Special Contributor: Terri Williams
Keeping your home warm doesn’t happen automatically, and neither does keeping children safe on the Internet. Both situations require keen observation, thorough preparation, and continued diligence to stop would-be invaders from wreaking havoc. However, the joys of having safe kids and a warm and comfortable home in the winter are incomparable delights, and these tips will help you enjoy both.
Insulation provides a protection barrier. In a house, insulation protects the home from winter’s harsh weather. On the Internet, insulation protects children from Internet predators.
Protect the vulnerable areas of the house and keep the warm air inside by insulating the attic, exterior walls, and floors above unheated garages. Likewise, insulate children from Internet dangers by installing a firewall and antivirus software. This will thwart the efforts of villains who try to transfer viruses and malicious software to the computer.
Location is a critical factor. To maximize the home’s heating system, the thermostat should be installed on an interior wall. In addition, it should not be close to vents, windows, or sunlight, and it should not be close to lamps and other sources of heat, since placement in these areas will prevent the thermostat from producing a true reading, which will cause the unit to work harder to reach and maintain the desired temperature.
Along the same lines, placing the computer in a central location that is frequented by most family members – such as the kitchen or crowded family room – will allow more effective monitoring of a child’s Internet activity, whereas putting the computer in an isolated location creates unnecessary temptations.
Controlled settings will prevent unwanted fluctuations. Programmable thermostats allow homeowners to preset the temperature settings. When the house is empty or the family is asleep, the heating unit can be set to either cut off or operate at a lower temperature than it does when the house is inhabited and everyone is active.
In the same way, parental control settings block access to explicit and inappropriate Internet material, and also stores information regarding sites that children have visited. The settings can also provide time limits for how much time children are allowed to be on the Internet.
Securing rooms hinders undesirable activity. To avoid sending heat to unused rooms, close the vents in these areas and then close the doors to these rooms. This action forces the heat into the desired locations, creating a warmer environment while lowering heating costs. On the Internet, chat rooms can provide dangerous environments for children to talk to pedophiles who are pretending to be other children. In addition, experienced con artists can hack into the computer to discover the child’s location and also access other information such as the parents’ credit and bank card data. Don’t allow children to access chat rooms unless they are monitored by adults.
As you can see, keeping your kids safe online is quite a bit like keeping your home warm when it’s cold outside – stay safe and warm!