The internet and smart phones make it increasingly easy for anyone to get involved with alternate realities such as video games and e-chats, including children. Children are naturally trusting and often don't take enough precautions to shield themselves from inappropriate content or from older people who aim to take advantage of them from afar without leaving their condos. Toronto parents and their global counterparts, in their quest to protect their kids, often make use of safety devices such as parental controls.

Parental controls are special programs that allow parents to restrict their children's access to certain fonts of information, such as the internet or television. By entering their preferences for what the child should and should not be able to watch, parents can feel more secure about allowing their kids to entertain themselves without direct supervision, because the program will block kids from accessing anything the parent has deemed inappropriate.

Most televisions come with a parental control function that allows parents to block certain channels by password protecting their access and cable and satellite television providers take it one step further by allowing parents to block individual shows through their DVRs. Kids often engage in the internet and online play on their game systems when alone in their Markham, Ontario real estate, and there are programs for restricting access here, too. Some operating systems, like Windows 7, even come with them preinstalled.

Even if you have parental controls installed on all the electronics in your home, that doesn't mean you no longer need to supervise your kids while they play. It's important that you still check in regularly on what they're doing, as the internet landscape is ever-changing. You can only block the inappropriate content that you know about, so keep up to date on the worst offending sites and shows by subscribing to a newsletter or judging for yourself by watching the show.

As your kids grow, you will find it increasingly difficult to control their access due to the simple fact that they will be visiting their friends homes, going to school, and improving their computer skills. Expect that they will eventually figure out your password, and change it frequently. Monitor their activities periodically so you can see for yourself if they've figured out a way around your controls. Kids are often more computer savvy than their parents and tend to regard unfettered access as their right, so expect monitoring and controlling their access to be a constant battle.

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