Family Life


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Internet Safety: What you as parents can do

Parental Control Software

Parental control software enables you to choose where and when your child goes online, and to ensure that they don’t view inappropriate subject matter. Parental controls differ depending on the application offering the feature. Usually there are varying levels so you can customize the program according to the child being protected. For example, for a five-year-old, you would create a “white list” of pre-selected and parent approved websites where you would allow the child to visit.

Or you might set up accounts requiring a parent’s login to enable the child to surf the Web, or to set up time limits. You can allow older children or teens more access and flexibility. You might restrict web access by categories of sites in the program’s library to prevent them from being exposed to racist, pornographic, or other objectionable materials. One to try is our FREE program, NortonTM Family.

Norton Family is an award-winning family safety service that works on both PC and Mac.® It’s available in 25 languages. What I love about it is how easy to use it is. You can install it on all the computers in your home, then login from anywhere, even from your web-enabled smartphone. You can put limits on the types of sites each child can access, customize with time limits, monitor social networking and searches and view their web history. Since the information is stored “in the cloud,” your child can’t fudge what they’re doing by deleting their history.

Our Advisory Council of experts includes child development, law enforcement, and online safety experts, even a “youthologist.” They worked with our Norton Family team to design a flexible yet powerful program. The team was guided by a principle of encouraging parent/child communication. You can’t use the program to spy on your child since it is always visible to the child, appearing with each start of the computer and as an icon in the tool tray. We hope parents will work with their children to explain how it works, what they can see, and agree together on the House Rules. Since Norton Family is free, why not give it a try? To create an account, just go to and get started. Remember, though, that no software provides perfect protection from every possible Internet risk. Parents need to use a combination of software, education, oversight, and communication to protect children, regardless of their age. The web is a rich resource, and it defeats the purpose to lock it down entirely. Parents need to talk with their children to ensure that their beliefs, morals, and values are upheld when their children go online.

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