Please see our recommendation for your teen's internet safety below. Additionally, we offer a link to the recent program "Frontline: Growing Up Online" that does a good job of highlighting the importance of communication between parents and teens on this very important topic.
Frontline - Growing Up Online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kidsonline/
Keep the family computer in a central room in your home like the family room
If your child has his or her own computer, require that it be used in a room where other people are usually present. Do not allow your child to have a computer in his or her bedroom. When the computer is not in use keep it in a centrally located place.Be vigilant. Limit access to the Internet. Talk to your child about safe computer use. Explain the risks of sharing personal information online. Know the password to your child's computer and to the social networking site that he or she uses. Visit your child's social networking page and favorite websites. Do this regularly. Passwords and networking pages can be changed in moments
Install a filter on the computer system in your home
There are many filtering software packages available. The website, Internet Filter Software Reviews 2007, rates the top ten filters. These are Net Nanny, CYBERsitter, CyberPatrol, Max Protect, Filter Pak, Netmop, Safe Eyes, Wise Choice.net, Cyber Sentinal, and McAfee Parental Controls. The prices on this type of software range from $30.00 to $60.00. Be aware that filters can block safe websites. You will have to work with the filtering software that you purchase in order to allow access to certain safe websites. Filtering software can also give a false sense of security. Teenagers are smarter than we think, they can find ways around the filters that we install.
Alternate Software Options
Other types of software provide different services that can help monitor computer use. For example, Covenant Eyes sends a report of all the places visited by a computer user to another source. Once you install this software, you may click on your computer and receive a report of all the places your child has visited. It also sends an immediate report if your child visits an off limits website or suddenly stops using his or her computer.
Websites to assist parents on Internet safety issues
WiredSafety.org, fbi.gov/publications/pguide, icacmo.org (Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force of Missouri), and INOBTR.org, Missouri's public awareness initiative to help keep children safe online.
NOTE: Parent Network of Catholic High Schools does not endorse any filtering software. We offer the product information on this page to help parents locate information on available software. For further information on Internet safety please read the Parent Network of Catholic High Schools Resource Booklet.