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Parental Control Resources

Internet Account & Password Log

This document is a log that you can use to keep a record of accounts your children and family use.

Family Online Media Agreements

Create an online media agreement with your children. These checklists and contracts not only provide a great conversation starter for setting ground rules for family internet and gadget use, but also give you a method for laying out clear expectations and establishing consequences.

From Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media, a resource I recommend every chance I get, has Family Media Agreements available for download. I like that they offer different agreements for each age group – elementary school, middle, and high school.

From Yahoo Family Safety

The Family Online and Mobile Device Agreement from Yahoo Family Safety includes a section for parents in the contract, not just an enforcer of the rules.  After all, we have responsibilities in all of this, too!

From is part of McAfee, known for their anti-virus and computer security software.  They produce Safe Eyes web monitoring filter, and offer and Internet Monitoring Family Game Plan as one of their resources for parents.

Choose one of these, print it out, and discuss with your child.  Add any additional rules or guidelines you want to establish in your family.  It is also recommend that you review it occasionally, for example every time a new device is introduced, such as a new cell phone, or the start of a new school year.  Think of these agreements as tools you can choose from, and use whatever works for you and your family.

Information taken from "Be Web Smart:  For the Analog Parent in a Digital World."

Choosing Parental Control Software

The following are 10 features to consider when choosing parental control software:

  1. Price.  If the program is not free, is it worth the cost?
  2. Ease of setup and use.  Is tech support available via toll-free number, e-mail and/or FAQ section online?
  3. Single or multiple computer usage.  Some programs only work on one computer.  Others can be installed on up to three computers without additional cost.
  4. Time limits.  These could restrict how often, how long and when the computer can be used.  They can also restrict the time allotted on specific sites, such as game rooms.  And you    might block out hours, for instance, when you are at work or from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  5. The ability to filter and/or block sites, topics or words.  These can include material found in chat rooms, social networking sites, newsgroups and e-mail activity.  A foreign language keyword filter could prevent teens from getting around filtering of certain forbidden words by using them in other languages.
  6. Monitoring and/or reporting Internet activities.  This feature can just monitor, but not filter, what sites each family member visits, including chat rooms.  It may also record transcripts of IM conversations, etc.
  7. Flexibility.  This feature allows you to customize the controls for each family member.  You are able to filter, block, monitor and/or record sites based on the age and maturity of each individual child.
  8. Stealth feature.  This provides the ability to monitor, filter and/or receive records of sites visited, without users' knowledge.  Some parents consider this unethical.  Others feel it is necessary in their situation.
  9. Remote management.  If you want the ability to make changes to programs when you are away from home, you will need a remote management feature.  This can be handy, for instance, if you are at work and want to allow a child additional time on a computer to finish up a homework project.  Find out how quickly the program can institute your changes.
  10. Additional blocking.  Some programs can block access to programs on your hard drive that don't use the Internet.  For instance, you may wnat to keep youngsters from seeing your financial programs.

7 Computer Tips You Won't Learn from Your Mom

Although this article talks about ways to avoid parental surveillance, it's really written for parents.  They want you to know how your kids might use the computer in ways you don't approve of.  Accordingly, each section ends with tips for parents on how to prevent abuses.