How to discuss text message notifications

By Melanie Terry |

Girl hiding face in front of laptopOne of the most unique features about the NetAngel filter is the instant alert system, which sends a text message notification if Internet content is blocked.  The purpose of the notifications is to bring the human element back into Internet use, making it the "First Human-Driven Internet Filter," as Brian indicated in his post, The History of NetAngel.  You are that human element.  You're probably wondering, "What do I need to do in the role of the human element?"  Here are some suggestions.

1. Check the URL on the notification before talking.

This might sound silly, but it might be an easy way to figure out what kind of situation you're dealing with.  For example, if the initial part of the URL ( has something to do with sex, it's likely that what was blocked was legitimately dangerous.

2. Ask about his Internet use.

This is probably the most important part--how you ask.  Avoid shaming or accusing, which will shut down dialogue.  Stay calm and be confident.  Your family member will be awkward if you are, so set the tone by asking your question in a straight-forward way.  A suggestion of how you could do this might be by saying, "Hey, I just got a text from the filter and wanted to check up on you.  Have you come across anything inappropriate?"

3. Encourage future discussion.

Remind your family member that he can (and should) always come talk to you if he runs across anything inappropriate while using the Internet, even by accident.  Remember, no filter will be able to catch everything, so there is still a chance he might come across something by accident.  If it's a child, inviting future conversations can help keep him safe by educating him as you go along.


As you monitor the text message notifications, remember that while sometimes the alert comes because of an innocent click of a button, other times it isn't so innocent.  If a family member is struggling with pornography use, see the post, You found out he's been looking at porn. Now what?  In that kind of situation, a discussion, along with sexual or family counseling, is recommended.

We encourage you to give the NetAngel filter a shot.  Go ahead and buy a router to protect all devices instantly in your home today.