Internet Dangers

  Parent's  Rules ‘N Tools™

  Youth Safety Guide

  Safety Tools

  Harms of Porn

  Child Sexual Abuse

  Report a Cybercrime

  Big Cheese Sites

  Donna Rice Hughes

  Kids Online

       Chapter 1

       Chapter 2

       Chapter 3

       Chapter 4

       Chapter 5

       Chapter 6

       Chapter 7

       Chapter 8

       Appendix A

       Appendix B

       Appendix C

       Appendix D

       Appendix E

       Appendix F

       Appendix G

       Appendix H

       Appendix I

       Book Reviews

       Letter from Author

  Public Policy Updates

  MouseClick Maze (home)

Kids Online: Protecting Your Children in Cyberspace
Chapter 6

"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 software controls?
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 desire.

Answers to the following scenerios are explained in Chapter 6.

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
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 communications.

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 about content.

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.

Where Tools Can Be Located
Your Personal Computer
Online Service Providers
Third-Party (Remote Proxy) Servers
Local Area Networks (LANs) or Local Proxy Servers
Search Engines
Web Sites
More about Tools and Rating Systems: Making Choices
Customizing Tools
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.


© 2001 by Donna Rice Hughes. Request permission if you wish to reprint or post.