By LDS Family Services
Individuals and parents can do many things to safeguard their homes from the harmful influences found on the Internet. While there is no foolproof system, some simple steps can help reduce the risk of family members seeing pornographic materials on the Internet.
- Place computers in high-traffic areas of the home. Kitchens, family rooms, and studies usually have the most traffic. Because these rooms usually don't have doors, they are typically less secluded than bedrooms. Position computer monitors so the screen faces out for public view.
- Install a filtering program, and learn its features and how to use it. Good filtering programs allow you to view a history of which sites (including chat rooms) have been visited and when, as well as a record of incoming and outgoing e-mails. Information on filtering programs can be found on Internet sites such as www.internetfilterreview.com. (NOTE: Those who are determined to view pornographic materials will find a way. The ultimate filter are the individuals themselves. It is their decision to avoid and turn away from all types of pornography).
- Teach family members about the dangers of Internet pornography, including how to escape if an inappropriate site is accidentally accessed. This usually involves shutting down the entire system.
- Teach family members to tell parents if they encounter any form of pornography while on the computer. This will help reduce the fear or shame of accidental exposure. It also serves to open discussion about the dangers of pornography.
- Teach family members to use the Internet for a specific purpose only. Aimless surfing makes it easier to wander onto inappropriate sites.
- Instant messaging is a cost-effective, easy way to communicate with family and close friends. However, teach family members to avoid public chat rooms, bulletin boards, or unfamiliar areas on the Internet. Such places present an unnecessary risk for children and adults.
- Teach children not to share any personal information online without parental knowledge and permission. Many predators pose as children to gain access and information that may put children at risk.
- Educate yourself about your computer and how the Internet works.
- Be aware of what your children's school and public library policies are regarding Internet use and accessibility.
- Teach family members to never open e-mail from someone they don't know.
The Internet is a wonderful tool and resource for families, but caution must be exercised in order to protect families and individuals from the potential dangers that are present online.