The Internet facilitates children’s exposure to harmful materials on an involuntary basis. Therefore, you must supervise and support your children in discovering the Internet; even though sometimes you have the impression that they’re more familiar with the software application than you are.
Parent/child dialogue is essential for the prevention of the risks related to Internet use. All the other prevention methods shall be complementary, therefore:
Parental controls can complement parents’ physical presence by filtering access to certain undesirable contents thanks to a detailed analysis of the pre-defined keywords and lists of authorized or forbidden websites.
These software tools also enable you to limit the length of time, restrict Internet access during certain times of day, prevent disclosure of personal information, block access to certain information etc.
All Internet service providers place at their subscribers’ disposal parental control software tools available for download on their sites.
These products are updated and evaluated by independent experts on a regular basis.
There are also paying solutions on the market.
Also, do not forget to filter access to undesirable websites via the Internet browsers that you use (Internet Explorer, Firefox…). All these software programs provide options for content filtering in their settings (go to the tutorial on how to set the parameters on Internet Explorer). However, these functions are not always adapted to message, file transfer or chat services.
Finally, keep in mind that software programs will only help. There is no guarantee that your children will ever be completely safe while using the Internet; therefore, parental control remains, above all, the duty of the parents. For that reason, it is necessary to take some basic precautions, such as placing the computer in a shared room, staying close to the child while he/she is surfing the Web or imposing rules for using the Internet at your place.
Very often, children are more familiar with the Web than their parents, therefore, you must supervise and support your child in discovering the Internet and searching for new websites or application programs and perform certain activities together, such as photomontages, homework or papers.
Also, get informed about the functioning of the Internet and its pitfalls, especially by getting close to other parents or by calling the French national helpline (Net Ecoute Famille) implemented by the association e-Enfance. Net Ecoute Famille answers children’s, adolescents’ and parents’ questions on fixed and mobile Internet.
You can also sign up for information sites’ newsletters in order to immediately receive the latest news on Internet risks and safety.
The Internet Services Providers' Association (ISPA) has created the site www.PointDeContact.net which is aimed at fighting against "obnoxious materials". You can report any illegal or offensive content via a form easily and for free.