Internet Intervention: Keeping Your Kids Safe on the Web
Online Safety Supplies
We asked Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety, to recommend tools that help you restrict your children's Internet access or monitor their online activity. The first thing you should do, she says, is set the parental controls on your computer. If it runs Windows Vista, you can use these functions (located under User Accounts) to limit computer use to specified times of day and to choose which computer programs or Web sites your child can access. Parental controls on Macs (located under System Preferences) can be set to automatically filter out adult Web sites or to allow access only to Web sites you specify. But other software you can buy can bring you even more peace of mind.For Safer Browsing
Instead of using Internet Explorer or Firefox, parents can go to kidzui.com to download this browser and search engine designed especially for kids. It offers access to more than two million games, Web sites, and videos that have been reviewed by parents and teachers.For Monitoring Computer Activity
Spector Pro, $100
This software automatically records Web sites, e-mail, i-chats, and search terms -- even every keystroke your child types. Its most popular feature is screen snapshot surveillance, which shows you exactly what your kid does online, step by step, with video playback.For Blocking Web Sites
McAfee Family Protection, $40
In addition to allowing you to block different categories or types of objectionable Web sites (such as adult or gambling), this software can filter content inappropriate for children under 18 on sites like YouTube.
-- Sonia Harmon
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, September 2010.