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Internet censorship – a do or don’t?

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 09-11-2011

Like the printing press before it, the internet has solidified itself as one of the defining technologies in human history – allowing for greater and faster communication of ideas than ever before. This tool can be an incredible resource for children, who may use the internet to conduct research, type papers and projects, communicate with teachers and other students or play educational games. And, there's no getting around how much of an impact the World Wide Web has had on our sons and daughters – according to a study conducted by Common Sense Media, 52 percent of children eight and under have access to some sort of digital mobile device like a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.

However, the unfiltered web also poses unique dangers for kids who may accidentally discover information that parents might consider inappropriate. As a dad, you may be wondering when and how you should monitor your children’s internet use – attempting to reconcile censorship with protection. Here is some parenting advice on sensibly supervising internet activity.

Surf with your kids
Teaching by example is one of the most effective means of educating your children about safe internet use. As your children are learning to use the computer, spend time with them while they surf the web. You can spend these hours helping with homework, finding educational sources or simply looking for entertaining websites. During this activity, you can inform your kids about proper internet use little by little while answering specific questions and pointing out dangers.

Parental controls
Many internet platforms like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome feature parental controls that allow you to block offensive or explicit material from your little ones. These filters automatically identify problem websites and make them inaccessible to certain readers. You can also adjust settings to allow for greater freedom or more restricted use depending on your child’s age and experience.