What are the possible risks my children face when they use the Internet?
When your children use a computer to access the Internet, there risks that don't apply to adults. They may come across violent or pornographic content which you would consider to be unsuitable for children their age (this could happen without any intention on the part of your children; when you search for something on the Internet, you can never tell what's going to be at the end of the link until you click on it). It is also possible that other people may use Internet communications to target your children; this might be in the form of cyber-bullying, e.g. threatening emails from other children; or grooming, where adults posing as children use Internet chat rooms to try to make contact with a child.
What can I do to keep my children safe?
As this is a technical website concerned with keeping your computer safe, we feel it is beyond the site's scope to advise on how best to warn your children against Internet threats that affect them personally. We highly recommend that you look at the following websites for assistance with this (we have no association with these sites, but to the best of our knowledge and belief they will offer you good advice on this very important subject):
However, if you as a parent have decided that you want to shield your children from specific types of material or website, we can help you with the technical side of doing this. Parental control software is a type of computer program that can block particular websites or categories of website. If it is installed on the computer your child uses at home, it will prevent web pages containing material you consider inappropriate from being displayed; instead, a page appears saying that the website has been blocked.
Such software enables you to block categories such as pornography, violence or chat rooms; additionally, you can allow or block specific web addresses. If you think that such software would be appropriate for controlling your children's Internet use, we advise you to ask an IT-proficient friend or relative, or a computer professional, to install and configure a suitable program for you. There are some suggestions in the Level 2 section of this website. Remember that to configure such software, you will need a password to access it; make sure you choose something your children can't guess, and don't forget it! Please also remember that whatever you configure on your home computer doesn't affect your child's use of any other computer, so it's no substitute for talking to your children about Internet-related dangers, such as meeting people who have contacted them through Internet chat rooms etc.