More and more children have their own computers, and these are often in their rooms, far from the living area of the house. When the computers are in the child’s bedroom, it is often impossible for parents to monitor the web content that the child is viewing. Although the Internet is a necessity for many kids for schoolwork, it has many websites that are not appropriate for them to see. It is the parent’s responsibility to protect the child from viewing inappropriate materials, and there are parental controls and filters that can help with this.
Web filter software can be purchased, but there are some very good free downloadable programs that can limit what a child sees online. It can also monitor the browsing that the child is doing by keeping a record of this. When this software is installed, it also keeps a child from sending or receiving content that is not appropriate. One of the most important things that it does is protect children from online predators.
One free downloadable filter is from K9webprotection. It has real-time categorization of new adult websites, and there are over 70 categories that can be blocked to keep a child from seeing inappropriate material. These include drugs, violence, racism, and pornography. It forces a search on all major search engines before allowing material to be viewed, and if parents want to designate whether to block or allow material every time, this can be done as well. The Internet can also be completely blocked during certain time periods, such as when young children are playing game software on the computer at certain hours such as after school. If parents need to use the computer and something is blocked, they have the option of overriding the block with a password. Kids will not be able to break through the block though, thanks to the enhanced anti-tampering that the filter provides. It is compatible with Windows or Mac computers.
B Gone is another option for parents to use. Parents can block websites by entering keywords, and it can keep porn popups from appearing on your child’s monitor. It can keep a curious child from trying to monitor inappropriate websites as well.
Parents who want to ensure that their kids do not send or receive files will want to install File Sharing Sentinel, a free parental control filter that blocks file sharing P2P software. This software needs to be installed for the purpose of blocking file sharing, and if other filters such as porn blocking are desired, these require another filter. File Sharing Sentinel can save parents money because it blocks kids from sharing files of music, and breaking copyright laws. This illegal activity can cost thousands of dollars in fines that parents must pay for their child’s activity if they are caught. File sharing networks are often the favorite hiding place where child predators stay, knowing that kids often use these sites to share music or games. Viruses are often disguised as games and MP3 files, so this software protects your computer from these as well.
Open DNS Basic and DNS Family Shield are other free filters that make it difficult or impossible for children to find websites that parents do not want them to see. The Family Shield stops adult sites, as well as phishing sites, virus-spreading malware sites, and parents do not need to customize the filtering. The Basic software does require more parental work to set it up that involve going through 54 categories of sites to block or not block. Older teens and kids may be able to bypass some of the blocked sites, but this software, like all others, makes that unlikely.