The internet could be considered an entry into a brave new world for this millennium. To be successful in this world you must have access and knowledge of how to use the internet. Children that are able to use the internet will be better prepared for high school, college and the job market.
Lawrence J. Magid of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children states, “millions of people are now going online to exchange electronic mail (E-mail) and instant messages; participate in chat groups; post and read messages in newsgroups, which are sometimes called bulletin boards; “surf” the world wide web; and many other online activities. Children are no exception in fact they are more likely to be online than adults.” The internet is a powerful, educational learning tool that can also be extremely dangerous for children.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006, Austin American -Statesman reported that a teenagers , mother was suing http://MySpace.com for $30 million the suit filed in Travis County claims popular Internet site fails to protect children from adult sexual predators. The lawsuit includes news reports of other assault cases in which girls were contacted through MySpace. The real question here is should MySpace be held responsible for the safety of your child or is that your job.
MySpace is not the only social networking website just the largest boasting a membership of 70-80 million users, Bebo ranks 2nd with a membership of 23million users and other popular teen sites include http://WeeWorld.com, http://Friendster.com, http://Tagged.com, http://Xanga.com and http://Orkut.com. An article published on June 4, 2006 in Fairfield New Zealand Ltd., Stuff on, “Social Networking Websites Target NZ Teens in Turf Battle” by Kent Atkinson asserts that, children flock online to hang out with friends, express their hopes and dreams and bare their souls with often painful honesty – mostly unbeknownst to their tech-clumsy parents.
All of theses incident have occurred within the last couple of months. There are so many safety features on the internet for parents to use that these incidents should not have happened. You would not send you child outside to play on a busy freeway because it is dangerous, well so is the internet. Parents are going to have to accept the responsibility of monitoring their child’s usage on the internet. There are many tools to help the novice internet users and the expert internet users monitor there children.
INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS WITH PARENTAL CONTROLS
AOL Parental Controls
Monitor online activity with AOL® Guardian
Opt for AOL® Guardian “report cards” that show your kids’ Web surfing, e-mail and IM activity.
Limit their online time
Monitor how long your kids are online. Set controls by day, time of day or session length.
Approve e-mail contacts
Help your kids’ communicate with friends by creating a list of approved e-mail addresses.
Manage settings away from home
Manage Parental Controls remotely via http://AOL.com. You don’t have to be there to monitor your kids’ activity and Internet safety on AOL.
Limit access to other software, too
Prevent your kids from viewing inappropriate web content on an external browser (like Microsoft® Internet Explorer) and block other Internet applications outside AOL.
Earthlink, Parental Controls
Web Blocking and Filtering
Limit your child’s Web surfing to EarthLink’s list of more than 15,000 kid-friendly Web sites, or let your kids visit all Web sites except for the 3 million sites that EarthLink has blocked. You can also create your own lists of approved and blocked Web sites. Even if a site is not specifically blocked by you or EarthLink, Parental Controls can automatically check the language on all Web pages your child visits and remove inappropriate language before displaying them. If the number of inappropriate words on a Web page is excessive, Parental Controls blocks the site completely.
CyberFriends are the people you allow your child to communicate with online. You create a list of approved pals—friends and family—so that you don’t have to worry about your child being bothered by strangers. You can also define which features of the CyberFriends Communicator (email, chat, bulletin boards, instant messaging, etc.) your child can use.
If someone who is not a CyberFriend sends email to your child, Parental Controls locks that email so that you can review it first. You can then unlock the message so your child to see it, or simply delete it. Parental Controls also locks email that your child sends to non-CyberFriends; you can either unlock or delete those emails, too.
If you’re concerned about your child spending too much time online, you can restrict the hours per day, week, or month that your child can use the Internet.
SBC Yahoo Parental Controls
Parental controls to help you exercise control over the content your children can view on the Internet
AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet Parental Controls
Software allows you to control your child’s time spent online, access to web sites, email addresses, and more. It even sends weekly report cards.
Norton Parental Control Blocks access to Web sites and newsgroups that you consider unsuitable for children. It provides you with an option to set up different Internet access privileges for each person in your household and limit their browsing capabilities.
The list above represents ISP companies that specifically address parental controls. There are many Internet Service Providers that may have parental control check with your service provider to see if available to you.
SEARCH ENGINES WITH FILTERS
Many users prefer not to have adult sites included in search results (especially if their kids use the same computer). Google’s SafeSearch screens for sites that contain explicit sexual content and deletes them from your search results. No filter is 100% accurate, but SafeSearch should eliminate most inappropriate material.
You can choose from among three SafeSearch settings:
• Moderate filtering excludes most explicit images from Google Image Search results but doesn’t filter ordinary web search results. This is your default SafeSearch setting; you’ll receive moderate filtering unless you change it.
• Strict filtering applies SafeSearch filtering to all your search results (i.e., both image search and ordinary web search).
• No Filtering, as you’ve probably figured out, turns off SafeSearch filtering completely.
Yahoo! Family Account
Yahoo! Family Account is a free account that allows you to control the information your child shares with Yahoo! and to maintain and monitor their account on an ongoing basis. With your Yahoo! Family Account, you can:
• Create separate Yahoo! IDs for each child under 13 in your family.
• Modify your child’s account information and other information stored on Yahoo!.
• Modify your child’s Yahoo! Mail Block List and Yahoo! Messenger Friend List and Ignore List.
• Sign in as your child to modify any aspect of their account.
• Protect your child from accessing certain age-restricted areas of Yahoo!.
Yahoo! Family Accounts also offers a set of resources to help your family learn to safely surf the Web.
Children’s Search Engines
These search engines are designed specifically for children and have built in filters.
ASK FOR KIDS
The only way that you can be sure that your child is safe on the internet is to monitor your child’s activities. You must spend as much time reviewing and checking your child’s internet surfing as you would teaching your child to hit a baseball. Surfing the internet safely is a skill that you will have to teach your child, it may also be a learning opportunity for you.