The internet has greatly changed the ways how people connect, how we seek information and share it. Even for children, cyberspace has opened up a world of new opportunities and fun with kid-friendly sites like the Disney Channel. Kids can log on, play games, learn, do fun activities, and even chat with other kids online. They can also search topics of their interest. The possibilities are endless in cyberspace and one can easily be entertained for hours online.
However, as you may already know, there are areas of cyberspace that are not suitable for kids and you may need to, as a parent, monitor your children’s time online and control their access to certain age-appropriate sites. One can never be too careful or cautious as a parent. (Try watching Dateline NBC’s To Catch a Predator with Chris Hansen and you’ll understand what we mean.)
Fortunately for net users, AOL has an existing feature made specifically for this called the AOL Parental Controls. The AOL Parental controls keep track of the kids’ activities whether they are chatting, emailing or surfing the web. It has additional features that allow the parents to manage their kids’ time spent online and the type of files that the children can download from the net. This parental control setting will also prevent dubious characters online from accessing personal information from your kids’ accounts.
Here is how to activate and change the parental controls on your AOL.
- You must first have an existing account on AOL and must be an adult (18 years or older).
- Type your username and password to open your account. Once opened, proceed to the Parental Control settings where you can select and customize different levels of protection.
- Go to the username section and indicate the preferred username which is the username your kids will use upon logging into AOL.
- Click the edit menu and you will see options for web browsing, instant messaging, chat, emails, time limits and activity reports. Click on each option and choose your preferred setting.
- Once you have completed the settings as desired. Save the options and click OK to update the changes.
To make sure everything works, log into your child’s account and test the settings by trying to access different sites that should be off limits to your child. If you are able to visit these sites, return to the Parental Control menu and recheck the settings. Another means for monitoring the activities of your children is by opening the web history tab of your computer. You can check the different sites they recently visited.
Tips. Apart from the AOL Parental Control, the best way to protect your children is by having an open dialogue with them. It is best that you discuss with your children the reason behind your monitoring and controlling of their use of the internet. They may initially disapprove of these boundaries but they will understand eventually. Be direct and firm and explain clearly so that your children do not feel threatened and do not feel that their privacy is being invaded.