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Keep your Kids Safe Online    
« Go back or Next: Safeguarding AOL for Kids »

Step 3: Block Explicit Sites in your Browser (see Video Below)
Internet Explorer's filtering utility is dependent on sites rating themselves.

Crayon Crawler is a kid-friendly browser that automatically blocks objectionable sites.

Children can easily find explicit material on the Web--and if they don't, it often finds them. If your daughter happens to type "www.girl.com" instead of "www.gURL.com," the popular site for teenage girls, she'll end up at a porn site. And until it was shut down recently, the porn site www.whitehouse.com displayed inappropriate images to young students who probably meant to type "www.whitehouse.gov."

Sites like these, which count on erroneously entered URLs, are shut down quickly, but as soon as they are, more crop up to replace them. And the most popular Web browsers offer little in the way of blocking tools.

Mozilla Firefox offers no content filtering. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 has some tools, but they're weak. Blocking in IE is based on a self-rating system devised by the Recreational Software Advisory Council (now the Internet Content Rating Association). The downside: Most Internet sites haven't rated themselves, and if you set Internet Explorer to block all unrated sites, you'll lose access to some useful sites, including Amazon.com, Google, and even Computer Shopper.Internet Explorer's filtering utility

To turn on the basic content-filtering utility in IE, follow these steps.

  1. Go to Tools > Internet Options > Content, and in the Content Advisor box, select Enable.
  2. In the new window, you'll see four categories: Language, Nudity, Sex, and Violence.
  3. To enable blocking, move the slider directly below the categories to the lowest level, then click Apply.

A better alternative is to download a child-friendly content-filtering Web browser, such as Crayon Crawler, KidRocket KidSafe, or Noah's Web. Noah's Web comes with three browsers: one for children ages 4 to 12, one for teens, and one for parents.Crayon Crawler

To ensure that your child can use only the child-friendly browser you install for Net surfing, create a user account in Windows that prevents installation of new apps.

  1. Go to Control Panel > User Accounts and select "Create a new account."
  2. In the wizard, enter a name for the new account and select Limited.
  3. Next, password-protect any other accounts that aren't Limited.

This still leaves Internet Explorer, however, because it comes with Windows and can't be uninstalled. To prevent your child from using Internet Explorer, password-protect it. Go to Tools > Internet Options, and select the Content tab. Under Content Advisor, click Enable. On the General tab, locate the Supervisor Password area. Type in a password, then hit Apply.

Tip
Mac users seeking robust content controls should check out BumperCar 2 for Mac OS X systems.

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