How To Make a Computer Safe for Kids

If you have children, then you must concern yourself with computer security. Children using computers should be supervised at all times; there are also several strategies you can use you make a computer safe for kids. Your methods here should depend on the age of your children and how they plan to use the computer. Here's how to make a computer safe for kids:

  1. Place the computer in an accessible location. The computer should never be placed in a child's room where they can surf the internet unsupervised. Instead, place it in a location that is accessible and viewable by all family members, such as the family room. This way you can keep an eye on what your kids are doing on the computer.
  2. Create a separate user account. Creating a second account specifically for your children allows you to set parental controls and other parameters without restricting your own computer usage. Teach your child how to log into this account (or leave it non-password protected), but do not teach them how to log into any of the other accounts.
  3. Set up parental controls. Log in as Administrator to adjust the settings on your child's account on the computer. The limited account will be restricted from installing new hardware or software (such as games or chat programs) and changing system settings. This protects your child from downloading things you'd prefer they not see or use, and also keeps them from inadvertently changing your computer's setup.
  4. Add a web filter. These may come as part of your internet browser or be offered by your internet provider. Windows Vista also offers internet controls known as Web Filter, which can be found in the User Accounts section of the Control Panel. You can set what type of content they are allowed to view, or the rating for the games you allow them to play.
  5. Set time limits. If you have Windows Vista, you can set time limits for your child's account; if they go over this limit, they will be logged out. You can also use a clock or a regular kitchen timer to limit your child's computer activities.
  6. Monitor your child's computer activities. You should always be watching your kids when they are on the internet. Periodically view logs and the internet history to review your child's activity on the computer. On a regular basis, ask your kids what they're doing online, what their favorite sites are, and what they do on the computer, and listen for any red flags.
  7. Teach limits. Make your kids aware of how you'd prefer they use the computer, including any house rules. Teach them about the possible dangers, such as chatting online with strangers, at an age-appropriate level. Tell them never to give out personal information over the internet for any reason.

The internet can be a dangerous place, but it doesn't have to be so. By setting controls on their computer account, filtering internet activities, and keeping an eye on your kids while they are using the computer, you can make a computer safe for kids.


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