In many ways, the Internet is like its own world. And just as you wouldn’t leave your kid alone to play in a strange neighborhood, you shouldn’t allow your child to explore the vast unknown of the Internet without a little bit of supervision. That’s where monitoring software can be extremely helpful.
Why Monitor Your Child’s Activity?
When most people think of monitoring or blocking sites, they assume the goal is protecting young eyes from adult content – and this is certainly one valuable use of these programs. But blocking adult imagery is only a small portion of how monitoring programs can be used. Most programs can also:
- Eliminate access to social media and chat sites, preventing your child from interacting with strangers or peers who may be cyber-bullying them.
- Stop the download of programs and files that may contain viruses and other malicious software.
- Block games and other applications that a child may be using inappropriately, such as those preventing them from doing homework.
- Record online behavior so that you can see what your child is doing online.
In effect, what monitoring software does is make the Internet a little bit smaller. By blocking off unwanted sites – or limiting a child’s access to only a handful of pre-approved, safe sites – you are reducing the number of potential dangers a child may encounter. The extra accountability from knowing that someone is watching can also prevent inappropriate online behavior, which in itself may help to curb cyber-bullying.
What Program Should You Use?
There are a lot of programs out there, each with their own perks and drawbacks. Depending on your needs, you may even be able to use the built-in security features on your computer to block access to unwanted material. It’s worth doing a bit of research to see what programs are best for your individual preferences and budget.
No matter what you choose, just remember the most important step: Talk to your child about what you’re doing. Let them know they’re being monitored and explain to them why. Discuss Internet safety principles. By using the monitoring as a jumping-off point for conversation – rather than hidden surveillance – you can help to ease your child into a lifelong appreciation for online safety. Together, we can all help to raise a future generation of responsible Netizens.