Protecting your children online requires that you monitor their online activity. Many applications are available that allow parents to monitor and control what their children do while on the Internet. In addition, many monitoring programs allow parents to impose controls over what programs their children are able to access on a target computer.
When to Start Protecting Children Online
It is never too soon to start protecting your child by monitoring and controlling their online behavior. A child may encounter any number of threats while using a computer. A young child may inadvertently encounter age-inappropriate content. After all, it is very easy for any user to accidentally stumble across a porn site. From the first time your child accesses the Internet, you should have parental controls in place that limit their access to questionable sites.
Interactive Internet applications pose a definite threat to children. Accessing chat rooms and Instant Messaging other users may put your child in contact with a child predator. Child predators know how to engage children by pretending to be children themselves, or appealing to a child’s insecurities or problems.
Several applications that allow parents to monitor and control their children’s online behavior are available on the market. Most parental control programs are fairly inexpensive, ranging from about $30 to about $150. Invest in a content monitoring and control program that gives a parent ways to monitor and limit their child’s access to unwanted sites and other activities.
Take the time to purchase, install and configure the parental control software that best meets your needs as a concerned parent.
Continue Monitoring Your Child’s Online Behavior
A recent study of parent controls found that parents often cease monitoring their children’s online activities at age 14. However, most children that are reported missing from their homes are 15 years old and older. Parents should most likely continue to monitor their children’s online activity beyond age 14 as predators do not stop pursuing their prey because of a child’s age.
Parents would be well advised to continue to provide at least minimal monitoring of their children’s online behavior until the child is a young adult. Responsible children will be less likely to be influenced by untoward Internet content or unsavory characters. However, better safe than sorry. You can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of children.