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Firewall Parental Control - Website Security and Filtering



Beauty of the Internet

Internet is a very powerful resource, and has endless advantages. In fact if the internet disappeared off the earth today, our world would not know how to cope without it. The web is now accessible from our work places, our mobile phones, at the internet cafe’s, hot spots such as airports, and right from our very own homes. When browsing the web we can search for endless things and have access to endless tools and utilities. We can use the internet for shopping, socialising, business, as a learning and teaching source, and many other things. The internet also consists of some very useful utilities such as Google map, currency converters, online calculators, online TV and movies, advice and guides to endless topics.

In particular websites such as Facebook, MySpace and other social sites, as well as chat rooms and forums, and not to forget instant messaging capabilities are excellent ways to bringing friends, families and communities together. The socialising side to the web has rapidly gone through the roof. Using a service such as Facebook, one can see what all their friends currently doing, leave comments on their latest holiday photos, organise events, and many other things.

So the internet does have many benefits.


Internet, Websites and Children

However internet does have its share of problems…. Especially for children.

One of the worst examples are pedophiles are constantly roaming from chat room to chat room, finding their prey. Pedophiles have their strategies, and ways to manipulate children into creating a trust relationship with them and after this who knows what can happen!

What makes the situation worse is children love chat rooms, instant messaging, and just love to socialise online, exposing themselves to these online predators.

Then there are the not so life threatening parts of the web, but yet we still need to keep children completely safe from intentionally or accidentally bumping into sites such as porn, dating, violence, gambling and many other non-productive and mentally dangerous sites.

Finally in general and not just aimed at children, the web consists of online scams, viruses and other criminally organised ways in manipulating the user to either giving personal information away, or in some way or the other, stealing confidential data such as credit card information.


School children on the web

In our eyes, it may be visible to see that our kids are indoors and look safe and secure, but where in reality they are feeding harmful ideas from the web and possibly speaking to strangers who have a different motive in mind.

Schools are prime examples of the issues we have when children are unsupervised. Before and after school IT facilities are left open to pupils. This is so pupils can continue developing their learning in their own time, as well as working on homework and coursework. However these are the times when supervision is also at a minimal.
When children have the internet at their fingertips, they tend to fall off track and randomly browse the web, usually through boredom. This leads them to social sites, chat sites, and other inappropriate material, such as porn, violence and malicious malware infested websites. It’s common to see children minimising screens, hiding their tracks when any site of a supervisor becomes apparent, and when the coast is clear they are up to their mischief again.
The problem is it’s impossible to watch your kids every minute of the day and expect them to follow the guidelines we have thought, this is when we need a tool which will watch the children for us, as well as taking action when a child is entering a harmful website.


Parental COntrol Solution

Now the good news is it really is not that difficult to keep your child safe. In fact with the right tools it’s a doddle! How about if your computer reports to you giving you a wonderful easy to read report showing you what sites your child has visited, what information they obtained, etc. Also this utility could be set up so that it blocks social sites such as Facebook and Myspace, and also blocks instant messengers. Now this really would be 24/7 supervision without you having to be present. Best of all you can use this one tool to monitor multiple computers as well, if you’re a school for example.
There are two products I will share with you. I have had a look at a few products but these are both very excellent.

A popular and established product out there and one that is very well designed, easy to use, and does a great job is Net Nanny. Net Nanny monitors all internet traffic and not just websites, so such applications like MSN chat can be secured, as well as peer to peer applications. The product will monitor and report what your child has been visiting online as well as the ability to send alerts, and remote management. It also provides a fine level of web filtering granularity, which gives you the ability to block certain websites as well as excluding websites, depending on which user is logged in.


Net Nanny Web Security Products





Another product which is ideal for when you have 10 plus computers such as schools, colleges, universities or businesses is ContentProtect. ContentProtect actually own Net Nanny and Like Net Nanny, the great thing about ContentProtect is you can see what everyone has been viewing in very easy to follow reports. So children can no longer get away with minimising or closing web ages the second they see an adult, because their journey on the internet will be tracked and recorded. From the product you can also block peer to peer file sharing and instant messaging, and configure a whole lot of other settings. Both products are rated very highly on the market and highly recommended.


ContentProtect - one product for multiple computers







For further reading, there's some excellent electronic ebooks available for download from eBooks.com