Monday, January 30, 2012

Free Resources: Parental Control Software

On Wednesday January 18, ten parents who attend the Metropolitan Parent Center’s (MPC) support group participated in a workshop about how to use the Internet. The third floor of Sinergia has a library available for parents along with a computer area adjacent to the library that has a number of computers available to parents, so we were able to give them direct, hands-on instruction. The workshop was conducted in Spanish and covered everything about identifying the components of a computer: the tower, monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and what their functions are. This was done because the majority of the parents have little or no computer literacy skills so it was important that they knew some basics on how computers work. In addition, most of the parents do not have computers at home. The parents were also offered some basic information about the Internet, including how to log on and how to make inquiries using the Google search engine. Because they are all parents of children with disabilities, we practiced how to find information about their children’s disabilities (i.e., autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy.) They were shown that they could write questions in Spanish and would be given responses in Spanish. The MPC promotes the fact that in order for parents to be effective advocates, they need to learn how the disability affects their children’s ability to learn in the classroom.

Parents also received information about parental controls that protect children from being able to access inappropriate or dangerous Internet web sites. While the parents may lack computer and Internet skills, their children are very knowledgeable on that subject so some time was dedicated to showing the class how to check on the websites children have visited via the “history tab” in the Firefox, a popular web browser available to Internet users. A list of free downloadable parental control software was provided to parents, and some links are provided below. Overall, the parents enjoyed this workshop very much and expressed great interest in future opportunities to learn about, and be able to use the Internet as a tool to further their understanding about disabilities.

Free Parental Control Software

1.    K9 Web Protection - K-9 blocks websites in more than 70 categories, including pornography, gambling, drugs, violence/hate/racism, malware/spyware, phishing
2.    Parental Control Bar - Free software that helps concerned parents prevent their children from accessing adult-oriented web sites.
3.    Action Alert - Creates a kid-safe PC with filtering and website blocking and permits parents to review activity to determine whether anything suspicious occurs.
4.    KidsWatch - Allows parents to set computer usage time limits by child and blocks access to dangerous and inappropriate websites. It alerts parents immediately when a child steps outside the boundaries of safe surfing. KidsWatch™ will automatically send you e-mail alerts when your child enters or receives a suspect phrase or keyword from any chat conversation.

Free Parental Control Software in Spanish (Controles Para Padres en español)
1.    Naomi - Un programa para bloquear páginas web inadecuadas, dirigido a menores de edad que están expuestos en la red, con contenidos como por ejemplo pornografía, etc. Cada vez que se intente acceder en forma voluntaria o accidental a una página inadecuada el navegador se cerrará rápidamente.
2.    Time Sheriff - Permite administrar las horas que pasan sus hijos en la computadora. Time Sheriff puede limitar el tiempo de sesión de usuarios, prevenir la ejecución de juegos, navegadores y programas de mensajería instantánea.
3.    PC Lock Station - Un programa que permite monitorizar y limitar las actividades de un usuario frente a la PC. Permite establecer límites a la navegación por sitios inapropiados, definir horarios o tiempos máximos de uso.
4.    Amigo Control Parental - Este programa graba lo que se ve en la pantalla en todo momento para que después un padre pueda comprobar qué ha estado haciendo su hijo en la computadora. Es más, puede leer lo que ha escrito y lo que su hijo ha leído.

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