Parental control software is a tool parents can use to add a higher level of security to their children’s Internet surfing. While no kind of technological intervention is 100% effective, good parental control software can help prevent children from accessing inappropriate websites or other non-child friendly pages.
The way parental controls work is the software acts as a barrier between the Internet and the computer’s browser. It checks the flow of information coming from the web to the personal computer and blocks out certain subjects, URLs, images or any other inappropriate content.
This special software inspects content from three different ways to prevent children from accessing undesired content. Here’s what it does:
♦ Check URLs
The parental control software checks designated URLs against those listed in the blocked sites in their repository and if the URL is listed as a ‘bad’ site, it will block the browser from opening the website.
♦ Checks Text
Parental control software contains a list of banned words which are often the undesired topics parents do not want their children exposed to. Additionally parents should be able to custom design these lists and add additional words.
If the software finds any of the banned words in any position on the web page, it will block the browser from opening the page and return a message that the site is inaccessible due to parental controls.
♦ Checks Images
The way this works is the parental control software has programming code built in which can detect inappropriate images. If it detects something that resembles nudity or other inappropriate image built into the code, access to the web page will be blocked.
However using parental control software is not the complete solution to Internet safety for children and teens. This is only successful when parents are vigilant and establish solid rules and boundaries for their children using the Internet.
Good practices include time limits on the Internet, setting up the computer in a common area of the home, password protecting files you don’t want children to access and be sure your children aren’t using access with administrative rights to reset parental controls. Kids today are pretty savvy and an unsupervised child is going has a higher chance of meeting up with trouble online.
Parental control software is a good layer of protection to add to solid home rules regarding safe computing, but it is not infallible, however it is pretty effective.
Just remember, no level of parental controls is completely efficient and cannot be a replacement for good parental supervision. The ideal scenario is for parents or other responsible adults to watch what children are doing online and use parental control constraints.
Parental controls are good to help supplement security for your children, but the only real effective way to ensure a child has a good and safe Internet experience is to monitor their child when they are online.