Internet safety and the holidays

DEAN STEWART
Last updated 09:17 27/12/2012
kid on computer
KID ON COMPUTER

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The Internet is said to be the most public place where you may feel the most private. Children feel the most private at home, but when using technology at home, specifically the internet, it can be a dangerous environment for them to be playing in.

Parents sometimes feel inadequate when it comes to internet technology and will often find it too much to contemplate knowing even where to start. However, by breaking it down into small pieces, it becomes more understandable and easier to manage.

Taking an interest in our children's internet activities is the first step. Ask them where they like to go online. Perhaps get them to show you what they like doing online.

Educating children about some of the dangers online is a conversation that every parent should have with their child. Having that conversation when they are young is even more important. Some of the key messages are:

  • Tell mum, dad or a trusting adult about anything they see, hear or read online that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Never reply to bulling messages, but rather save the messages for future reference.
  • Be careful about what you post online, it lasts for a long time.

Monitoring and filtering software is cost effective, powerful in its functionality and a real asset. It helps identify whether what you are teaching your children is being put into practice. In 'monitoring' mode, its primary purpose is to make your children accountable. By placing the responsibility into your child's hands empowers them to make positive decisions.

The filtering component of the software is perfect for managing usage of younger users. It gives you the power to be more restrictive regarding what types of sites they can access. These restrictions can then be relaxed as children get older, and display positive usage of internet technology.

Monitoring and filtering software is available on all electronic devices, including mobile phones and tablets. However, your concern might also be related to text and picture messaging. Fortunately, software is available for that too.

Monitoring and blocking text messages and phone numbers becomes a breeze. Simply create an online account, install the software on the mobile device and all details are managed and captured from the one internet account you setup. You will be able to view all messages inward and outward, see all calls made and received, as well as applying any restrictions.

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Think of internet monitoring and filtering software as the 'dashboard' in a car. Driving a car with no gauges makes it difficult to understand how much fuel we have, the speed we are travelling at and our mileage. The same can be said for the internet. Otherwise we have no idea where our kids are going.

Dean Stewart is the Chief Executive of WebSafety NZ, a company that aims to help parents protect their children on the net. It offers remote services to install a selection of monitoring and filtering software.

- Essential Mums

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