Thursday, March 13, 2008

Protect Your Kids Online by Not Relying Solely on Your Broadband's Parental Controls

When you sign up with high speed Internet providers, you have to be prepared to protect your children from the dangerous people who go online for immoral and illegal purposes. Kids are web savvy these days, and often make use of communities such as MySpace to communicate with their friends and share information, but that doesn't mean they don't need the watchful eyes of a parent checking up on them.

The following are a few tips for protecting your kids when they go online:

1. Communicate with your kids. This is the best way to keep track of the online activities of your children. However, for younger kids communication is not enough. You'll need to set up parental controls and filters to monitor content. Children under 7 should be supervised at all times when online.

2. Don't sign your kids up for online accounts until they're in high school -- old enough to be more aware of the dangers online. If your teenager has an online account, make sure you can access it yourself to see who your child is talking to. This way you can nip problems in the bud before they develop into something more serious.

3. Set parental controls on your computer's Internet browser according to age, and frequently research the browser's history to see what sites your kids have been visiting. Talk to your kids about the sites they have visited so that they understand you care about their safety.

4. Limit the sites your kids are permitted to visit and set aside time periods when they can use the Internet at home.

5. Tell your kids never to give out personal information online, either to strangers or by filling out a form for a service. Don't allow them to sign up for services without asking you for permission first.

6. Older children will be more reluctant to share information with you. Exercise trust as much as possible, but never stop monitoring their activity. The safety of your kids is too important.

Always follow your gut when setting up parental controls for online surfing. While some DSL broadband providers like At&t and Verizon have decent controls, this simply is not enough. Every child is different, so you have to create limitations and boundaries according to the unique needs of your family. Every few months, sit down as a family and have a meeting about Internet safety. Allowing open dialogue to occur is the best way to foster trust between family members, especially for older children and teenagers.

If your kids are not afraid to approach you with problems and concerns, they will open up more and will be less likely to keep secrets from you. Although high speed Internet providers offer some level of parental controls, you really have to step up to protect your kids and their best interests.

It can be difficult to balance the personal privacy concerns of your children with the need to keep them safe, but it is possible to achieve a happy medium. High speed Internet providers may give you access to the online world, which offers children great resources, but safety is not a given. But if you use the parental control features available on most operating systems and Internet browsers, and continuously monitor your kids' online activity, safety will no longer be a concern.

If you feel this article was useful, you can find more information about high speed internet providers at

JessePreneur is a serial entrepreneur dedicated to helping consumers save money through the use of information on the internet.

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