Using AOL s Parental Controls

Using AOL's Parental Controls

America Online has always touted itself as a family-friendly online service. As such, it's been at the forefront of developing technologies that allow parents to have control over what their children see and do online.

AOL's Parental Controls is a leader in this area, although it does suffer from some of the same drawbacks as some of the other Web-censoring programs. For example, if you choose the tightest security level ("Kids Only," which is designed for elementary-aged kids), it blocks such sites as the official sites of Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, which your kids may want to see.

At the core of Parental Controls are the screen names. You can have up to seven screen names per AOL account. This allows families to pay one monthly fee, yet allow all its members (unless it's a particularly large family) to have their own screen name .

Each screen name can also have its own settings, or level of access. Because of this, parents can let their teenagers see more content than their preschoolers are allowed access to. And, as long as you make sure each child only knows his or her own password, you can be relatively certain they're only seeing what you think is appropriate for them.

Parental Controls are available from the Settings tab within AOL. Click on Parental Controls, and then click the Set Parental Controls link. You'll then be viewing the Parental Controls screen at which you can change settings (see Figure 14.10).

Figure 14.10. AOL's Parental Controls allows different settings for different family members.


Each AOL account has a Master Screen Name; this is the only person who is allowed to change the Parental Controls settings for the others in the clan. You choose the screen name for which you would like to set Parental Controls in the box at the top of the window. Then, you're allowed to make the following choices for that person:

  • Online timer ” Allows you to set time limits for the user to be online.

  • Web control ” You can choose from four settings: Kids Only (12 and under), Young Teen (13 “15), Mature Teen (16 “17), and General Access (18 and older). Kids Only allows only access to AOL's Kids Only Channel, whereas General Access allows full, unrestricted movement on the Web.

  • IM control ” Allows you to set whether Instant Messages can be sent and retrieved.

  • E-mail control ” Allows you to customize whether email can be sent and retrieved, and from whom.

  • Chat control ” Allows you to block certain types of chat areas from access, or all chat within AOL.

  • Additional Master ” Allows you to make another screen name a Master, so you can have more than one person setting controls.

  • Download control ” You can determine what types of downloads (if any) you allow.

  • Newsgroup ” You can set the types of newsgroups you'll allow each screen name to access.

  • Premium Services ” Determine whether access to extra AOL services (for which you are charged extra) is allowed.

Sams Teach Yourself Internet and Web Basics All in One
Sams Teach Yourself Internet and Web Basics All in One
ISBN: 0672325330
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 350
Authors: Ned Snell © 2008-2017.
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