Is this more of ethical question about privacy and trust or is it more a question of practically and protection?
I remember having a computer in my room when I was a child, but that was before the internet existed, I feel really old saying that, but it’s true. I could play games, mess around with writing programs, but the outside world, was the outside world. It’s was the same with the telephone, when I grew up the only phone was in our hall and conversations could be overheard, so I had very little privacy.
But times have changed, technology has moved on in leaps and bounds over the last 15 years. Now children are exposed to danger within their own homes, that might sound like scaremongering, but it’s true. You only have to read the papers now to see stories of children committing suicide over abuse they have received from others while using the internet. Stories about teenage girls sending explicit photos to other people and then being blackmailed. Like it or not, the game has changed and I think there are a few parents out there that need to learn the rules of this new game.
So what can be done? What is the right thing to do? I know you want to trust your children will do the right thing and let them make their own mistakes but if your child goes out of the house, it’s normal to ask where they are going, who they are going with, what they will be doing and when they will be back. Now that is not considered an invasion of privacy but a matter of practically, but checking what sites your children are using and who they are talking with on the phone is considered an invasion of privacy? That has to be an oxymoron.
So what can you do?
Well, to be honest, the best way to monitor your children’s internet use is to have the PC in a communal area of the house and not in a child’s bedroom behind a closed door.
But there are tools available as well. Windows 7 has tools that can be configured to monitor times that the pc can be used, the games that can be played, and other specific programs that be run on the pc. OIC Solutions can show you how to set up these functions. If you install some additional tools you can monitor web usage and set up web site filtering.
Web site filtering could also be configured on your home broadband router to control access to sites. These are all services that OIC Solutions can set up and show you how to use.
As for mobile phone usage, there are programs like mymobilewatchdog http://www.mymobilewatchdog.com that can be installed on your child’s mobile phone and allow you access sent and received text messages and control application usage and web site filtering.
Of course, technology can be useful, but at the end of the day the best protection is to educate you child to online dangers, but to be able to do that, first the parent needs to educate themselves as to the true online dangers.
Here are some resources I hope you might find useful.