Protecting Children on the Internet


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Click here to see SafetyNet -- the book that shows parents and children how to guide and guard their children on the Internet.
Ten steps to Net safety.
Report inapropriate web sites with Net Scrubber.
KidShield news, reports and press releases.
Reviews of top parental control software.

U.S. and international political efforts to safeguard children online.
Reviews of family-friendly policies of top Internet Service Providers.

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Newsgroups that start with the three letters "alt" are devoted to alternative topics – for example, Unfortunately, many of the most pornographic newsgroups are alt groups.
AltaVista is one of the best search engines. For aid in conducting searches, print the help file by clicking the button found at the upper right part of the query box. One drawback to AltaVista is that it offers no parental control options and may show inappropriate text when queried on innocuous topics. For example, if a child looks for "toys," they may get explicit references to sexual toys.
AOL (America Online)

The largest of the online service providers, AOL offers some family-friendly features (see the ISP comparison chart on the Internet Service Provider page). In addition to proprietary online content not found elsewhere, AOL offers direct access to the Internet.
Computer files can be attached to an e-mail message in the same fashion that a document can be attached to a cover memo with a paperclip. Attachments can be any sort of computer file – graphics, text or software.
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- B -


The Internet’s central data transmission lines are sometimes referred to as the backbone. The backbone is not operated by any one company or government. In the U.S., seven companies operate components of the Internet backbone. These companies transfer traffic back and forth between their networks as needed. For example, if a MCI customer sends e-mail to a Sprint user, the message will be carried partly on the MCI backbone and partly on Sprint’s.

This refers to the amount of electronic traffic that can flow through a connection. For example, a 28K modem has very little bandwidth, a 56K modem has twice as much and AT&T’s main fiber optic trunklines that connect cities have huge bandwidth. The more bandwidth, the faster the words, images and sound appear on your screen as you travel the Net.
Binary (or binaries)

This word has many meanings, but in an Internet context it refers to newsgroups that offer picture or sound files. A large number of these can be found under the newsgroup heading alt.binaries. Many of the largest binary newsgroups are pornographic.

Most browsers use the term "bookmark" for web sites that have been marked for an easy return. Internet Explorer, however, refers to bookmarks as "Favorites."

The software program that you are using to view this web site is a browser. Almost all browsers also enable users to look at newsgroups and send e-mail. Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer 3.0, also has the ability to screen Internet sites based on any PICS compatible standard.
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- C -


There are two types of cache used by most browsers. The first is the cache stored in the computer’s active memory (RAM) and the second is a hard drive cache. The purpose of cache is to speed up the web surfing experience. As anyone who has jumped from one web site to another can attest, the viewing process is sometimes painfully slow. The first time a user visits a web site, the cache automatically stores the site’s graphics and text. The next time the user visits the site, the images are quickly retrieved from the cache instead of being slowly pulled in over the Net. Both Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer create subdirectories in the computer’s hard drive, called "cache" that contain the cached files. These files can be viewed directly, providing a way for parents to check what their children have been viewing online. (Unless, of course, their children are knowledgeable enough to delete the sites they visit from the cache.)

One of the more popular Internet features, chat allows users to converse via short written messages. Typically, many people will join in on a chat, writing messages that are displayed simultaneously on each participant’s computer screen. There are several varieties of chat. The most common are Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and chat rooms which are offered by online services such as AOL. AOL chat rooms allow up to two dozen people to take part in conversations with different rooms devoted to different subjects. With IRC, there may be hundreds of participants in any one chat group.
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