes threats made against particular students. The government has set such minimal law online at all its no wonder people think they can get away with anything and everything on the Internet. Lastly, parents are the first line of defense when it comes to the safety of their children. You wouldn't let your kids go out at night without knowing where they are going and who they are going with or meeting up with. Why then, do parents allow kids free rein on the Internet which, in essence, is a virtual world?

    How many articles have to be posted and how much media needs to get involved for the adult population to realize the seriousness of the dangers online? Why don't we stand up to this? Why don't we form parent groups and teacher associations to spread the word about the seedy side of the Net? This is a message that needs to be told. Who else is willing to speak out in order to keep our kids safe?

    Wednesday, December 28, 2005

    It Is A Virtual World

    Parents need to view the Internet like they would a large American city. You wouldn't take your child to some big city and drop them off and tell them to have a nice day. The Internet is like that. Its a vast metropolis, and you need to make children aware of what they are accessing. ~Shawn McElroy from the Ohio Attorney General's Office

    Read real life Internet horror stories at Learn how to protect your children online.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    Website Highlight

    I generally talk about the negative aspects of the Web while supplying information on parental control software. Well, in my surfing I recently stumbled across Family eJournal, a site aimed at connecting families through communication. Basically you sign up for a family journal. This way you can talk to your family online in writing, which isn't nearly as intimidating as in person. Its completely private from the rest of the world.

    So each day the members of your family login into the site and fill out a daily experience worksheet consisting of simply questions regarding your day. Each family can read the worksheets of all other family members. So you always know what's going on in evrybody's little world. It may take some time to get everybody to do it, but the benefits are worth the effort. Acoording to Ellen Pill, Ph.D.
    My daughter and I have enjoyed writing back and forth with each other in a journal for years and now the FamilyeJournal has made this same experience easy and available to everyone! It is a terrific way to keep up in the course of busy lives and the written word can't be beat for discussing sensitive and emotionally laden topics. I recommend FEJ to any and every family!
    I've added the site to my list of links if you're looking for it later.

    Friday, December 02, 2005

    Why You Should Be Watching Myspace

    Because everybody else is.

    This past summer gay rights activists got wind of a Myspace blog written by Zach Starks, a gay 16 year old. In the blog he discusses his parents sending him to Camp Refuge, a camp aimed at setting homosexuals straight. The activists rallied to his side and protested the group running the camp.

    In September two college students, Mellie Carballo and Maria Pesantez, died from over dosing on heroin. Both girls had Myspace profiles and their profiles on the site contained many drug references. Many people found their profiles and left remarks both nice and rude.

    Also in September Taylor Behl's abduction and murder was eulogized on her Myspace page. Taylor actually spent time talking with her alleged murderer on Myspace.

    Just last month it was discovered that David Ludwig and Kara Beth Borden both had Myspace pages. David shot to death Kara Beth's parents in early November and the two fled the state together, though they were caught a few days later in Indiana. On David's page pictures were posted of him hunting and gutting animals.

    17 year old Joshua Ballard posted his suicide note on Myspace just 15 minutes before he killed himself with a shotgun. That was only a few days ago.

    The press and the blogosphere quickly found these kids' pages as soon as the events occurred. In some instances simply viewing the pages may have prevented the events. There's no way to know for sure. All that is known is that these Myspace pages are peak into the perception of these kids. If parents aren't watching what they're saying who is?

    Thursday, November 17, 2005

    Cyberbullying Leads to Arrests

    Three boys age 17 and one girl age 18 were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder after posting threats in a chatroom. The boy against whom the threats were made was unharmed.

    How many times has a story like this appeared in the news this year? Cyberbullying is a serious offense. Your kids can get arrested for it whether the threats are real or made as a joke. This isn't school yard bullying where it comes down to a he said/she said match. These are conversations transcribed and saved on the Internet. Anybody can find them and anybody can print them out. This is hard evidence against your child. Install monitoring software and pay attention to what your kids are saying.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2005

    Easiest Identity Theft Targets are Kids

    This is because identity theft may not be realized until years later. For instance, when your child tries to open a new bank account or apply for a credit card. Indications that your child's identity may have been stolen:
    • Pre-approved credit card offerings arrive in the mail for your child.
    • Bank, credit card or other financial statements arrive in the mail for your child (excluding accounts held jointly by you and your child).
    • Collection agency notifications or calls to your child.

    Identity thieves get personal information from the Internet and use it on credit card applications. Talk to your child about the identifying information they put on the Net and the what could happen if it got into the wrong hands.