Filtering 101: 3 Steps to Protecting Kids
So your kid got a new tech device this year —cool! If you’ve already set up the parental controls and installed WiFi filtering in your home, well done! If not, don’t panic–this post is especially for you!
We’ll walk you through the three basic steps to protect kids from porn and create a safer home internet experience for kids of all ages.
Protect kids from porn: get past filter frustration
Perhaps you’re like many parents who know they should do something to filter their kids’ devices but don’t’ know where to start! If that’s the case, I can totally empathize.
For years the terms internet filtering and parental controls were synonymous with frustration for me. Every solution seemed either too constraining (filter everything at the level of a preschooler) or so complicated I needed an IT certificate to execute it.
Fortunately, I’ve since learned three things that have helped me become more confident in my ability to protect kids from porn:
- First, filtering software products today are much more user-friendly than just a few short years ago. Plus they are often flexible enough to fit the needs of various family members.
- Second, filtering software programs have their limits. Although filtering is integral to protecting kids from online dangers it is only part of the solution.
- Finally, I don’t have to wait for the perfect product to protect kids from porn. I just have to get started and do something.
Know the risks: one in ten under 10
The more we know about online risks, the more we realize filtering needs to begin as soon as a child has access to the internet. Today, one in ten visits to porn sites are from children 10-years and under! Let’s do everything we can to protect kids from porn and change this trend!
Filtering 101 outlines three basic steps to ensure a safer home internet experience for your family:
- Filtering the wireless signal in your home
- Parental controls on individual devices
- Helping kids develop internal filters
1. Filter the wireless signal in your home
Time commitment: 1 hour
Why: Filtering the wireless signal to your home can protect kids from porn by greatly reducing the risk of accidental access to inappropriate content.
Plus, most filtering systems now offer other useful functions such as time controls, internet pause, assigned bedtimes and device specific settings. This is especially popular among families with young children who want to monitor and limit screen time.
“When it comes to adding parental controls to your home wireless network, you have a couple of options. You can add a parental control device to your current Wi-Fi router, replace your router with one that has parental controls installed, or sign up for a DNS service.” Read more suggestions. (Note: many families have used the free OpenDNS without problems, but we have heard that it has let pornography through and OpenDNS did not have an explanation for why.)
Getting started: There are lots of good products to choose from. Try not to get overwhelmed. The fact is that each internet filtering service is a little different. It may take some trial and error to find what works best for your family.
Your homework: Pick a filtering system —any filtering system! And get that extra layer of protection working for your family today!
No matter which you choose, these software programs help protect kids from porn. Your home will be safer as a result.
2. Set parental controls on individual devices
Time commitment: 1 week (a few minutes each day)
Why: We wouldn’t dream of taking kids on a drive without first insisting they put on a seat belt. Safety features built-in to your kids’ devices are like seat belts for the internet. Setting parental controls is another layer of protection to safeguard kids from accidentally accessing inappropriate content.
Getting started: If you’re not tech savvy, find a friend who is. Fortunately, our good friend Chris McKenna from Protect Young Eyes is exceptionally good at setting parental controls. This is their area of specialty to protect kids from porn.
Your homework: Make an inventory of all the internet connected devices in your home. (Be warned, the length of the list may shock you!) Every day over the course of this week set parental controls on two or three devices at a time until all devices have been set.
Note: Until well into teen years, parents should have full access to their kids’ accounts and passwords on all new devices.
3. Help kids develop internal filters
Time commitment: Ongoing
Why: While the first two levels of filtering help protect kids from porn and other inappropriate content, they are not fail-proof. The current digital reality is that all children will be exposed to pornography sometime in their young lives. Kids need a plan to help them reject pornography before that happens.
Getting started: Teaching children about the harms of pornography is an ongoing process. See The Porn Talk: Five Tips Every Parent Needs to Know
At Protect Young minds we have amazing resources to help you define pornography in a way even young children can understand. Plus our blog is full of tips and ideas for parents. Above all, you’ll want to create a safe place where kids feel comfortable talking to parents about anything.