SafeSurf.com - Promotes an Internet rating system that, when coded into a page, allows the rating program user to know what type of site they are about to view.
Protecing Kids' Privacy - Official site for the Federal Trade Commission, including tips for parents and downloadable resources.
FilterReview.com - Produced by the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. There are a lot of products reviewed, however it doesn't list every product on the market.
We-Blocker - One of very few Internet filtering programs that is free. Currently, the only version available is for Windows.
As a group, children are among the most active of Internet participants. Unfortunately, they are the most vulnerable to the negative elements of this emerging cyber-society. Parents and educators face the responsibility of providing a safe way for children to surf the Web.
Is there a guarantee that a child's Internet excursions will be safe? The quick answer is no. No one can insure that one Web link, no matter how innocent, might lead to another and eventually to some undesirable website. To freely associate and surf from one link to another is the beauty of the Web. However, for those who need protection from dangerous people and adult material, it is also its nemesis.
There are lots of organizations with a vested interest in protecting young surfers. Some of these groups encourage websites to take the responsibility of making a site safe, or warning the user in advance if it is not. For example, SafeSurf.com requests that sites include tags on their pages that help identify their content. These tags are then read by a SafeSurf Rating File that can be downloaded for free from the SafeSurf site. Depending on the rating file settings, the user can choose what levels of content the browser will be allowed to display.
Filtering is a tough issue. Often, those responsible for kids know less about the workings of the Internet or about the software that is designed to protect them than the children themselves. For example, some parents have naively invested in filtering software to prevent their children from accessing adult material but have to ask the same child to install the program. They don't realize that the person who installs the software will then know how to override the filter or disable it altogether.
However, perhaps the most effective way to protect your child from harmful content isn't a money investment, but one of time. While there are free filtering programs available on the Web, remember that talking with your child helps him or her to understand the reason behind safe surfing and your values and expectations concerning the Web (much like TV, music and other media). By providing your child with the knowledge and resources to protect themselves, and explaining what is and isn't appropriate Web behavior, parents enable their child to become safe surfers. Try the Yahoo! SAFELY Family Pledge for Online Safety as a start!
Learn More About . . .
& CIPA Laws
There are federal laws in place to protect children's privacy - find out what they are and what they mean to a child's surfing experience.
There are lots of other websites out there on safe surfing - from kid-friendly search engines to resources for your child to learn about safe surfing.