By Gregg Housh
The world wide web is a evolving community, home to everything from exciting new recipes to embarrassing videos to books that are no longer in print. In recent years, as the Web 2.0 revolution shifted the focus of the content online from websites to individual users, the amount and variety of information and entertainment available has exploded. Unfortunately, while the nature of the internet permits for the mass propagation of just about anything, it also means that a considerable amount of what’s available might not be considered appropriate for children (or in some cases, anyone at all).
Protecting kids from the hazards of dangerous and inappropriate material online has been a tremendous challenge for families and educators since the internet became a part of daily life for the majority of Americans. Some may feel in their frustration that the easiest solution is to simply keep kids off the internet entirely, but research has shown that keeping kids offline can stunt their development in the information age.
The internet is a priceless tool for the near instant transfer of information, and being able to navigate it effectively is an indispensable skill in the modern world. Students can benefit greatly from the educational material online as well, so it’s understood that some sort of compromise must be made to allow children some access to the internet. Web filters are the most common programs that familys and educators employ to try to allow children online without giving them access to everything on the web.
The balance that any web filter must strike between allowing some but not all content in is a complicated one, and some services are criticized for either blocking legitimate content or allowing objectionable content through. Some even suffer from both of these problems simultaneously. Even worse, some filters can easily be subverted by inquisitive teens with little to no technical skill.
Google, being the most popular search engine on the planet, is the first stop for most users and especially most of the younger users. There’s lots of safe content out there for children to access, and Google has always offered its own filter for search results, which has been very successful. Unfortunately these settings could easily be changed by any user, including the ones who shouldn’t not be getting unfiltered content in the first place.
Now, Google has launched a new improvement that allows a user to lock the SafeSearch option with a password to prevent children from altering the settings. The results generated by Google’s search engine while these SafeSearch settings are in place will also be visibly different from the normal search results, with a large image of colored balls in the upper right corner letting parents and teachers know even from across the room that the filter is still working.
There’s more than one way to keep children safe online, and the best option is to combine several layers of protection. Google’s new SafeSearch is a valuable tool to help keep objectionable material away from children, but it’s no substitute for active involvement with children while they are using the internet and educating them about the dangers that lie in the unsavory parts of the web.
Geek Choice prides itself on teaching you about the daily advances introduced to this world in which our company continues to grow. If you have any questions, feel free to contact one of us. We are a Computer Repair company specializing in: Virus Removal, Spyware Removal, Data Backup, Data Recovery, Wireless Networking, Business Networking, and a lot more. At Geek Choice we can fix a wide range of problems including: Slow Computer, Slow Internet, Printer not printing, blue screen of death, and anything else computer related. Give Geek Choice a call any time at 1-800-GEEK-HELP (433-5435).
Gregg Housh holds the position of Technician Manager at Geek Choice. At Geek Choice we solve computer problems like: Slow computer, Virus Removal, Spyware Removal, Computer startup problems, Printer not printing, Not connecting to the Internet, Scanner not working, or the “blue screen of death”.
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