Parenting in a Digital World: Internet Filters and the V-Chips

The internet is one of the marvels of our modern world. With great ethernet services today, entire homes and businesses are networked to have internet access anywhere and anytime. With it, any computer user has access to more information in one place than most of the history of our race put together had. That is the beauty of the internet, but the same thing that makes it so great can also be a danger to your children. You see, the internet is unfiltered information. There‰Ûªs no one out there checking the accuracy, or even the appropriateness of information on the internet.
So while your child is researching the course of World War II for a history report, they could end up on a Neo-Nazi propaganda site by accident. No responsible parent wants that for their kids, but you can‰Ûªt be sitting over their shoulder every minute of every day ensuring they don‰Ûªt end up in one of the back alleys of the internet, so what can you do? You can enlist the aid of an internet filter, which can save you hassles and headaches.
Internet filters are configurable software programs that will block access to certain websites. They can do this in one of two ways. A client filter is setup on your computer, and blocks that computer from loading certain web pages. A server filter is implemented by your internet service provider (ISP) and can be configured to block web sites on the server‰Ûªs end, before they even get to your computer.
There are many internet filters available, some are one time purchases, but most feature a monthly fee, like some antivirus software has. Net Nanny is one of the longest running internet filters. It runs on the subscription plan currently, but they offer discounts for multiple computers. You still have to pay for each additional computer you want covered. Cyber Patrol is a parental control software suite that can be installed on up to 3 machines. K9 web protection is a free alternative to the paid services. The options vary greatly depending on the service, so a thorough investigation of your options is the best way to ensure you get the product that suits your needs.
A close cousin to internet filters is the V-Chip. The V-Chip is a device in TVs that allows a user to block programs based on their content rating. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) mandated that all TVs manufactured after 2000 include a V chip. This tied into their 1996 mandate that the TV industry adopt a self imposed ratings system.
The V-chip can block shows according to their rating, or movies shown on TV via the same methods. It also allows you to block specific channels entirely. It can be set up using the remote that comes with your TV. For specifics on how to set it up on specific models of TV, refer to the user‰Ûªs manual. If you do not have the user‰Ûªs manual for your TV, check this list to find the manual for your model.
The general procedure is similar you select menu, and go to parental controls, and enter the setup menu. From there you can select which ratings and channels to block, as well as set up or change the override password. For more information on the V-chip visit the FFC‰Ûªs page at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/vchip.html .

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