Controlling Children's Access OnlineJanette Toral
I recently got an inquiry on how I control the access of my children to the Internet. My answer is simple,“No Internet when we are not around.”
Adolescents or teenagers are in the stage of exploration and such can”t be stopped. What they don”t know can or can’t harm applies. It is all about having a responsible way of handling information and knowledge as they are encountered. If teenagers know what is right, regardless of what they heard or read, like drugs, they will stay away from it.
Some pointers that can be helpful in controlling Internet use are:
1. No computer with Internet connection is allowed inside the bedroom.
Internet surfing in our home is done in a common area where anyone can pass by and immediately see the PC screen.
2. No webcams, unless necessary.
I only use a webcam when a family member is abroad and that is the only time we take that out and use it.
3. Internet surfing only when necessary
Sure, the kids can go online and do their research. They can also log on to their favorite social network to edit their profiles, upload photos, send testimonials, and e-mail friends.
4. Remove admin access to PCs that children can use
This way they can’t edit the settings and install software without your permission. Prior to this, we oftentimes have to re-format our hard drive as the kids start experimenting with stuff they see online or software they got friends.
5. Install anti-spyware, anti-virus, firewall, among others
No matter how often you remind them about software download policy, they always get into this trap. So it is best to be armed.
6. No chatting
Kids can only use instant messaging programs and play chess along with it when I’m abroad and need to catch up. Otherwise, I’d rather let them use social network sites or just simply chat over the phone with friends.
7. Online gaming
They can play with free games, at least once a week, and sometimes earn a load credit once in awhile. Serious gaming is only allowed during vacation with 1 hour playing time, whenever they get to play.
8. Use prepaid Internet cards only
This way access time use is controlled and kids learn to control themselves rather than use up their allotted Internet access allowance for the week.
As a parent, it is best to give guidance when they surf and be willing to trust too. Let them know that there are not so good content out there and encourage them to communicate with you when they see content that bothers them. Give Internet etiquette lessons also so that they don’t get into trouble. This includes do’s and don’t in sending email or posting testimonials to people they don’t know.
For sites that are kid-friendly, check out the winners of the Philippine Schools Cyberfair winners.