Computer is a useful tool, but like an open window that lets in some fresh air, it may also bring in pollution.
I always knew, in theory, that internet security is important but I was not fully aware of the real dangers in the Web World. Thanks to my experience as a technical support representative in an internet security company, I was exposed to many useful articles that discuss about this topic.
The World Wide Web (or simply the Web) is, in a sense, like the real world because we are interacting with real people and doing real transactions, be it personal or business. There is no such thing as virtual danger. All risks and threats in this “new world” may affect our life in different ways.
Three of the most precious things that we want to protect from the dangers of the WWW are our children’s attitude and emotion, and our money. I’ll elaborate about those things in a future article. In the mean time, let me share some technical tips on how to set up parental control to regulate our children’s internet use, gaming, and the number of hours they will use the computer .
In Windows XP, which is the operating system that most Filipinos currently use, you can set a sort of “white list” to ensure the safety of your children from unwanted websites. By using this feature, you can set which web sites you will allow your children to visit. If you are using Internet Explorer as your browser, click the Tools menu, which you will find at the top portion, then choose Internet Options. Click the Contents tab and then the Enable button to activate the Content Advisor.
In the Ratings section, you can rate particular categories by using the sliding bar so the Advisor could automatically block or allow a site according to its rating. In the Approved Sites section, you can manually set which sites you would want to approve or disapprove. Depending on your needs, you may allow or disallow all sites that were not rated by any third party ratings provider. Upon setting everything and clicking the OK button, you will be asked for a new password. To make sure everything is working as you expect, do a little dry run by surfing different websites.
For Chrome Users
Google Chrome does not have a built-in feature that serves as the parental control but there are add-ins that you can use for this purpose. One of the add-ins that I have on my PC is the tinyFilter, which enables me to block websites based on their URL and on keywords. URL is what many of us simply refer to as “web address”. An example is www.google.com. A keyword is any word that describes a particular website such as “social”, “adult”, “religion”, “politics”, etc. There are many sites where you can find software of this kind but here is a partial list from a blogger: http://computerparentalcontrols.blogspot.com/2010/07/google-chrome-parental-control-with.html
You might also find the need to limit the time your children spend on the computer. In the Vista version of Windows, this feature is built-in. Just click the Windows button, select the Control Panel and click on the User Accounts and Family Safety. Open the Parental Control link and start setting up individual accounts for each member (or group) of the family if there is none yet. With Windows XP, you would need a third party to have that capability. You may want to avail of the free 15-day evaluation version of the PC Time Limit, which you will find here: http://www.pctimelimit.com/index.html.
Approval of Games
In Windows Vista, you can also approve or disapprove games that your kids might be playing. When you click the Set Game Ratings, it will bring up a list of ratings made by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Games can be opened only if they meet the level of ratings that you have approved. This feature is also not yet available in Windows XP, so you have to buy or look for a free version of tools that do this.
Most Important of All
As I have mentioned above, the virtual world is a real world. It brings us true enjoyment and it may cause real problems. Therefore, we must take it seriously as we do in our physical world. We want our children to have the right attitude in everything they do whether in front of other people or in front of the computer. Setting up computer parental control is just a small part of our “cyber-duty” as parents but it is still about sharing the right values with our kids.Parental control is for less mature children. Along the way, what we want them to develop and use is self-control.