| "An easy-to-understand overview of a complex subject... Commonsense
suggestions allow families to take back the Net so they can benefit
from the amazing wealth of resources available in cyberspace."
Jean Armour Polly, Net-mom® and author of
The Internet Kids and Family Yellow Pages
Is it really necessary to use protective software or parental
controls if I trust my child?
What's the difference between end-user software and server-based
Which commercial online services offer parental controls?
What types of technological tools should I implement?
Creating a Digital Toolbox
Child protection technology is abundant, but information on
determining which technology is appropriate for your home and
how to implement each tool is less plentiful and a bit more difficult
to understand. In this chapter I want to help you become comfortable
with the tools available to you and your family and to encourage
you to choose the tools that are right for your "digital toolbox."
Your Own Digital Toolbox
The beauty of building your own digital toolbox is that it allows
you to select the tool (or combination of tools) that will help
you provide a safe online experience for your child, depending
on your parenting goals, your relationship with your child, the
level of protection needed, and the amount of flexibility you
Answers to the following scenerios are explained in Chapter
Scenario 1-The Simplest Solution: One-Stop Shopping
I'm completely computer and Internet illiterate. I don't have
a clue which tool to use. What's the simplest solution I can
choose with the least amount of worry?
Scenario 2-The Safe and Secure Solution: I want
the simplest solution but I can't be present all the time
when my child is online. How can I make sure my child's online
experience is 100 percent safe?
Scenario 3-The Safe Yet Flexible Solution: I'm comfortable
with implementing software solutions. How can I select the
safest combination of solutions that allow a flexible approach?
Types of Actions
Protective software generally offers six types of "actions": suggest,
search, monitor, inform, warn, or block. I've described in detail
and provided practical application with examples, the types of tools
available to protect children online.
1. Action: Suggest
Where Tools Can Be Located
White List: Suggested and/or approved sites for children.
Suggested List for Open System: White list of sites, not
contained within a secure system, approved for children.
Suggested List for Closed System: White list of sites, protected
within a closed, secure system and approved for children.
2 Action: Search
Internet search engines are software programs that allow users
to enter a query and search all the indexed content that matches
that query, using a string of words or phrases.
3. Action: Monitor
Some products and services monitor and track only incoming
communications, while others log both incoming and outgoing
4. Action: Inform
Some inform tools are designed to provide information about
content whenever a user begins to access that content.
5. Action: Warn
Like tools that inform, warning tools provide information
6. Action: Block/Filter
Blocking/filtering software prevents children from accessing
inappropriate content. Blocking/filtering software can be
categorized as server-based or end-user solutions.
Your Personal Computer
Online Service Providers
Third-Party (Remote Proxy) Servers
Local Area Networks (LANs) or Local Proxy Servers
More about Tools and Rating Systems: Making Choices
Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS)
How Content Gets Classified
Questions to Ask Your Internet Service or Internet Access Provider
Imagine your software tools to be your child's key to the vehicle
that will carry him or her down the Information Superhighway. It's
a good idea to spend time traveling online with your child and then
monitoring his or her online experience to rate your child's driving.
Take the trip together.