Winter break gives families and children two weeks of what is for many much-needed down time from the routine of school. Many kids will be undoubtedly surf the web during this time, with parental blessings thanks to web filters and online parental controls. Here’s what you should know about filter-technology that reinforces the need for oversight from Mom or Dad where anything Internet-related is concerned:
According to Common Sense Media, parental control programs use a combination of filtering techniques to block access to unwanted sites. As with most things man-made, none promise 100 percent accuracy.
Filters that work to identify key words or phrases will inadvertently block access to completely innocent phrases. This is because these filters are not built to read context, only terms.
Where There’s a Will There’s a Way
A determined child is likely to find their way around anything, and web filters are no exception. Technically savvy kids will find a way to disable a parental control system. In fact, online discussions abound with ways to disable parental controls.
A parent’s ultimate goal is to teach children to make responsible choices and decisions where technology is concerned. Filtering software makes you the gatekeeper and teaches your children nothing about self-policing. This skill is particularly important when your child visits the home of a friend and uses their computer. Instilling responsible Internet use, and teaching them about the positive ways in which Internet can be used as a tool, is vital so that your child does not “let loose” and make poor choices at someone else’s house.
The bottom line is that parents need to play an active role in helping their child learn to responsibly navigate the web, and no filter can teach that.