Monitoring your child's Internet useBy Jonathan Stromberg
Personal computers and the Internet have brought many benefits to society and to the home. They are now widely used in the schooling process, and 100's of millions of children and teenagers around the world use them for educational and leisure purposes. Unfortunately there are many aspects of the use of home computers and their associated use that can be of concern to parents.
In previous articles many of the major dangers of the Internet to children have been outlined. The first one of these being the large amount of undesirable factual and visual material accessible though it. This information is available to any child who is connected to the web, and some of it is is highly unsuitable for children of any age, with sites that range from fairly mild to those of an extreme, violent and pornographic nature. Worst of all, whilst web surfing the sites are easily accessible through search engines, simply by typing in any word related to the topic.
Once found, such sites can expose a child to photos, videos and stories of a highly indecent and often shocking nature. The child is then able to freely download as many files as he/she likes and save them onto disk, thereby hiding from parents what has been viewed.
SoftForYou is a software company that offers a wide range of software programs for to assist parents in protecting their children from the less desirable aspects of the Internet. Their three parental control and Internet filtering programs iProtectYou, CyberSieve and Chronager have incorporated into them an advanced monitoring system that has a wide range of functions designed to enable parents to keep track of when and how their child is using the home computer.
The perils related to web surfing and the content of many Internet sites, as mentioned above, mean that concerned parents find the monitoring system offered by SoftForYou to be a very convenient and thorough way to stay in control of their child's Internet use. These programs enable parents to keep a comprehensive track of which sites have been visited by the child, and how long has been spent viewing them. Therefore if the child willingly or unwillingly has been exposed to any unsuitable web site, you will be fully aware of it, and you will be able to take immediate steps to prevent it from happening again.
As well as the material content of many web sites, another potential danger of the Internet to children is 'peer to peer networks.' They are similar in concept to web browsers, but rather than enabling users to communicate and share information through a central server or website, peer to peer allows network users access to each other's computer hard drives to share files. The members of any one community can be from anywhere in the world, and it is possible to download a single file, an entire directory, or an entire hard-drive. With iProtectYou (or CyberSieve) you can monitor the nature of files that are downloaded (and uploaded) onto your or your child's computer.
Blog sites can also pose a hazard to children. A blog is basically an on-line journal. It is a very simple mechanism to control and provide content to a web page. The user just creates an account and begins posting content to his or her blog. Content can be pictures, music, video or text. This blog is often then freely available to the public.
Blog sites are generally open to anyone in the world to read, and a predator could start a conversation with your child by getting their chat name from the child’s blog/web site, by searching the user database profiles or by joining a chat room for which the child is a member.
iProtectYou (or CyberSieve) enables you to monitor your child's entry into blog creation sites, and to keep a track of any blog site that your child may create for himself. This enables you, if your are allowing your child to create a blog site, to monitor what information is been put on it and take appropriate measures.
Another danger of the Internet that parents need to be aware of is chat sites and instant messaging programs. These sites are very popular with children. Chat sites are particularly common amongst children, as they offer previously unparalleled opportunities to communicate in real time with people from all corners of the globe. However, not all of these people are benign. Many people use chat sites to seduce children and adolescents. Some of them are willing to expend considerable amounts of time and energy in the process, at first striking up a casual friendship, before slowly introducing sexual content into the conversations with children.
iProtectYou (or CyberSieve) enables you to keep tabs on what chat sites your child has visited, and when. Vitally, it also enables you to check the content of the conversation from both sides. This is an invaluable tool in protecting your child from the potential dangers of chat sites. Even if you do not look at each and every email or instant message they send, you'll have a good idea about what they are doing online. This is a major way to incorporate Internet child safety.
Asides from all the issues to children relating to various features of Internet use, their are other aspects of computer use that a parent may wish to monitor. The most common of these is computer games. They are extremely popular amongst modern day children and teenagers, and its not uncommon for a child to spend many hours a day playing them. Whilst some of them offer an educational and beneficial experience, many of them, particularly if played intensively over a long period of time, are though to harm a child's development. One example of this is the detrimental effect of the high level of violence shown in many computer games on children, contributing to the observed increase in violent behavior exhibited by juveniles in the last decade.
Chronager enables you to monitor what games your child has played, when and for how long, and so bringing you out of the dark of your child's game playing career.
SoftForYou offers two Internet filtering programs; iProtectYou and CyberSieve. Both have advanced filtering and monitoring capabilities, but CyberSieve, in addition to the features offered in iProtectYou, also enables you to monitor your child’s use of the Internet irrespective of where you are; in the neighboring room, at work, or even on vacation.
This can be a very powerful tool for parents, as often it is difficult to get onto the same computer as their child, and consequently difficult to get the most out of the monitoring equipment that is at their disposal. CyberSieve gives you extra power to protect your child from the dangers of the Internet. Please goto www.SoftForYou.com for more information.
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