The Internet is an ocean of valuable information, but it's also a cesspool of idiocy and poor taste. At what point do you introduce your children to its wonders without exposing them to its slimy underbelly?
If you use the Google (News - Alert) Chrome browser, then you'll be glad to hear that Google is reportedly developing parental control tools. Essentially, parents will be able to set up supervised accounts under the administration of their own Google login. Then, they could set controls using a separate dedicated webpage.
Chrome users that want to test out the new tools can download the current Canary version of Chrome geared toward developers, go to the chrome:flags page and enable the experiments labeled as "Enable supervised users" and "Enable new profile management system." Google hasn't announced a release date for the official new version of Chrome.
Parents can enable parental controls in Google search now. This video will show you how:
OnGuardOnline.gov also has a great section of tips for protecting children online. In addition to providing information on topics like cyberbullying and child identity theft, the site provides some suggestions for parents that want to allow children to browse online while wearing a virtual leash.
For example, adults can download parental control tools that filter certain language or block certain sites. Some tools also allow parents to control how long and at what time of day kids can access the Internet. Monitoring tools feed information about where kids are browsing to parents. Additionally, parents can block outgoing content, which prevents kids from sharing TMI with strangers.
Parents can also direct their children to kid-friendly browsers or search engines. For example, PCMag.com has a kid-friendly browser and coloring book pack for Windows computers. Parents can alternatively download kid browsers like KidZui.com, Zoodles.com, Kid-surf.com, Kidoz.net or BuddyBrowser. Kidoz.net and Zoodles.com are also available for Mac.
Of course, the time-honored solution is to actually communicate with your kids. Initiate the conversations about online dangers and communicate your values. At the same time, no question from your kids should be off-limits. It's better to hear the answer to an awkward question from a parent than it is to find an inappropriate answer online.
Edited by Alisen Downey