As the school year begins, how their children access the Internet becomes a hot topic in the minds of parents. Many parents are concerned about the possibility of their children accessing inappropriate websites and some are concerned about the possible negative effect on children’s bodies from prolonged use of PC.
There are also many studies available that discuss the potential negative aspects of prolonged PC use by children, such as poor posture and eye strain. This only adds to the problem that parents have of deciding how much is too much when it comes to the computer.
The general guidelines that these studies recommend are similar to what airlines suggest for travelers. The child should be sitting in a natural position with good posture and take a break every 20 minutes to stretch and let their eyes rest.
How much access to the Internet is too much? I read a survey from a local school district that indicates what limits other parents are setting with their children.
According to the 2010 survey, about 70% (69.1%) were using a PC at home to access the Internet. 76.2% of the children are using a PC at home regardless of the availability of Internet access.
In terms of comparison between the different grade levels, about half (56% ) of grammar school-aged children use a PC to access the Internet at home, 73.2% in middle school, and 78.4% in high school. So the use of a home PC to access the Internet is higher as the grade goes up. But with the school system increasing the use of PC and smart boards in the class environment, the use of PCs by children is likely to continue to rise.
Of the parents who responded that their children use PC at home, 27.8% responded that they use content filtering features. 2.5% said that their PC does not have access to the Internet or has restricted access to the Internet. 61.9% said that they do not use content filtering, 0.9% said they used to have content filtering but they stopped, and 6.9% had no idea if they have the content filtering feature turned on or not.
Of the parents who responded that they do not use content filtering, 37.1% said that there is no need for content filtering since the child is using the PC where there is a parental presence. 37% said that they did not think about it because the entire family is using the same PC, and 26.6% responded that they trust their children. 19.4% said that they do not feel the need for content filtering and 15.2% said that they were not aware of content filtering features.
If you are not familiar with the content filtering feature on your computer, the Parental Controls can help manage how your children use the computer. For example, you can set limits on your children’s access to the web, the hours that they can log on to the computer, and which games they can play and programs they can run.
Putting such restrictions in place is ultimately each parent’s decision but if you do want to use such restrictions, they are available and it is easy to manage.