The Road Ahead : December January 2009
features trap PARENT Keep your kids safe when they are online. A s kids grow up and become more curious, it’s inevitable they will ask to use the internet and computers at home, friends’ places and school. If they don’t learn valuable browsing and internet skills at an early age, they might be disadvantaged in the future. Keeping your kids safe when they use the internet is important, as it is very easy to come across inappropriate material. As one of Australia’s leading computer repairers, gizmo gets a lot of requests from anxious parents asking how they can keep their kids safe online. Depending on circumstances like the age of your child, the type of operating system you use and how many people use the family computer, there are a number of steps you can take to help protect your kids online. Talk about the internet It is very diffi cult to control absolutely everything your kids use the internet for all of the time. Although you can go a long way towards restricting their access at home, on other people’s computers you don’t have as much control. Warning your kids about some of the dangers online is important and establishing a set of rules can go a long way. Especially important are basics like not giving out your real name, address, phone number or other personal details. Not talking to strangers makes as much sense online as it does in the real world. Keeping an eye on your kids when they use the internet is also important. Having the family computer in a family room is a great way of seeing what sorts of things your kids are getting into and deciding whether you approve. Install a control package A parental control package gives you a much greater degree of control over what your kids can and cannot do online. Parental controls come built into Windows Vista and these allow you to restrict which programs and websites your children can use. They also give you the option of receiving activity reports telling you which sites have been accessed and for how long. If you have a larger family which shares a computer, another useful feature is the ability to set time restrictions for different users. For example, John can only log in to the computer between 32 DEC 08/JAN 09 6pm and 7pm at night and Sarah gets it from 7pm to 8pm. This can be a great way of stopping kids from stagnating in front of the computer and can be especially important if your kids become addicted to online games. Good software needed Viruses and spam can redirect browsers from innocent websites to more unsuitable ones if they are allowed to take hold of your computer. Having an up-to-date internet security package is essential. Spam can also be a problem, as advertisements for Viagra, anatomy extensions and more can bypass website fi lters and go straight into your child’s email inbox. A spam fi lter will go a long way towards preventing this. This sounds like a lot to do, but help is available if you need it and there are advantages to a professional set up. Primarily, you can rest assured that things have been done properly. A professional will explain how everything works so you feel in control and in the driver’s seat. RACQ’s computer support partner, gizmo, has recently released a Kid Safe Online service for Windows Vista. Kid Safe Online is designed specifi cally to make your computer safe for your kids, so you can rest easy. Call gizmo today on 1300 275 449 to learn more about Kid Safe Online. RACQ MEMBERS CAN SAVE Ease your computer worries with year-round computer support from gizmo, with a ‘my gizmo’ subscription. As an RACQ member, you’ll save $50. Check out www.racq.com.au/gizmo for full details. Photo by Sandra G., Shutterstock.com.
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