The average age of pornography exposure is 11 years old. In most of these initial exposure cases, unsuitable web content is accessed accidentally. Don't subject your child to the possibility of seeing adult content, even if you think your child won't intentionally go looking for it.
Now, teens, tweens, and toddlers use technology differently. They browse the Internet with different goals in mind.
Internet filtering solutions, including Net Nanny, Ranger, Mobicip, or SafeEyes, allow you to control the kinds of websites your family can view on computers, phones, and tablets. Specifically, you control which types of websites can be blocked.
To protect your children's Web surfing most effectively, and based on their age, the following are recommendations for blocking or allowing websites, based on content. The suggestions mentioned here are based on years of hands-on experience and on feedback from customers.
* Adults (18 or older): Given years of real experience with the Internet, adults potentially need fewer restrictions. However, warnings are appropriate.
Block: pornographic and proxy websites. (Proxy websites allow you to anonymously surf the Internet without detection.)
* Teens (13 - 17): With a basic knowledge of websites to avoid and based on their advanced technological skills, teens need parental guidance. A few safety precautions should be used to protect them from predators, identity thieves, and other risks.
Block: pornography, nudity, proxy, alcohol, drugs, gambling, mature topics, and tobacco.
* Pre-teens (8 - 12): Pre-teens know how to use the Internet but are usually naïve to the dangers of openly sharing information and openly surfing the Web and interacting on social networks.
Block: pornography, provocative, nudity, proxy, abortion, death/gore, gambling, mature, suicide, alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, and weapons.
* Kids (4 - 7): Young children are relatively uneducated on most potential online dangers. Young kids require supervision and need to have strict Internet safety settings.
Block: pornography, provocative, nudity, lingerie, swimsuits, sexual health, proxy, abortion, anime, dating, death/gore, gambling, mature, nudity, suicide, alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, and weapons.
You can protect your child by using Internet filtering software. As mentioned earlier, exposure to inappropriate websites is usually accidental in younger children. Don't allow your child to accidentally discover the seedy parts of the Internet. Along those lines, don't assume all content on Wikipedia, blogs, or other user-controlled websites is appropriate for your family — because it is not.
Note: This article and the opinions expressed here are from Russ Warner, Internet safety expert and CEO of ContentWatch, makers of parental control software Net Nanny.