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It all started so innocently,  I have always been the one typing in the web address of the website my daughter would like to visit, usually these are educational or game websites, like barbie.com or mylittlepony.com, and it was to my absolute horror I found she has evolved and with visiting her friends who have unmonitored internet at home and things like DSTV( we don’t even have an aerial at home, so no TV for us) , has now learned to use Google and Youtube.

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the birds were chirping and she had a friend over for a play date. They asked me if they could go onto the computer and I said ‘fine, which website would you like to go onto’. I typed in the address and disappeared into the kitchen to finish up the lunch I was preparing, little did I know what life changing events would take place over the course of the next 10 minutes, now one doesn’t expect an 8 year old to browse the web like an adult, however her friend was a very web wise child. We had, had lunch and the day had gone by without anything out of the ordinary happening or being said. It was only the Sunday evening I happened to check the web history on the PC they had been on … and what I saw almost made my eyes drop out of their sockets while my heart beat sped up by about 5000 beats per second.

They had started off innocently enough on YouTube ( which my daughter knows she is not allowed to surf) searching for music, unfortunately the title of the song they were looking for had included the word ‘girls’, they had started clicking from one link to the next and eventually ended up on a website that included some soft core porn. Luckily they seemed to have closed to it almost immediately,  and what shocked me most was the fact that this had all happened in the space of 10 minutes!10 minutes, can you believe it! After speaking to my daughter, apparently her friend ( also age 8 ) had said she had been on sites like that before. I thought I would have been having this conversation in only another 8 years, but there I was, heart sinking further every second chatting about how those sites are not normal and the people on them are not normal, trying desperately to explain why they are not a good thing and illegal for her to go onto. I called the other mother and let her know what was going on with her daughters internet use, and she was just as shocked, although she admitted to just having  brought her daughter a brand new laptop with unmonitored internet access!

On further investigation I decided that until a solution could be found there would be no more time on the computer. After two weeks of research I finally made a decision on the best option available, I have now found my peace of mind and feel that it is so important to share this you, ‘ Net Nanny’. What a beautiful piece of software. I can control which sites she can visit or which sites to block, whichever setting works for you. You get notifications on email, telling you which websites your child is visiting as it happens.Web sites are blocked because they contain keywords which activate Net Nanny’s word filter. I downloaded the trial to give it a try and was beyond impressed. Try it out by  visiting www.contentwatch.com/ , read a review on the product on www.peacefire.org/censorware/Net_Nanny/ or buy it online for about R 300 on www.netnanny.com

Make sure your child is safe, our children are tech savy and if we want to protect them its our job to keep up with them and monitor at all times.