Child safety on the net - worried!

  pauline08 15:44 17 Jul 2008

Hi everyone, I have two teenage daughters that spend hours on the internet. I am getting a little concerned as I have no idea what sites they are visiting and am worried they will see things on there that they shouldn't. Has anyone any similar concerns or suggestions for me?

  Clapton is God 15:53 17 Jul 2008

All parents have these concerns. I also have 2 daughters

However, you have to ask yourself - do you want to wrap them up in cotton wool or give them some freedom to find out about this big, bad world we live in?

If the former there is parental control software available to install.

  DippyGirl 16:10 17 Jul 2008

I agree with CiG
Parental controls such as K9 are there if need be but are likely to be circumvented. Better to explain the pitfalls and dangers and how to try avoid the bad guys. If you dont think your girls are up to using the internet alone you shouldnt let them out there , you wouldnt let them go to the shops if they couldnt cross the road.. you'd just teach them how.

  cycoze 16:13 17 Jul 2008

They are teenagers, best just to talk to them and let them know your concerns, advise them on being careful as to what information they put onto the net about themselves.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:18 17 Jul 2008

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Aftab’s advice for parents in regards to monitoring teenagers online:

1. Don’t panic.

2. The issue is parenting, not technology. It’s teaching right from wrong. You once told them to come straight home after school, she said. Now tell them not to hang out too much online or something bad could happen. Limit their time online.

3. Look at their posted pages – and let your son or daughter know that you reserve the right to look at them. Ask them if they have a public page, such as MySpace, and then tell them you will look at it in 24 hours. When you see it, ask yourself, “Is it provocative? Hateful? Disrespectful? Have they crossed the line?” If they haven’t, use this as an opportunity to learn about your kid. If it is provocative, ask them to take that section down, and then keep an eye on the site.

4. If your son or daughter is unwilling to show you their site, google your teen’s name, their school, their e-mail address, cell phone number and screen names. You’ll find what other people are doing with their information.

5. Monitoring has to be used in the right way. For someone 10 and under, read everything. As soon as they’re 12 and up, they have relationships that they’re entitled to keep private. Parents shouldn’t read those things. Still, monitoring should be put on the computer, just in case something happens. It’s similar to a hidden camera in a bank. It comes in handy if there’s a break-in. There’s a place for it, as long as you don’t’ read it until you have to. But your kids have to trust you not to read it.

  Forum Editor 16:42 17 Jul 2008

that spend hours on the internet."

Then you are a member of an enormous club - almost all teenagers spend hours on the interent if they possibly can. I'm not sure what you class as things your daughters shouldn't see, but I can assure you that if they're anything like most teenage girls they'll have seen lots of things, and they may not agree with you when you say they shouldn't see them.

They're growing up, and they'll be inquisitive. You've provided them with a set of values, and I'm sure they're as well-balanced as anyone is at their age. You probably pushed at the boundaries a little when you were younger, and your daughters will do the same. Provided they exercise a degree of commonsense they'll come to no harm on the internet, and if they want to see things they will - you certainly won't be able to stop them.

The one thing I'm dead against is routinely spying on teenagers - it's about the worst thing a parent can do in my book - unless there's a specific cause for concern. Teenagers are almost adults, they're not small children in need of constant monitoring. If you clamp down too hard on a teenager's internet access he/she is just as likely to nip round to a friend's house and carry on surfing there. Talk about the potential dangers, tell them that you trust them, and leave them to their private lives until you have a specific cause for concern, then you can step in.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:22 17 Jul 2008

As long as you have taught them common sense leave well alone.

Just make sure your antispyware is fully updated and run regularly as spyware is aimed at chat rooms ringtone sites etc. just the sort of places that teenagers log on to.

  rossgolf 19:46 17 Jul 2008

most parental control can be bypassed in a matter of seconds so i would go with the second option of teaching them the rights and wrongs

  Jen-s 16:43 18 Jul 2008

I had the same problem with my son. I saw a software package called sentry parental controls in the paper - I did a 15 day trial (from their website) and then bought it. I can honestly say it has put my mind at rest. It monitors all websites visited etc and it sends me texts when he tries to look at inappropriate sites - which I think is great! - it has a mode so that he doesn't even know it's there. I'd recommend it to anyone in your position.

  Clapton is God 16:48 18 Jul 2008

So, in effect, you have no problem with spying on your son?

  anskyber 17:27 18 Jul 2008

Software like sentry patrol is, to my mind, an acceptance of a failure in the relationship between parent and child.

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