The Best Internet Security for Kids
Kids don't always understand the risks posed by Internet use and often need guidance in basic safety precautions 3. The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a voluntary cooperative from all states, warns families against the dangers of identity theft, cyber attacks and fraud through Internet use. The best Internet security for children involves adults combining computer security features, software programs and use of the Internet provider to monitor or block access where needed.
Positioning the computer in an open location that allows your family a view of the computer monitor is a good Internet security practice, according to the FBI, which recommends avoiding computer use in bedrooms or study nooks. These private locations give your children opportunities to talk secretly with anyone in the world. Open Internet use helps curb potential problems such as adults approaching children in chat rooms.
Parent Security Practices
Parents want to create strong levels of trust with children, and the best security practices for Internet use requires expanding this trust to talk about the technology use in the family 1. Creating a climate of open discussion about potential problems gives children the confidence to approach parents with questions about Internet security issues, including inappropriate personal messaging and requests to meet offline. Parents should also model best security practices by setting family rules about such practices as using a password to access email, rules for accepting instant messages or sending and receiving texts on computers and hours of use.
Operating programs have built-in security features that give adults the ability to set various passwords to log on to various devices. Safety filters block children from accessing the basic operating system to use the equipment. Apple operating systems, for example, allow parents to restrict access to various built-in software programs, including Safari, the company's Internet browsing software. Adults can use the restrictions on all types of computers to automatically block online TV shows, movies, podcasts, music and books from young eyes.
Software and Internet Provider Security
Software passwords limit access to the Internet, even when children have the correct passwords to log on to the computer, cell phone or other digital device. Software controls, including Microsoft, allow parents to monitor and track a child's use of the Internet using the browser history feature on the software toolbar. This feature tracks Internet website visits and offers parents a record of the viewed sites and online searches. The software browser also gives parents the ability to block websites and provide children limited access to select sites. After-market security involves purchasing software that gives expanded controls for adults to block specifically named sites and to limit access to the Internet to users logging on with a new daily special password or code.
- McAfee Security Advice Center: Family Internet Safety -- How to Protect Children Online
- Apple: iOS -- Understanding Restrictions (Parental Controls)
- KidsHealth: Internet Safety
- PCMag.com: Keep Your Child Safe Online
- New York Public Library: A Safety Net for the Internet -- A Parent's Guide
- Kentucky Commonwealth Office of Technology: Cyber Security
- Federal Bureau of Investigation: A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images