In our on-going efforts at Cams to make
your experience as fun and safe as possible, we have created this document to
help parents understand how to protect their children from inappropriate online
The first step to protect your family is to install parental
control software on your computer. Some of the best-known and respected parental
control software packages are CyberPatrol, Net Nanny and Safety Surf. Also, some
ISPs (Internet Service Providers, the companies that let your modem connect to
the Internet) provide content filtering as part of their basic service. Check
with your ISP to see if this is an option they offer.
Parental control software works by blocking access to
specific websites and online content. In most cases, when you buy the software
it already contains a large list of sites that are inappropriate for children.
You can then update the software through the manufacturer's website or, in some
cases, the software will update itself.
Another way filtering software works is to block sites based
on key words, such as "sex." However, filtering software doesn't have to just
block access to adult-oriented material. You can configure the software to
filter for topics such as tobacco, drugs and drug culture, alcohol, violence and
Since there might be only one computer in your household, and
you might be using the same computer as the children, you can set up the system
to filter content during certain hours, such as when you're at work and not
around to supervise your children's web surfing. You can also setup the system
to create a password, that only you know, to override the restrictions.
Some programs can also block personal information, such as
name, address and phone number, from being sent from your computer. This is an
excellent way to protect children from potential online predators.
Many programs allow you to create different levels of
security and filtering based on the different ages of the computer's users.
Children can be given high security and heavy content filtering, but when you
log on to the machine, you can set it to not filter any content at all.
One thing to remember is that by installing filtering
software on your computer, you might also restrict childrens' access to
legitimate sites. This is especially true if you rely on key words (such as
"sex") for blocking. Certain key words appear on legitimate news and information
sites, so it's best to experiment with different settings when configuring the
Installing filtering software is no guarantee that children
won't be exposed to some inappropriate material online. New websites pop up
everyday, so it's important to keep your software up to date. Also, learn how
your Internet browser software works so that you can check the sites your family
has visited (this is the "History" feature, which displays a list of websites
visited by the web browser).
Talking to your children about the possible dangers that
exist on the Internet, and supervising their web surfing are still the best ways
to protect them.
Some key general Internet-related safety points for your
- Tell them to never give out personal information about themselves or the
family to strangers they might meet online or in a chat room.
- Remind them that online it's easy for people to pretend to be someone else.
They can easily change their name, age and gender in an effort to get close
- Teach them that they should never meet a new online friend without an adult
- Tell them to never give out their picture to a stranger, and that if they
ever get a picture with sexual content, or something they find disturbing,
that they should get off the computer immediately and tell you about it.
- Let them know that if they encounter something or someone dangerous that
they can tell you about it, and that you won't blame them or get mad.
Here are some sites where you can get parental control software:
Good Internet safety information sites for both kids and adults are: