Know of Computer Programs to Keep Teens Safe?

Updated on October 28, 2008
M.C. asks from West Fargo, ND
10 answers

I have a few teens and they get a chance to earn computer time. I hear of so many bad things that can happen to kids now days. What programs or safety systems can you recommend? What things can you give me heads up to avoid future problems and requests?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for te great advice. We have since moved the computer space to another room (more public) and I am getting together with other parents while the kids have relegion class and discuss our new options.

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answers from Des Moines on

I really like the be safe online filter. You can customize levels, times of day, types of sites. It is It's about $50 a year. It also sends activity reports of sites everyone has visited to keep kids accountable.

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answers from Green Bay on

I think it's a more a matter of educating your teens than using software to restrict their access to the net. You're already restricting their time, which is the first step, but you should also talk to them about how they interact with other people on the web.

Don't share addresses, phone numbers or other personal information with people you haven't met. Don't offer up your location (sites like BrightKite and Twitter let you share your location via text messages or the web). Don't tell people when you are or are not home. Don't tell them where you go to school.

Don't chat with just anyone. Only visit web sites you've talked about with your parents. Don't download files without making sure they are coming from a reputable site. Don't open attachments in e-mail unless you know the person they came from. Stay aware from sites like

I'm on my third teenager and we are in a very technical savvy household. We limit their time and talk to them all the time about the dangers out there just as if they were walking through a new neighborhood. Be cautious of strangers, be aware there are bad people out there, ask mom and dad if you aren't sure about a site.

Kids need to learn to be savvy about the Internet because they have access outside the house - at school, at the library, etc... - and the skills they learn as a teenager will help them in the future.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

My son just turned 11 in August and he love to play the onlne Pirates of the Caribbean game. It allows parents to check on their kids and also allows parents to control the level of contact-via email and IM, that a child can have with other players. Plus, the game sends email updates to my email so I can see what he has been doing and who he talks to. A lot of his friends play the game also. If you google "The pirates of the Caribbean" game, you will get a link to the game.
I also have my son go online through a website called Kidzui-except when he plays the pirate game. Kidzui is a safe area for kids that allows kids to chat with friends and go to safe websites-Disney, Nick.,etc. If you look at that site, you will find alot of info, it might be for a younger age group(less than 12 or so).
Hope this helps!



answers from Minneapolis on

I would recommend a program like Safe Eyes or Covenant Eyes. These are programs you purchase yearly (usually b/t $50-$80.) They allow each user a user name and specific internet access chosen by YOU. You can restrict any website that has certain categories linked to it like nudity, violence, pornography, suicide, etc. You can also block specific websites. Its easy and really worth the $$. If any restricted or blocked webpages that are comprimised they come to you on a report, you can also have an alert sent via email or text message.

I have used both of these programs. I personally liked Safe Eyes better and it is lass expensive that Covenant Eyes.



answers from Minneapolis on

M. and Cierra - I couldn't help myself - I had to respond to Cierra's great description of you. It was very heart warming and touching. Thanks for sharing of yourself Cierra, you did a great job.

I too work to help people prevent degenerative diseases such as cancer. Love to chat sometime.

All the best to you,




answers from Minneapolis on

M. C,

Several years ago, a good rule of thumb was to keep the computer in a public, high traffic area of your home. That was good advice until things like Blackberries came along and children can access the internet on their phone.

There are software progams out there and you can install firewalls and pop up blockers. That will solve the problem with your child's computer, but it won't protect them completely because so many children carry phones with internet access to school, especially as they get into middle school.

It is important to sit your child down and explain the boundaries in your family and why they are there. (You and your husband should come up with a plan beforehand and call a family council meeting.) Talk to her about the dangers of things like MySpace, FaceBook, etc. My oldest daughter is 7 and my oldest son is 5. We have already had to talk about what information you NEVER put on the internet and why (at an age appropriate level, of course) because even Webkinz and Sesame Street websites have opportunities to post personal information.

Occasionally, talk shows like Oprah and Dr. Phil to specials on internet safety for your children I have found helpful. You could check their websites.

Good luck,



answers from Minneapolis on

I make sure the computer is in the main living area and up against a wall so that the child is facing the wall and I can see whatever pages they are on from across the room. Also be sure to have a good history length and check it often. Turn up the parental controls too and that will help a lot. Mostly be strict about where they are allowed to go. Maybe even make them a list of favorites and tell them that those are the only pages they can visit. Be strict and take computer time away if they break the rules.
Best Wishes, I'm also a foster/adoptive Mom :o)



answers from Minneapolis on

We use Covenant Eyes on our computer and I would recommend it. In addition, of course, to others' comments about talking about dos and don'ts, keeping the computer in an open area, etc.



answers from Appleton on

I'm not sure about teen programs, but my son (8 yrs) likes to go on,, and club penguin.

I want to add... I think that was SO cool letting your 10 yr old type "A little bit about me". What a special thing for her to do! Sounds like she really looks up to you. What a great mom! (as I'm sure many others here on mamasource are too)

Also, it's great to see they have to EARN the computer time. I think this is a very good question and will be watching for ideas myself. Hope you find some fun ones your kids will enjoy going to.




answers from Waterloo on

That bio your daughter wrote about you is so sweet! Good job Cierra!

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