Dealing with Spam, Pornography and Annoying Pop-up Ads And Protecting Children from Predators and Other Online Dangers
In my last article I spoke about how it is often necessary to change our methods to fit modern times. One area of concern that is particular to our era is the use of the internet by our children. My ancestors had to protect their children from the perils of wild animal attacks and today we must protect our children from the dangers presented to them on the Internet. This article is aimed at helping your family deal with those perils and pitfalls of the Internet.
Now, as many of you know, our Parenting with Dignity Foundation has embraced the Internet as one of our primary means of reaching and communicating with our constituents about our curriculum. You are reading our use of one of our “internet tools” that does wonderful things to help many families.
If only "good Stuff" was on the internet! But it is NOT just good stuff! As a matter of fact, what might be good to me might be bad to lots of others. Sorting out what you feel is "good" from what you feel is "bad" on the Internet is NOT at all simple for parents raising children in today’s world. Believe me, I have the utmost respect for all the positive aspects of the Internet. But, unfortunately, with all its’ positive potential and significant positive applications, the Internet can be a very dangerous place for youngsters - and an aggravating experience for many of the rest of us.
Ask anyone what bothers them the most about using the “Net” and someplace in their answer, you'll usually hear about frustrations with spam, chat rooms, sites like “My Space”, unsolicited pornography and pop-up ads. As parents, we MUST HAVE serious concerns about the problems surrounding "chat rooms", online predators, violent and hate mongering websites, and other Internet "attractions". I cannot hope to solve all of these issues in this article, but hopefully I can offer some suggestions that will help you gain some control of your family's “Internet experience”.
As a website owner whose email address is and has been available for all to access, I used to receive almost every spam e-mail that was sent every day! That “spam e-mail” used to be a terrible waste of our resources. I have received as many as 3,000+ unsolicited emails in one day! Sorting through that "pile of spam junkmail" used to sap hours from my days.
After much research and trying countless different programs, we finally found something that really works. Knowing that you may have faced similar problems, I wanted to share this knowledge with you. Then it occurred to me that it would be helpful to also discuss some internet issues other than just spam with you. A little over a year ago, I asked our "resident geek" Tom Heatherington, our CEO, to compile some helpful information about Internet Management and Internet Safety. He did so magnificiently and you may benefit from his extensive work!
He created an entire website that is attached to our Parenting with Dignity website that is called Warning Signs. You need to check this out! It is loaded with lots of direct help and hundreds of links to other sites that can offer even more help. Bookmark this link to Warning Signs!
Friends, take heart, there are things you can do to make the Internet less annoying for you and much, much safer for your children. You really can block unwanted spam and get rid of pop-ups. If you will just follow these links you will find some help:
SpamArrest (Gets our vote as the best spam blocker!)
Internet Safety Resources (This might be the “best ever” compilation of Family Internet Safety Tools!)
"Phishing" and "Pharming"
Let me close by just saying that I believe that the best filter for protecting your children from the dangers of the internet lie in the ideas in their heads! That being said, it does not hurt to have some filters in place on your computer too.
Please guard yourself against the fallacy of thinking that this technology discussed in this article will be the only protection you family will ever need. Without a doubt, the best internet filter ever designed is the Idea: "I just do not go to those kinds of sites and I do not allow myself to read or look at any of that stuff!" Place that idea in the head of your children and the internet becomes a wonderful and helpful resource for your family.