Children working off the same computer or connecting to the internet the first time, especially in this age of net crimes, are always at risk. However, explicit content and malware also pose a significant threat for a child who wouldn’t be able to deal with them. There are several parental controls embedded within Windows. You have the option of turning them on or off, as well as collecting information about computer usage by enabling Activity Reporting. First go to the Control Panel and click on User Accounts>Parental Controls. You can apply Parental Controls on pre-existing, non-administrator account or create a new one for the purpose.
The different control options include the following:
- Web filter – Contains an Allow and Block list which you can edit. You can also choose to block some websites or allow all websites for the user to visit. Also allows you to modify the restriction level of the web based on key categories and block file downloads.
- Time Limits – You can set the time for which a user is able to use the computer. You can select different hour slots within the week and easily mark out which are to be blocked with a single click.
- Game Controls – Allows you to set the ratings for the games the user is allowed to play. You can also block or allow specific games on the computer.
- Application Restrictions – Let’s you determine if the user can access all programs or only the ones you allow. You can also third party web content filter software for maximum protection. A very effective one is Net Nanny. It can block illegal file sharing and even social networking sites. It also allows for remote management and monitoring of instant messaging programs such as AIM. The latter is especially important when taken into account with the number of malicious crimes perpetrated beginning from a simple chat conversation.
It’s important to advise your kids on safe surfing. Advise them on not speaking to strangers and explain how it’s very easy for someone to be misled on the internet. Tell them which sites they’re allowed to visit any why. Warn them about freely exploring on their own, as well as not to download any applications from the internet that come from questionable sites or. They should also inform you whether they receive any emails from people they don’t know. Explain the risks of viruses as well as the need to be careful even with attachments from people they know. Finally, if kids receive an email they don’t like from someone they don’t know, tell them to inform you immediately and not to reply themselves.