The world has grown to be a large digital village. With most of the top earners gracing Forbes, Fortune among other rich lists, having digital linked firms surely guarantees millions; the digital age has finally caught up with us. Such is the impact of digital revolution, that Harvard dorms, MIT labs, or Silicon Valley have been the genesis of cutting edge ideas that recently culminated to revolutionary agenda in the Arab spring. However, behind all this glory, lies a dangerous beast. The unlimited stream of data and information can have catastrophic effects on the family structure. Online affairs are rife, mind-corrupting videos which compromise the innocence of small children are just one click away. Gone are the days that parents would have that authoritarian control of their children’s perception of society. The digital and gaming platforms are slowly substituting the role of parents in the social strata.
The need to protect children from common online fodder like violence, strong language, nudity, and pornography has never been greater. If statistical figures are anything to go by, the average child is exposed to online content and gaming at a very tender age. This is a testament to the massive sales of gaming equipment (video games), personal computers, tablets and mobile phones that are listed to be in the hands of minors.
Given the nature of modern lifestyles, parents are rarely at home. While computers and games offer information and recreation to the children, the need to safeguard children is always top priority for a parent. This offers a virtual substitute to actual physical parental presence. Most of these controls are software, tailor made to block the access of websites deemed inappropriate to minors.
How parental controls work
The simplest of parental controls works by filtering search results and matching of searched words. The items or words that are deemed offensive are kept in the software database and upon typing or entry into a site that has these words often the system shuts and no access is guaranteed. Take the example of profanity, violent words, nudity, sex scenes, any word synonymous to these when searched would definitely give no viable response.
Alternatively, there is the use of a proxy server. As the name suggests, this involves using an internet connection server that is secondary to the primary server. Usually a primary server is responsible for all search results and pages opened; however, there is the normal introduction of a second server, proxy server that serves to filter search and page results. This is often used in most institutions to block social media use, pornography in libraries and classrooms. Take an example of a child browsing and tries to enter an unauthorized site, the proxy server, rejects the request without even linking up with the primary server for results. This can equally be used to block unauthorized access.
Alternative parental controls involve the use of timers. These often have specific time frame attached to internet access. This is particularly important in checking the amount of time children access internet while cutting down on bills of internet usage. It is not uncommon for internet connection to be disrupted after the set amount of internet access has elapsed.
To learn more about what you can do to protect your family, visit specialised sites like Get Safe Online, SafeKids.com and Kids’ Shield, which can help you find tools like porn blockers and content filters.