Frequently Asked Questions

1. What dangers does the Internet pose to children

The Internet is an uncensored source of information that is not necessarily designed for children. Exploring the Internet without adult supervision or guidance can expose a child to sites that are harmful (sites that advocate violence, that are sexually explicit, that encourage inappropriate behaviour). There are some people that use chat rooms or instant messenger programmes to make inappropriate contact with children.


2. How do Internet filters work?

There are many commercial Internet filters on the market. They generally work on several levels. They often search websites for lists of inappropriate words. They often check the address (url) of websites against lists of known sites that are not good for children.


3. How effective are Internet filters?

There are many Internet filters available on the market. They tend to look for identified objectionable sites and filter for inappropriate words. Recent research indicates that even the best filters may only capture 75% of the objectionable sites. Filters occasionally block sites that are of legitimate interest. Filters can be a helpful tool, but they will not replace the careful guidance of concerned parents and teachers.


4. What are child-safe search engines?

There are a number of so-called child safe search engines available on the web. These sites tend to be directories of known safe sites that are reviewed by individuals. Using these directories (e.g. Yahooligans, Kids Click, and Ask Jeeves for Kids) children can learn to use search strategies without accidentally stumbling into a dangerous site. 


5. What can I tell my child about chatting online?

Chatting online, like other aspects of Internet use, should be governed by common sense. Remind your child that people in chat rooms maybe strangers and are not always who they say they are. Your child should never give out any personal information, including his or her real name, address, school, or other clues, which might allow someone to locate them. Again, the bottom line is that your children will take what you teach them wherever they go. Encourage them to think and be aware of the danger. SMART.


6. What are the chances of my child accessing pornography?

If you are online, most likely you will run across pornography. Many of the pornographic sites use different tricks to get you to visit them. Often they will have addresses that are very close to popular children's sites. Another trick is to buy a former child site and have it redirect to pornography. Unfortunately, when you search for just about any topic, you may be directed to a porn site. Try a filtered search engine, to get family friendly results. Another way to protect your child from viewing pornography is to install filtering software or get a filtered Internet service provider. 


7. Should I let my child use Facebook and if I do what safety measures should be put in place?

The minimum age for signing up for Facebook is 13 years old. With the right security settings in place Facebook can be a safe environment for children. In order to be eligible to sign up children must be thirteen or older. Use the privacy settings to control who gets to see their posts and profile and check with them that they have the security settings enabled on a regular basis.

Let them know that if they have been bullied, seen any inappropriate images or comments they should tell you. You can report improper use to Facebook by emailing abuse[at]facebook[dot]com


8. My child has a mobile phone with Internet access, how can I keep track of what they see?

Mobile phone operators offer free parental control services to limit the kind of content children can access through the mobile network to items suitable for under 18s. Check with your service provider that parental controls are enabled and if they aren't ask for them to be switched on.