Protect your child and your computer

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

Everyone with kids will know this feeling. Your child wants to use the computer, to go online and visit one of the many websites that caters to their needs. Some are educational, some are just fun.


We worry though. It is so easy for a small child to click on something they shouldn’t and see something inappropriate.

Then of course there is the worry that they may accidentally install some malicious software, delete all your files or start buying things with mummy and daddy’s credit cards.

Don’t worry too much, because kids are quite clever when it comes to computers, but they do need guidance. Here are some tips to help you and them.

The most obvious thing you can do is to create a separate profile for your children. Make sure it does NOT have administrator rights (it should be set like this by default) and that your own profile is password protected (It is no good creating a safe environment for them, if all they have to do is switch profiles).

By creating a profile with minimum permissions, you are preventing your children from installing applications without your knowledge. Also, you are protecting the files in your own profile from inquisitive eyes and twitchy fingers.

When browsing internet sites, you may wish to restrict access to certain websites, or types of sites. There are parental controls available in Windows and other operating systems. You can for instance block access to a specific website, or use filters to block different types of content.

My experience with the latter has led to frustration more than anything. Filters aren’t foolproof you see. You may find that sites are being blocked needlessly, or not at all. So I would advise caution and to use your own judgement on a case by case basis.

The greatest thing you can do is to be there for your child. Make sure the computer is in an open area of the house and not tucked away in a bedroom. Monitor your child’s usage and step in when you think they are straying out of your comfort zone.

Alan Stainer