Like a lock, Internet filtering software is for honest people.
Providing good character training and a strong relationship with your child is the foundation of Internet safety in your family. Your child needs to be able to recognize when he is exposed to something dangerous and he needs to trust you enough to be able to share concerns about what he faces.
It is never too late to begin character training, but the earlier the better. You also need to model good character traits especially to your young child. Young children in particular learn more from what they see you do rather than what you say. Be careful to always tell the truth and follow rules that apply to you as you go through the day. Be sure to point out to your young child that you are obeying the rules that apply to you. For instance you might ask your child if she knows why you did not park in the handicap spot and be ready to explain if she does not know the answer.
Building a strong relationship with your child is a long process. Trust and honesty needs to be modeled. As your child gets older you will actually give your child opportunities to demonstrate trust to you. You might tell your eight year old that you are going to allow him to get up and go into the living room to read in the morning if he normally wakes before everyone else. If he sticks to reading as opposed to watching television or playing video games then he has demonstrated a level of trust to you. One of the ways my wife and I model trust is to share access to all email and social networking accounts. This practice has other benefits that I will share later, but it certainly serves as a model of trust between family members.
The bottom line is that all of the Internet filtering software and restrictions on when/how the Internet can be used will be a waste of time if your child is not honest and trustworthy. There are too many ways around your rules and the technology filters if your child decides to go where they want against your wishes. As previously stated, just like locks, Internet filters are for honest people.
Remember: Technology Safety is more about Behavior than the Technology!
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