How to Supervise Your Child's Computer Use

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It may be easy to know where our children are, whom they are going with, and what they are doing. However, in the digital world where even our youngest kids are spending a rising amount of time, we are often decreased to the role of spectators. Our kids, even little ones, may very well comprehend today technology better than we do.

Face the new world

Nowadays, one’s digital life begins early, sometimes as early as in toddlerhood, and increases with the speed of light. As a parent, you have every reason to be worried about your children. They are able to say things to or about each other online that they could never say in person. This can result in toxic gossip, cyberbullying, and destroyed reputations. For the digital part of our kids’ social lives occurring outside our view, we need to ask dull questions and keep track of what they are doing. This is where it gets awkward. Many parents feel queasy at the idea of digitally monitoring their kids. Is it really fine to closely supervise kids ‘digital behavior? It relies on how far you go.

Believe, but verify

If they know you are spying, their self-monitoring instinct will rise up. One of the best ways you can do it is putting the computer in a central location. This can help you keep track of things. Just wander by and playfully ask, “Hey, what website is that?”

Yes, you want to believe in your kids. But their words alone may not be enough to protect them. Try to have the positive conversations. If you keep repeating “You are on the computer too much” or “Do not visit that website,” it becomes a point of stress. Then, check regularly to be sure you kids are honest. Learn how to use your browser’s history function to see which sites have been accessed to recently and what has been downloaded. If you want to have more detailed information, try to use monitoring softwares.

All-seeing software

There are two categories of typical monitoring softwares:

1. Blocking software allows parents to make a list of approved websites and block all others. It can record all attempts to access unapproved sites. Some programs will give you a message if that happens. You can also limit when and for how long the computer can be used.

2. Recording software will make a record all data that is sent, received, downloaded, and viewed. It also takes a shot of the screen. If you are not able to view all data you can flag keywords (like sex-related words) and get warnings if these words are used.

Built-in protection

For Windows users, the parental controls are accessed through the Control Panel. Find User Accounts and Family Safety Control Panel. With Windows Vista, there are choices about web limits and also the option of receiving reports on your child’s use of the computer. You can create certain hour-off limits and block offensive video games and programs.

No matter what your system is, most browsers (Safari, Firefox, for example) have an automatic history record that shows which sites have been accessed. Check your user manual to know how to check the history. Be sure to check all the browsers on your computer if you have many. And be alerted: Kids can delete the history to cover their tracks, so ask questions if you find out that the history was removed by someone other than you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

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