To help restrict your children's access to discussions, forums, or bulletin boards that contain inappropriate materials, whether textual or graphic, many of the commercial online services and some private bulletin boards have systems in place for parents to block out parts of the online service they feel are inappropriate for their children. If you are concerned, you should contact your Internet service provider via telephone or E-mail to find out how you can add these restrictions to any accounts that your children can access.
The Internet and some private bulletin boards contain areas designed specifically for adults who wish to post, view, or read sexually explicit material. Most private bulletin board operators who post such material limit access to people who attest that they are adults but, like any other safeguards, be aware that there are always going to be cases where adults fail to enforce them, or children find ways around them.
The best way to ensure that your children are having positive online experiences is to stay in touch with what they are doing. One way to do this is to spend time with your children while they are online. Have them show you what they do and ask them to teach you how to access the services.
While children and teenagers need a certain amount of privacy, they also need parental involvement and supervision in their daily lives. The same general parenting skills that apply to the "real world" also apply while online.
If you have cause for concern about your children's online activities, talk to them. Also seek out the advice and counsel of other computer users in your area and become familiar with literature on these systems. Open communication with your children, utilization of computer resources, and getting online yourself will help you obtain the full benefits of these systems and alert you to any potential problem that may occur with their use.
By taking responsibility for their children's online computer use, parents can greatly minimize any potential risks of being online. Make it a family rule to: