Using the internet to educate our children has so many benefits. There are hosts of wonderful resources out there that make our homeschooling endeavor so much easier. It even has the capacity to make boring subjects exciting! Yet, there is a dark side to this treasure trove of information. The dark side of the internet can affect you and your family before you even realize it. In fact, research shows that 1 in 4 families have had to deal with a destructive internet issue within their family unit.
Over the last several years,the growth rate of distasteful sites on line has increased exponentially. So much so that these sites are now intrusive. In other words, you can no longer be safe on the internet by “minding your own business.” Children and adults alike are just no longer safe to search the internet without some sort of protection.
At our house we use the internet daily for our online learning. This means constant use of the internet. With this constant use, we are exposed with a constant threat. From child predators, to identity theft, to pornography our children are not safe without some form of protection. For ultra conservative homeschoolers and even freethinking homeschoolers this is a necessity. Though it takes a bit of time to set up, there are great free online filters available. If you don’t have a filter installed on each computer in your homes, take time today to set one up. Many are free, they’ll help you keep your child’s innocence, and give you some peace of mind.
Here are a few suggestions
1) You can download a free filter account from K-9 Web Filter or Safe Families. There are other types of filter software available that will give you more flexibility. These usually cost about $40-$80.
2) You will need to set up a new free private email (you can have this email delivered to your regular email account) just for this purpose. Tell no one the password to this email. The Web filter will send notifications and password resets to this email.
3) You’ll need to set up your account. The safest way to set up most filter accounts is to select “custom.” In this way, you can choose exactly which categories you want to keep blocked.
4) You can block specific sites that you may be concerned about. Simply find their internet address and enter it into the program.
5) You can also add specific web sites that you always want to allow. On our filter program, I had to specifically enter all of the Time4Learning websites that are used in order for us to do our daily school work.
6) Take time to review your filters. I like to revisit my settings and double check that nothing is getting through every couple of months. The K-9 filter I mentioned above now has an ipad filter that is available as well.
7) Don’t be afraid to require your kids to let you have access to their email, facebook, and other social media sites. This may seem intrusive, but it really is just making sure that they aren’t getting involved in dangerous situations… tough love is sometimes part of parenting.