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As our children grow into teenagers we all know the growing amount of problems we are going to have on our minds as parents. These are some of the toughest times we’ll face with our kids and the last thing we need is another problem to add to the list. Unfortunately, in recent years that’s exactly what’s happened; the rise in everyone’s use of the internet has given us another thing to worry about – keeping our kids safe online. And even more concerning, is that teenage years are probably when we have to worry the most about what they’re doing on the internet.
When it comes to young teens and ‘pre-teens’ it’s not so much what they seek out we should worry about, but what they might see accidentally or click through to out of curiosity. But as they grow up even more into their late teens, subjects like alcohol, drug use and pornography become the items on the top of parents worry lists, and the internet is the perfect place for teens to find out about these things. Luckily for us as parents, these days there are a few tools that can help us to keep our kids safe online.
The most popular tools for parents are parental control software and computer monitoring software, which both do a slightly different job, although they work very well in conjunction with each other. Lets take a look at what each one does…
Parental control software is a security application that will run in the background of your computer at all times. Whilst running, the software will scan any web page that is requested through a browser, before it is shown. As a parent we can customize the software to scan for certain things, or optimize it for a certain age group. In general the software will scan for things like pornography, gambling, violence, drugs and hate speech. If it finds anything it’s looking for, the page will get blocked, if it doesn’t it will be shown. Parental control software is great for children of a younger age, especially if you think they could click an inappropriate ad by accident.
Computer monitoring software works similarly but has a different end result. The software will again run in the background, but will simply monitor everything that happens, rather than intervene. The software will report to you every website visited, application used, and anything typed (along with a range of other things) and will show you when the action happened. Computer monitoring software works well with parental control software but is more useful for older teenagers when you are worried about something in particular. For example, you could use it to see if too many computer games are being played and not enough home work is being done.
Together, these applications make for powerful tools for parents and can save us a lot of worry. That being said they should usually be used temporarily and with discretion, and each parents situation should be judged separately. Using computer monitoring software on a 19 year old’s computer when they’ve done nothing wrong, for example, could be deemed a huge breech of privacy and respect.
If you’d like to learn more about parental control and computer monitoring software, head to Gecko Parents, where you’ll also find more information and help for parents of children of the digital age.
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