Steve Gibson and Ant Pruitt on Managing Internet Access for Kids

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The Internet can be an amazing place for learning and entertainment. But it also contains content not suitable for children. As a parent, how can you allow internet access while still protecting your kids?

On a recent episode of the popular podcast Security Now, hosts Steve Gibson and Ant Pruitt tackled this thorny issue. Both Steve and Ant speak from experience. While admitting technical solutions like firewalls can help, they both emphasize open communication with children is key.

"I would sit down with all of my kids...and talk to them honestly and openly about what's on the internet," says Steve. He stresses explaining the prevalence of inappropriate content designed purely for profit. Understanding motivations behind unsavory sites helps kids contextualize things. Pruitt echoes the vital need for a frank discussion of internet dangers. Creating an environment where children feel safe coming to their parents prevents secrecy and builds trust. "Kids will make fun of you if you don't wear the right type of t-shirt, for whatever reason, and if you don't have a phone," Ant says regarding school social pressures. With that said Ant insisted on delaying phones for his children.

Both hosts agree while parents can't completely control what kids see, vital seed planting helps offspring become more savvy web users. Eventually, they'll make mature choices, but early guidance establishes the all-important protective foundation.


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