If you are a parent of you are in charge of children who have computer access you may have experienced the embarrassing moment of having adult content displayed while doing online searches or playing children videos or looking for relevant information for their home work while having them standing next to you. It’s very sickening just the thought that some people go through the process of disguising adult content, upload it and tag it as children material.
Now, there are many reason why certain type of undesired content shows up during a web search and if it happened to one of your children you wanted to find the root cause to stop that from every happening again to your little ones. With that thought in mind let’s delve a little bit in how web searches work and how you can apply parental controls that would mitigate the likelihood of having adult content displayed to the little eyes.
First of all let’s talk technology for a bit as it relates to web searching. When use your web browser to go online computer cookies store information about you and preferences on your computer (see my other blog to “To cookie or not to Cookie” to learn more).
If you have multiple people with different web browsing interests using the same account it will normal for one person to be presented with content that another person was searching for, in this case your computer or web browser can’t differentiate among multiple users because you all are logging in with the same account, thus it presents information stored on cookies from previous searches. This situation becomes more prevalent and exacerbating when adware gets installed on your computer.
So what’s a parent to do in this type of situation?
- First of all if you all need to use the same user account to the computer you can set your browser to delete cookie or temporary files when browser is closed or you can manually delete cookies and temporary internet files before you start a web browsing session.
- Create different user accounts: all desktop Operating Systems allow you to create multiple users accounts, each with their own type access and privileges. When you login to a computer for the first time a user profile is created for the account, a user profile the collection of personalized settings for that account so even if you have multiple accounts in the same computer each will be “independent” from the others, therefore rendering privacy for each user.
The previous two measure only help to an extent only if web results were presented in part based on the temporary files and cookies stored on your computer but what happens when your computer does not have any previous history of inappropriate web searches and still such content tends to show up while browsing the web? That is a good question which does not have a simple answer, again, there are many things that have to be taken into consideration including:
- The computer or device is infected with some type of root kit.
- DNS poisoning.
- Mistyped web sites or web searches, and the truth is that for the most part this is the main reason. Unfortunately some inappropriate websites are named after a misspelled version of a legitimate, popular website.
- A browser hijacker
So what’s a parent to do in this type of situation?
There are quite a few options that can be implemented to help you tackle more challenging technical issues and they all rely on web content filter. Web content filter is the process of you selecting what type of traffic will be allowed or denied by clients when searching the web. For instance you may decide to block traffic the contains nudity and violence from being displayed.
- Enable Parental Control Setting: this is an option if you use Windows Operating System. If not installed, the web browsing parental control is part of Family Safety, which is component of Windows Essentials.
- Set YouTube Parental controls.
- Install a Web Content Filter may be by far the best option for parents wanting to protect their children and themselves from inappropriate content while searching the web. There are many Web Content filter solutions designed to work at the consumer level, though they may not possess the power and granularity of their enterprise cousins they can certainly do the job, just to mention a few here you have:
K9 has been around for years and it’s a consumer product designed by Blue Coat for household use and small businesses.
McAfee Web content filter: McAfee has a business and standalone protection solution as part of their Endpoint protection security suite, the content list can be administered on the cloud for easy management and administration.
DansGuardian: it’s a Linux based web content filter solution, the configuration can be a little bit intimidating for users not familiar with Linux command line.
Implementing technical safeguards for children when browsing the internet is paramount but nothing can substitute the vigilant and watchful eye of a parent or guardian. It may sound a little bit old fashion but it’s the truth, even with the best technical controls in place there will be some content sneaking through the crack of the gray areas of technology.
For assistance setting up parental controls or if you need a reliable and cost effective technical service company in Secaucus, Jersey City, Bayonne, Edgewater, or the surrounding areas contact us for support. We have a proven track record of reliability, honesty, and technical expertise.