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How to Use Parental Controls to Deter Cyberbullying

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Unfortunately, technological advancements that solve problems sometimes seem to create new ones as a result. As an example, take the Internet and the use of email, instant messaging, social networking web sites, and electronic bulletin boards. These are great tools for disseminating information and enhancing telecommunication.

However, these great tools can also be abused with spam and the spreading of viruses that can take over your PC as well as lies and hateful messages, which can take over someone’s life, especially if that someone is a young student.

Nowadays, when school children leave campus, they don’t necessarily leave their classmates and their conflicts behind. By using computers, text pagers, and cell phones, students can be in touch with each other at all times and use all this technology to pester, bully, and harm others.

While no security software company has a product that can eliminate cyberbullying from your children’s lives, McAfee® SecurityCenter does provide parents with some tools that mitigate the experience for their kids.

McAfee Internet Security and McAfee Total Protection™ products both come with parental controls that, if employed properly, help limit the access your children might have to objectionable material whenever they go online. McAfee Family Protection provides the easiest, most complete way to keep your children safe online. It keeps children of all ages safe from exposure to inappropriate content, social networking risks, strangers, and other online threats. Giving you peace of mind is McAfee’s ultimate goal. Here are some suggestions for helping with cyberbullying: (1) limit the child’s time online; (2) block access to inappropriate web sites; (3) use keyword filtering; and (4) use image analysis filtering.

One thing that concerns almost all parents is the amount of time children spend online. The less time online, the less time to be bullied or get caught up in cyber-social-warfare. If you want to limit the amount of time your child spends online, you can use the "Internet Time Limits" option within the McAfee SecurityCenter. Here you are able to block out times of the day in which the child cannot use the Internet.

In addition to limiting the amount of time your children spend online, you can also limit the web sites that they visit by using the "Block Web Sites" feature, where you simply type in the web site addresses (also known as URLs). For example: www.myspace.com. Or alternatively, simply list the sites that are safe for your children to visit by using the "Allowed Web Sites" feature.

Parents can also use the "Keywords" feature to filter out unwanted language and rude discourse from email and instant messaging exchanges. Another tool for parents to employ is the image analysis, which will help prevent inappropriate photos being displayed to young people

Of course, these tools have a limited scope regarding the prevention of cyberbullying. Nothing can take the place of an attentive and responsive parent when a child is bullied, either online or offline. Also, be sure that your child is not victimizing other children by bullying them, the same way they are being bullied.


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