5th June 2018

Safe Internet Use for the Modern Day Kids

Admittedly it might seem like a losing battle trying to keep tabs on the kids’ internet usage these days, what with all the tools and tricks they have at their disposal to bypass just about all the monitoring utilities parents have access to. If it was indeed a battle of the internet skills then I can guarantee you you’ll come second best in that regard because as is the case with the reality of black hat hacking, it’s much easier to break things than it is to protect yourself from the threat of hackers.

We can talk about all manner of utilities that were created with good intentions to help parents monitor their kids’ internet use as a means through which to protect them from all the harmful content which is so easily accessible, but kids don’t even have to resort to using the likes of proxy servers anymore to hide their nefarious online activities. Something as simple as using Google’s Incognito window (in the case of connecting with Google Chrome) would in effect nullify all efforts to monitor usage because it goes a step further than deleting all the history.

There is no history logged in the first place and pretty much all modern day browsers these days have an equivalent of this feature. So programmes such as Net Nanny and the likes are effectively rendered useless.

I’m not trying to paint a gloomy picture here and tell you that there is no hope at all by way of what you’re trying to do, which is only to protect your kids. I’m just trying to wake you up to the reality that the policing method simply won’t work in this day and age. If anything, even if you’re perhaps a millennial parent and you know a thing or two about the technology which you were born into, at the user-level deployment of internet connected media the person using it has full reign over what content they can access and how they access it.

To put it explicitly, if your ten year old wants to watch pornography online they’re only a couple of clicks away from it.

So the next best thing is simply to talk to them about it and educate them. Implicitly pornography would be the major challenge which you seek to tackle by way of protecting your kids from harmful content online, so what this means is that you’ll just have to educate them. You have a bigger job now which forms part of the already precarious sex education you have a responsibility to impart.

It’s a psychological war which you’ll have to engage in, pitting you and your education against the material they’ll eventually come across online because we must not make any mistake about it, their curious minds will have them exploring what can often make for a very shady World Wide Web.

If you wanted to go the policing route then it would be a matter of making an agreement with your kids that whenever they go online (measured by how much data is consumed) they’d have to deploy something like screen recording software, which would probably reveal itself to be ineffective in the long run, so education is the key.

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