As you will no doubt be aware one of the wonders of modern technology is the Internet; an environment that allows us to receive almost instant communications from across the world and to publish and participate in a truly global community.

The Internet is a place that is evolving daily, at a pace that has probably never been previously witnessed in human memory. Not just in a linear fashion with ever increasing access speeds, bigger screens and more efficient and faster PC's, but also in the breadth of services and functionality available over this technology.

One must remember that the internet is a tool and tools can be used for good and for bad. Our children are becoming more exposed to this type of technology and,  yes Yoda was right, there is a dark side. It is the nature of children to explore this exciting new world and in all innocence they will inevitably go places where we would wish otherwise.

For those who are not technically inclined the Internet can be a daunting prospect. The purpose of these pages is to try and give parents some comfort and support in managing our children's integration with it. The content will change and grow over time, some of it will be specific and some generic advice, so come back occasionally. Add us to your favourites - it's only a single click after all.

The following information is not exclusive, offers no guarantees and accepts no liability for its use. Please note that these websites linked to on this page are third party websites and Virneth is in no way affiliated with them.

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Tips and hints

  • The Internet and the Web are fantastic places to encourage creativity and broaden the horizon - try not to deny it unnecessarily

  • Be involved in what they are doing - maybe not technically - but there are things you can offer such as advice on what is acceptable and what is not.

  • NEVER let them advertise any personal details such as name and address

What are the Benefits of teaching Science?

Contrary to popular belief it is not the intention to convert all our charming little darlings into reclusive mad scientists hell bent on blowing up the world from their bedroom! So you can sleep easy tonight. (Benefit #1)

Not surprisingly there are a number of reasons why science is taught - but not all of them are to do with science.....

  • We can acquire a knowledge about important scientific principles and concepts. A number of children will eventually build on that knowledge and use it directly to their own advantage (big salaries and that sort of thing), a tiny minority (one in a generation) will be inspired to do something really dramatic (the genius that actually does blow up the world for example). Most, however, will use the knowledge to form a basic understanding of the world around them.

    The key  here is that if they understand how things work and behave then they will develop some respect for the environment and living things - this should lead to a better existence for all of us. (Benefit #2)

  • We can establish some Common Terms of Reference. In simple English this means we can all talk the same language giving us the ability to share our knowledge and communicate it precisely without loosing any meaning.

    This is an invaluable skill that we often take for granted. For example:

    "Would you like an ice cream?"

    "Yes please, vanilla in a cornet with a flake in it"

    When discussing scientific principles it is imperative that you adopt a structured method of describing them. The consequences of the cornet being a large or a small one are insignificant; there could be dramatic consequences if somebody placed the decimal point in the wrong place when calculating the orbit of a space station; anyone remember Skylab? (Not to mention what some people might interpret a flake to be!)

    Good communication = less mistakes = more time for sunny beaches and ice cream (Benefit#3)

  • We can share the adventure and explore our environment with others. This is great because it helps us develop relationships and to consider other peoples beliefs and needs.

    Then we know how to help each other (Benefit#4)

There are certainly many more benefits - try to discuss what they might be and consider how they fit into your life. I'm all for the relaxing sunny beaches and ice cream; yes I know it can hurt your teeth sometimes but if you do the science you might know why - you might even consider using sun block!

Parental Control and Proxy Servers

Some companies offer parental controls for you to manage access to undesirable content. More often than not this involves a Proxy Server.

A proxy server is an agent that goes out onto the web and retrieves information or pages for you. It usually stores this information in a local cache so that next time you (or somebody else) wants that information it can quickly serve it up without taking the time to retrieve it from its source location.

Client (Web browser) <--------- Proxy <----------- Web Server

Usually a parental control involves a program, such as the one by SurfControl,  running on the proxy. These programs will check the requested page address against a list of rated sites. If the site is rated as something that you would not like to see on your screen it will not display it.

These rating lists have to be kept up to date, but the rate that undesirable sites are being published means that it can be difficult to do this sometimes and some get through.

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