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The internet has many dangers associated with ANY media which seeks to service such a diverse audience.
The Internet is a great source of both education and entertainment, but like anything else, it makes sense to take a few basic precautions to make certain your Internet experience is a good one. You may have heard about computer viruses, hackers breaking into computers, personal information being collected, and children stumbling upon inappropriate material. These threats are real, but don’t let them keep you (and your family) from using the Internet!
BT's LINEONE service, for example, allows parents to have a master account and have 5 sub-accounts. The benefits of services such as these are that areas such as CHAT rooms, or Usenet groups can be denied to children if parents wish for them not to be accessed. If children wish to access them, they need to have their parents activate this access. This will allow parents to monitor Internet usage. BT Lineone uses PICS Ratings to monitor content. See our PICS Section for more details
A recent development in child-protection on the internet has been the growth child-friendly ISPs and Search Engines. With these services, inappropriate content is blocked (usually using PICS labels) at the server. The downside to this is that the PICS system is not used by all web designers. Therefore, it is possible for many good informative webpages to be blocked, without actually containing offensive material.
The advent of cheap, or free, access to the internet is encouraging each of us to spend longer on line. The longer we spend online, the more at risk we are of people trying to access our computers without us knowing, leaving them open to accessing our data. This is refered to as "Hacking".
Software is rapidly becoming available for home users which will enable us to protect our computers from this type of attack. This type of software is referred to as a "Firewall". Symantec's Personal Firewall, and McAfee's Hot Dog are two examples, reviews of which will appear here shortly.
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If you have found criminal or abusive content online and wish to report it, please redirect your inquiry to the (US) National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (www.ncmec.org) or the (UK) Internet Watch Foundation (www.iwf.org.uk).