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Q & A  >  parental control packages

What should I be looking for in a parental control package?

Here are some features to look out for in a parental controls [?] package.

Customisable Security Levels

Allows you to set different access levels depending on the user (for example higher security settings for younger children, lower for teenagers).

Customisable Website Lists

Allows you to set specific websites that the users have access to, or are blocked from.

Filtering and/or Blocking of Instant Messaging and Social Networking

Allows you to prevent or block malicious messages aimed at procuring children's personal details, as well as prevent access to inappropriate content or even bullying from people known to the child.

Easy and Available Product Updates

Make sure the package auto-updates or offers the opportunity to update. This means that the software can keep up with the changing nature of online content.

Online Database

Make sure the software connects to a constantly updating online database of offensive websites.

Content Filtering and Learning

A good package will be able to filter sites and messaging based on the content. It will also be able to learn over time what you want it to block.

Browser-independent

Using a parental control that is part of the web browser application is easily eluded by simply using a different browser. A range of web browser programs can be downloaded for free from the internet.

But Remember...

No parental control package is perfect. Control software can only work from the information it has been given, so occasionally appropriate sites may be blocked, and offensive sites may slip through the system.

The best parental control is just that - parental. Stay involved with your child's online activity, inform your child about the restrictions you've placed on their usage and why, try to get them to be honest with you about what activities they want to engage in on the computer, and if possible place the computer or modem connection in an area of the house you can monitor.

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