5 ways to regain parental control: your guide to computer filters for children
By Sherise Henry
With an array of images and messages available 24/7 on your child’s computer, it’s important for parents to have some way of monitoring what their child is watching. Many things can shape our children’s thoughts and behaviors and with too loose of a structure, adult themed movies and even cartoons can find their way to your child’s laptop or computer. Focus on the Family offers advice for becoming tech savvy when raising your kids. Focus on the Family suggests this advice from Bob Waliszewski, author of Plugged-In Parenting.
Have an honest and ongoing discussion with your children about the importance of protecting their minds. In fact, Waliszewski recommends having the discussion twice a year.
Use filtering software like ClearPlay for playing DVD and streaming movies in the home. Set it to remove unwanted violence, profanity, nudity, and sexual dialogue and content.
Make it a habit to read movie reviews from PluggedIn.com to find out about what is in the movie before choosing it to view at your home or in the theater. You can also follow up with a discussion about the movie afterwards.
Model wise entertainment decisions. It’s an absolute certainty that if you say one thing and do the other your child will pick up on it sooner or later.
Consider putting your family media guidelines down on paper.
Techradar.com openly admits that filtering tools can’t do all the work for parents, however they released a list of the best free parental control software for 2017. You can find the list here at TechRadar. In the meantime here’s a quick summary of their top 3 choices.
1) Quostudio-the free version covers the basics, enabling you to set rules and time schedules, block pornography and other unsuitable content, if you go for the paid-for version that adds SMS monitoring, social media features and per-app controls.
2)OpenDNS Family Shield- FamilyShield is a free service from OpenDNS. Its parental control tools automatically block domains that OpenDNS has flagged under the headings “tasteless, proxy/anonymizer, sexuality or pornography
3) Kidlogger-This free parental control software not only tracks what your children type and which websites they visit-it also keeps a record of which programs they use and any screengrabs they take.
Crosswalk.com also offers a few suggestions on filtering software such as Surfwatch, CrossingGuard and Cyber Patrol.
Whichever software you choose make sure its reporting features are easy to understand and access.
If you have reason to believe your child is in danger from online activity contact appropriate law enforcement officials. The FBI has established a Cyber tip line at 1800-843-5678.