Friday, November 21, 2008
Protecting your kids online
The Internet has brought its fair share of malaises in today's society. It is hard for us to imagine what kind of information will the next generation be stumbling upon the Internet. In this article, I shall discuss a simple and effective method to help you restrict Internet usage to more enriching and productive sites and prevent your children from accessing unsuitable content or waste time on social networking sites. However, in today's age of unrestricted and excessive information it is impossible to just rely on restrictions.
There are two points that parents need to think about regarding Internet use for children. The first is to outline what is not appropriate - unrestricted access to dating sites, emails from strangers, chatting for hours at end, adult oriented content and more. There are many products in the market for restricting Internet access. The best solution, however, is a free service provided by OpenDNS.
DNS, or Domain Name System, is one of the fundamental services on the Internet. DNS is used to translate symbolic names such as www.google.com to numeric IP addresses such as 220.127.116.11. OpenDNS goes a step beyond simple name to number translation. It categorizes websites based on their contents such as adult oriented sites, chat sites, dating sites, hate crimes, weapons, gambling and more. OpenDNS can be used by one and all to restrict which categories of sites are allowed or restricted. Over 10,000 schools in the U.S. use OpenDNS on their computers.
OpenDNS is easy to set up and use. All you need is a free OpenDNS account and a few changes to your network settings. A detailed tutorial on how to set up OpenDNS can be found on the Cyberwatch blog at http://blog.cyberwatch.in. I urge both parents and schools to invest some time and set up OpenDNS.
The second point is to chart out fruitful and productive use of the Internet for children. Let the Internet be a resource in nurturing good, sound hobbies - something more than voting dancers and singers off TV shows. Nurture enduring hobbies like collecting stamps and coins, model trains and aircraft, origami. Give children something productive to occupy their minds with and you won't have to worry about them falling into the dark side of the Internet.