BANGALORE: Shalini Sharma is a single parent living in the suburbs with her 16-year-old son Akash. On his last birthday, she gifted him a laptop and an unlimited Internet connection. However, one day when Mrs Sharma reached home early from work, she was in for a rude shock. Apart from discovering the world of social networking, the young lad was found visiting web sites containing offensive material and videos including pornography. The worried mother soon began looking for solutions and stumbled upon www.eTechies.in, an initiative that soon provided her with an opportunity to monitor her children’s activities on the web.
With working parents finding it difficult to keep a close tab on their children, there is a urgent need for a dedicated person or software who can observe their activities on a regular basis. Hence, installing appropriate products to restrict entry on offensive sites seems to be the need of the hour. “Apart from consulting and providing solid technical support, one of the things that we specialise in is parental advisory consulting.
It is important that we understand the dark side of the Internet. Without sound education, children are always at the risk of too much exposure. Hence, one of the services that we provide includes setting up a whole control system for parents at individual consumer devices. We also have been working closely with parents and schools, helping them understand the perils or ‘the other side’ of Internet freedom,” said Rohit Chaudhary, CEO of eTechies.in.
In cases where parents are not that tech savvy, this initiative by eTechies can do wonders. With this particular service, instant SMS’s or messages can be sent to parents, if at all blocked sites are accessed by children at home. “I think this is a brilliant initiative. Children today are well equipped with computers. So, it becomes necessary for us parents to exert a certain amount of control in order to ensure that they are not wasting their time with ‘obscene’ reading material and videos. At the same time, parents should not take advantage of the situation and curb their childrens’ freedom altogether,” said Suguna Ashok, a parent.
Apart from these dedicated service providers, there are several other techniques that are aimed at creating parental controls for blocking websites.
Add-on parental control software monitor API (Application Program Interface) not only observes applications such as a web browser or Internet chat application but it can also intervene according to certain criteria, such as a match in a database of banned words. Parents can now block the icons for some applications, block access to the Internet or YouTube, and restrict the applications and movies that could be downloaded. Without having to look over their shoulders, one can easily protect their children from inappropriate websites, limit their time on the Internet, and see detailed activity reports about what they do online.