Controling Kids Web Activity Using Parental Controls

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Monitoring and controlling kids activity online is, needless to say, essential. Not only to protect them from pornographic and harmful content but also to protect them from predators lurking in chat rooms and social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace and of course to keep Internet/gaming times within safe limits.

Blocking Porn

Most parental controls have built in Porn Filters that filter web traffic and block porn content in it through employing two methods: website name/URL blocking and content detection and filtering. URL blocking is the easiest way and is widely (and freely) available as part of services like OpenDNS. However this is not very practical as you need a list of all websites with porn content in them. Also this method also blocks complete websites not just the inappropriate part for example you can either block or allow altogether and not block adult videos only on youtube..content filtering on the other hand is selective. Porn Filters usually also come with web activity monitoring features that ideally show time spent on websites and inappropriate keywords found if any.

Most common method used to bypass web filtering is proxy servers. The URL blocking method is mostly helpless against the use of proxy servers but content based filtering (in many parental controls) is able filter content going through proxy servers.

Restricting Internet / Gaming Time

What attacts kids to the Internet? besides the home work help and scientific research there are also virual reality games, social networking, social games, Instant Messengers, porn…Internet is very enticing and is very easy to get addicted to it, so it is imperative that you have time controls in place. These may come as individual programs or as part of parental controls.

Most common method kids use to bypass time limitations is, obviously, changing system time and using different user accounts, you should make sure you parental control software can handle such situations and that it is correctly configured to do so, e.g.: by blocking system time changing..

Screen Capture & Keylogging

Porn filters/web activity monitors can’t capture every activity, for example words typed in web forms (especially online forums and such) and also content of web based email or social networking profiles. In such cases screen capture comes in handy. Some parental controls would offer periodic capture or activity based. Keyloggers can also capture usernames and passwords..


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