Monday, 18 February 2013

Your Child- The Best Internet Filter

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Your Child- The Best Internet Filter

The internet can be a dangerous place for kids. Instead of providing a wealth of only positive information, it's a place where you can also easily access adult content and violence, come across predators and more. Cell phones for kids and other electronic devices can become a harbor for problems.

Even if your kids aren't looking for trouble on the internet, they may inadvertently find it. For this reason, it's important to take an inventory of all the electronic devices in your home and identify ways to make them child friendly. One way to do this is by installing internet filters. You may even consider adding cell phone monitoring software to the phones you supply your kids.

While this can help to protect them, it is unfortunately not always enough to keep them from harm. Technology evolves quickly, and oftentimes, all you have to do is search online to find instructions on how to work around a filter or establish a proxy connection in order to bypass these safety nets. Even if the applications you install are extremely good at blocking and filtering, it doesn't mean your child can't access inappropriate content at the library, on other kids' phones at school or at a friend's house. How Can You Protect Them?

When you think of all the things that could go wrong, and all the ways your kids can access information online, it's likely you'll come to the conclusion that there's just no way to absolutely keep them away from these things. The only true defense your child has is her or himself. While it's still essential to avoid unnecessary exposure to inappropriate content through tools such as filters, it's paramount to teach your children about online dangers and arm them with the knowledge they need to make choices that can keep them safe.

Teach Your Kids about the Dangers

Discuss the consequences of certain online activities with your child. Teach your children that it's very easy to share data online and difficult to get rid of it once it's gone digital. This includes online posts and text messages. For instance, a 2008 study called Sex and Tech conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and showed that 40 percent of the teens involved in the study said that they had seen an inappropriate message that was meant to be private but had been shown to them. Help your children understand that what they post online can affect their future job opportunities. Explain how online predators create relationships of trust and then exploit their victims. Teach them that people can lie about what they look like and who they are.

You don't have to be an expert on internet safety to teach your children how to avoid dangerous situations. In addition to this, you can teach your children about dangers that exist online in age-appropriate ways. It's never too young to start because children learn how to navigate electronic devices at younger and younger ages. If you're not sure how to teach internet safety for kids, you can find resources for talking to your kids at sites such as and

Set Clear Boundaries WITH Your Kids

Once you teach your kids about the dangers online, set clear boundaries with them. Discuss ways you can work together to create a safe environment online. Discuss what appropriate internet use is and what it is not. Remember in your discussion that cell phone safety is just as important as being safe on a computer or other electronic device.

Together, sign an internet safety pledge that you can post next to the computer. The website for Family Online Safety Institute,, provides an internet safety pledge, as does The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, You can also find others online.

In the study listed above, 57 percent of the teens surveyed said a reason they may decide not to send an inappropriate pictures of themselves is that they don't want to disappoint their family. This doesn't mean that you should guilt-trip your child into making wise online choices, but it does show that at least in the group studied, teens and young adults care about what their families think about their online choices. When you set rules with your kids and explain why those rules are important, they'll be much more likely to follow them.

Continually Communicate

Just as performing parental duties isn't a one-time thing, communicating with your kids about online safety is also something you can't do just once. It's important that you have an open and honest relationship with your kids because if they do come across something online, they'll be more likely to come to you about it instead of dealing with it on their own. Even if your kids are older, you can still work on creating an open line of communication. If you need some help with communication, Therapist Jeff Ford teaches about talking to kids in five short videos on the website.


While it's still vital to put up internet safety nets such as filters, nothing replaces teaching your children what is appropriate and what is not. Set clear boundaries with your kids, and maintain positive, open communication with them. Your children are the best internet filter available when they commit to safe practices online. Contributed by: By Kimberly Bowen. You may read the full article here:
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