Tips Regarding the Internet in Christian Homeswith Children and Teenagers… (Part 2) Tips Part 1
In part 1 of this story, we discussed the location of the computer, web pornography, seemingly innocent web destinations, and a shared computer password. Now on to a less obvious internet trouble source to be aware of.
More dangerous that web usage on the internet is newsgroup usage. No, I don't mean cnn.com, npr.org, or other news organizations on the web. Newsgroups are not on the web. They are on the internet and become available from your email program. Many people don't know these newsgroups exist. You communicate with a newsgroup by selecting topics that interest you. Then perhaps hundreds or thousands of email-like messages download to your email program. You read them like you do any other email. If you send mail to a newsgroup then you are sending it to be publicly read by the thousands of people who may subscribe to that newsgroup. No privacy at all.
I own an internet access company. ISPs like myself and AOL and your national or local ISP select which newsgroups to make available. Subscribing to a newsgroup means downloading maybe a thousand emails and this hits the bandwidth of the internet access company. Bandwidth costs the ISP money. So not every newsgroup that exists is available to you. Perhaps you don't have the pornographic newsgroups available. I'm not really sure what newsgroups that my iFUN.com ISP makes available. There are so many… And since iFUN.com piggybacks onto multiple major nationwide Global Service Providers I don't have control of which newsgroups are available. (I can't afford the bandwidth and infrastructure without piggybacking.) I've rarely viewed even a few of them. I can't understand by the names what most of them are about. The Microsoft ones are easy to find. They can be useful when troubleshooting technical internet or programming issues. But I don't attempt to entertain myself reading from this abundance of material. Further, newsgroup information comes to you with no way to verify the legitimacy of the source.
If you find pornographic news groups from my listing, please let me know. Not that I can do much about it but I ought to know. Of course, you would have to purchase iFUN.com internet access to be able to view my list of newsgroups. And if you pay for internet access, you'll save money while researching these newsgroups at iFUN. I probably do have some unwholesome newsgroups because I once was forced to cancel a customer because he spammed a newsgroup with unwanted criticisms. I wasn't told which newsgroup.
I may find it too time consuming to investigate among all these newsgroups. But teenagers have more time than they'll ever have after leaving their teens. And they have friends, personal or online, that may suggest less than good newsgroups to read from or participate in. The worst of pornography is available through some of these newsgroups (if your ISP makes them available and I believe most ISPs make at least a few available although probably not the worst since one ISP ad said it provided all of the unsavory newsgroups). And newsgroups don't charge. It's free! (Other than your normal internet charges.) So it's a source of goodies to hide from parents if teenagers are left alone or can work the internet in their bedrooms.
You'll recognize newsgroups in your email folders if any have been subscribed to. Subscribing doesn't cost extra. Subscribe merely means, "show me this newsgroup". If you see newsgroups, check out which ones have been subscribed to and downloaded onto your computer. You can read them as easily as you read email from friends. I'd feel uncomfortable if my children subscribed to newsgroups. Most are at least OK though so prohibiting newsgroups is probably not the solution. I recommend monitoring newsgroups.
The key word is monitoring. Try to not be obvious and arbitrarily controlling. But always be aware.
Part 1: Computer location, web pornography, a shared computer password, and more...