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How can I Child-Proof my Computer?

Child-proofing your computer is essential to safeguard your little ones from inappropriate content and accidental mishaps. Start by setting up separate user accounts with strict parental controls, installing robust security software, and keeping the computer in a common area. Want to ensure your child's digital safety is comprehensive? Discover how to create a secure and kid-friendly online environment in our full guide.
Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

If you have a computer in your home, there are many things you can do to child-proof it in order to keep both your computer and your children safe. This includes preventing your children from becoming physically injured, as well as preventing your children from gaining access to images or text that may be emotionally or mentally damaging.

Since a computer is a piece of electrical equipment, there are steps you should take to child-proof it in order to prevent your child from becoming physically harmed. First, you should never allow a child to take drink or food near the computer. Not only can spillage result in electrocution, but it can also cause permanent damage to your computer. You should also child-proof your computer by making sure all cables are properly plugged in and in good shape.

Filtering software can prevent a child from viewing inappropriate online content.
Filtering software can prevent a child from viewing inappropriate online content.

In order to child-proof your computer from questionable sites and online predators, you should install special Internet filtering software. Most of this software allows parents to set separate controls for themselves and for the children. By using filtering software, you can block out sites that you find offensive.

Many of these filters also recognize questionable Web sites and block them out without requiring you to manually input the data. Still, this is not a foolproof way to child-proof a computer. These programs are not capable of keeping up with all of the new sites added to the Internet every day. In addition, children can find ways to work around them.

Some parents raise their child's awareness of computer security issues by discussing how to safely surf the Internet.
Some parents raise their child's awareness of computer security issues by discussing how to safely surf the Internet.

Another important way to child-proof your computer is to discuss safety concerns with your child. Provide the child with boundaries and explain the importance of never giving out personal information. This includes your phone number and address, and the name of the child’s school. Since children do not always follow the rules provided by their parents, the computer should also be kept in a public area of the home. In this way, you can monitor your child’s activity and see the sites that he or she is visiting.

Children should be taught safe computer habits, and be well-supervised while online.
Children should be taught safe computer habits, and be well-supervised while online.

When monitoring your child’s activity, make sure he or she does not visit chat rooms. You can child-proof your computer by telling your filter to block all chat rooms in order to ensure your child does not visit these sites. If all of these child-proof tips have not helped and you are afraid your child may have made a dangerous online connection, call the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s CyberTipline at 1-800-843-5678 inside the United States.

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Discussion Comments

Alchemy

If your computer is already infected with malware or running slow, you should use malware removal software; like McAfee's advert stinger. You can download the software free directly from McAfee's website. I like stinger because it removes viruses and worms, and fixes damage they have done.

There are other removal tools available you just need to do a little searching. Cnet is a good resource for free software, and Cnet’s downloads are tested to be malware free.

GiraffeEars

@ Anon39106- The best ways to child proof your computer without buying any additional software or hardware is to lock user profiles with a password, install good antivirus software (which is offered free with high speed internet providers), and set your parental controls in your web browser. All of these options will prevent your children from accessing sites you deem inappropriate, as well as prevent them from downloading harmful viruses and spyware that litters many sites popular with children.

Password protections on your start screen will also baby proof your computer form inadvertent keystrokes. Besides that, you should follow common sense rules, like storing a laptop closed and out of reach, not allowing access to cables and wires, and closing the screen on your laptop when you step away. If you follow all of these guidelines, you should have a worry free computer experience while children are present.

anon39106

When we query about child proofing our computer, we are looking for info regarding our computer as is, not purchasing additional software.

Try to arm us with helpful info to do such based on our computers current offerings, such as in "control panel" and some corrections we can make.

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    • Filtering software can prevent a child from viewing inappropriate online content.
      By: Syda Productions
      Filtering software can prevent a child from viewing inappropriate online content.
    • Some parents raise their child's awareness of computer security issues by discussing how to safely surf the Internet.
      By: Oleksiy Mark
      Some parents raise their child's awareness of computer security issues by discussing how to safely surf the Internet.
    • Children should be taught safe computer habits, and be well-supervised while online.
      By: wckiw
      Children should be taught safe computer habits, and be well-supervised while online.