As adults we often take the Internet for granted. We know it exists and we know it contains websites related to every subject that exists, no matter how niche that subject matter may be, but we’re still quite blase about it all. Which can make us forget or ignore that inquiring little minds may find it hard to resist exploring.
In addition to the informative, educational, or entertaining resources on the Web there are dark corners where many fear to tread. This means parents have to at least bear in mind the dangers that lurk online. But what to do about this issue? This was the subject of last week’s ‘We Ask You‘ column. What follows is a compilation of the thoughts of the MakeUseOf readership.
What Steps Do You Take To Protect Your Children Online?
We asked you, What Steps Do You Take To Protect Your Children Online? The responses were very varied, which suggests that this issue is a personal one with no right or wrong answers. Each parent/set of parents must decide themselves what steps they want to take, if any, to protect their children from the inherent dangers of the Internet.
Some people use nothing more than common sense and the bare minimum of parental controls. Restricting kids to using a shared computer placed in a family room is a popular safety measure. Others use more stringent precautions such as Windows Live Family Safety or K9 Web Protection, both of which can be used to restrict certain domains or activity. And both of which are free.
Comment Of The Week
Comment of the week goes to Espen, who gets nothing but my admiration and respect (which is surely more than anyone needs) for:
I (and my siblings) started using the Internet early, and my parents never installed any parental control. I turned out fine, and I don’t think monitoring your children is a solution. It is better to sit down with them and show them how to browse safely. Common sense is the best weapon, and it shows you that you trust them, which is extremely important.
This comment is interesting because it originates from the other side of the debate. Espen has grown up with the Internet and was given the freedom to explore it at will. In a further comment Espen admitted coming across things online occasionally that weren’t exactly suitable for a child to see. But doing so hasn’t harmed anyone. It’s up to the individual parent whether to take that risk or not.
We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. ‘We Ask You’ is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.
Image Credit: Andrew Stawarz