I just posted this week about safe online social networking education, but the bottom line is many parents don't know how to implement the right amount of online safety. I implemented internet filters (only allowing access to specific websites) controls on my old laptop so my son could use it – but now I am looking at getting a family computer. I twittered my question -if I should buy and desktop or laptop and received some interesting responses on Twitter and Facebook. Desktops can be considered safer because they can be "set" in a public location like a family room and may be harder to trash because it is easier to replace a keyboard then to replace a whole laptop. I started a hash tag "#computertrashed" so see how many laptops or desktops were trashed in families. But the downside is that are not mobile and kids could still sneak out after bedtime to use. Laptops are mobile and can be taken to wherever the parents are – so computer time is not limited to one room (as is with desktops). But I did receive comments that kids can take laptops in their rooms and sneak "under the covers" to use secretly. With built-in webcams secret use could be dangerous.
So, theoretically parents could implement security on the computer that limits the time, websites and even use of the webcam. Or that monitors all use and reports back to parents. There is software available to do all of this.
The real question is – what type of online security controls should parents implement and how best to do that? What applications/automatic controls should be used? What are good suggestions for family rules?
I would like to answer that – but I do need to start researching this on my own first. As part of my research, it would be great to hear what type of security other parents are implementing on their home PC's or laptops? I read at post a Scobleizer ("Keeping Kids Safe Online") that started the same discussion and had some interesting comments.
As always, I suggest that parents educate themselves first, then their children so they can be make good choices no matter what computer they are using. I tell parents that setting up home online security is the first step – but kids have access to computers at school and at their friends homes so education is key!