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Definitions

Contracts with Kids discuss and set up rules for computer use.

Time Limiting limits time online.

Filtering & Blocking limits access to some sites, words, and/or images.

Block Outgoing Content prevents kids from revealing personal information online.

Browsers for Kids do not display inappropriate words or images.

Kid-Oriented Search Engines perform limited searches or screen search results.

Monitoring Tools alert adults to online activity without blocking access.

There are both pros and cons to keep in mind when using these types of tools.

Please Note: GetNetWise staff gathered this information from the companies that make these tools. We cannot guarantee the effectiveness of these products, nor do we endorse any products.

Other Information

How ISPs are Helping -- Many Internet and online service providers also offer safety solutions by selling or including these tools with their services and adopting "Acceptable Use Policies", or "Terms of Service Agreements".

Web Ratings Systems -- Many companies that produce Web sites voluntarily rate and label their sites, using a system knows as "PICS" (Platform for Internet Content Selection).

Internet Issues in the Community -- When children use the Internet in school or in a library, their experiences will be different than when they are at home. Libraries and schools may have different rules for Internet use than your family, because they must serve the needs of diverse children and families.

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Home / Kids' Safety / Tools for Families / Pros & Cons of Filtering / Monitoring tools

Monitoring tools

These programs usually run in the background of your computer and keep track of the way that the computer is used. Some keep a log of sites visited, of emails written and received, or of online chat sessions, while others store screenshots so that you can see exactly what your children are seeing -- every monitoring tool does its job in a unique way. Some parents view monitoring more as a deterrent mechanism, thatc can allow them to control their kids' online access without resorting to restrictive filtering or blocking tools.

Precision

Many monitoring tools record everything, or as much as is feasible, about what goes on on your computer or through your online access. Some can record the ways in which your computer is used even when it is not connected to the Internet. Almost all of these tools are designed to be as comprehensive as possible.

Control

Many monitoring tools can give parents control of their kids' Internet access by giving them information about their children's online habits. If used secretly, however, they might foster resentment in older kids who don't appreciate feeling that their parents are constantly watching over their shoulders. Any of these tools should be used carefully by parents.

Scalability

Because monitoring tools' function is often to record information, they are usually well-equipped to handle all forms of new online content.

Physical safety protections

These tools can help to ensure children's physical safety by letting parents know if their kids are involved in inappropriate or dangerous online relationships. Parents can then work to protect their children in whatever ways they see fit.

Functionality costs

Assuming that the monitoring software is in good working order, its use should not interfere with online functionality at all.

 
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