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Do you monitor your kids activity on the Internet?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / April 11, 2007 5:01 AM PDT

Do you monitor your children's or grandchildren's activity on the Internet?

-- Yes, I have parental-control utilities. (What are they?)

-- Yes, I am physically present when they use the Internet. (What about when you're not around?)

-- Yes, I monitor them both physically and electronically. (Please explain.)

-- Occasionally. (Do you think it's enough?)

-- No, I trust my kids. (Please tell us your secret to success.)

-- No, because I see no threat. (Please explain.)

-- They're too young now, but eventually I will. (At what age?)

-- They're adults now, but I think I still should.

-- Who need kids...I can't even keep myself out of trouble!

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I'm not an adult myself!
by Solafide / April 11, 2007 9:09 AM PDT

I'm not exactly older than 18 yet. But I take care of setting up filters for our computers. My parents also look over my shoulder on occasion, and the computers are all in a very public area of the house.

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We don't block or ban
by lostinlodos / April 11, 2007 9:23 AM PDT

I know most people would disagree with our decisions but: we don't censor our kids. We'll monitor, and explain and discuss what they come across, but never would we block or ban. We don't see the information available as being the threat, but the concious act of banning and blocking information (including violence and sexuality) as a threat, not just to our kids but to all of society. They're both over 10 now, neither is over 18. They're old enough to know what exists and what is real/not real. No need to hide them from what they'll undoubtedly come across somewhere else eventually.

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so... if you so happen to see them watching porn...
by rad91 / April 11, 2007 10:08 AM PDT
In reply to: We don't block or ban

that's cool with you? Maybe you would discourage them in doing so, but you'll take absolutely no step to stopping them? Just curious.

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There's my own history in this
by lostinlodos / April 11, 2007 10:20 AM PDT

I started my "sexual exploration" at a very young age; third grade. Today, I blame the repressive nature of my raising for having to find out that stuff on my own. I probably wouldn't have DONE half the things I did had I had another source to deal with, ie watching it. I have no intention of seeing them watch "porn". I have caught them digging around in those sites before, and both my response and my fianc

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so... you don't mind your 10-year old from watching porn...
by rad91 / April 11, 2007 10:57 AM PDT

I guess there's no law against that (though I gotta make sure my 10-year old don't visit your home when you're not there).

I can't agree with your argument that "seeing" will prevent from "doing". Are you saying that if a bunch of 10-year olds in the neighborhood starts excessively watching porn, they are _less_ likely from having sex? I can't prove it either way, but my intuition doubts it.

BTW... when you were saying that you did things as a 3rd grader... were you having sex in the 3rd grade? Because you were lead a repressive life as an 8 year old? If you were watching porn in the 2nd grade, that would've prevented you from having sex until at least the 4th grade maybe?

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I don't block or ban either
by dlsears / April 11, 2007 10:26 AM PDT
In reply to: We don't block or ban

I don't like everything that's on the Net, but I don't like censorship either. I know from my own youth that forbidden words, pictures, and activities were always the biggest temptations, so I take a different approach with my 5th-grader than the smothering "family values" and "the pornographic Internet sky is falling on our children" hysterics do.

I think that the most important thing parents can do to protect their children when they're not together is to establish a trusting relationship with their children. If your children respect you and trust you, they are more likely to follow your advice and obey your rules when you're not there to monitor them. And if you as a parent have a double standard about surfing the Net, you will neither earn their trust and respect nor deserve it. You have to practice what you preach. But you also have to be able to explain to your children why you think they shouldn't be visiting certain sites, posting certain kinds of information, and talking to certain kinds of people online. Children don't like "Because I said so!" as a reason for everything. A 10-year-old is old enough to understand that life can be dangerous.

I occasionally monitor what my son does. Most of the time he plays online game appropriate for his age. But last month I learned that he had a personal blog with pictures and text. When he showed me the content, I told him that I thought it was better for him not to post pictures of himself, and that he could not post personal information like his address, phone number, or school name and location. I didn't order him to take his pictures down. I merely advised him that it would be much better and safer if he did. I gave him a few compelling, it seems, reasons, because he then went to his mother, who had helped him set up the blog, and asked her to help him take down those pictures of himself. I explained to her my reasons for objecting, and she agreed. Neither one of us had to tell him what to do. He made the right and safe decision for himself.

I never have to hide what I'm doing on the Net. Neither does his mother.

We do restrict his access to the Net to one hour per day. He's so interested in his online games that he spends all that time playing and none surfing. The blog is extra, and he usually asks his mother to help him with it, so I don't worry about it.

I agree wholeheartedly with your decision not to censor but to monitor, discuss, and explain. How else can parents teach their children anything of value?

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monitor and block
by rad91 / April 11, 2007 11:02 AM PDT

In terms of technology, you can do two things... monitor and/or block material from your kids. You're saying that you wouldn't block material, but you'd at least monitor. Does that mean you would use technology that would help you monitor?

I say, why not?

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monitor and/or block material from your kids
by dlsears / April 12, 2007 5:53 PM PDT
In reply to: monitor and block

Yes, I would use that kind of technology. When Windows Home Server is available, I'm going to get one so that I can monitor both my wife's and my son's PCs when they complain that there's something wrong going on with them. I will use that kind of technology to monitor what my son decides to view online. I don't think that minor children have a reasonable expectation of privacy in all respects at home any more than I think that people who use the company's network with the company's or their own PC do.

I bought my son's PC; my son did not. And he's still a minor and my legal and moral responsibility. I don't want to shirk that responsibility. But I don't believe that being good in the absence of the opportunity to be less than good demonstrates anything about character.

I don't watch my son to see whether he's stealing candy or toys from the local stores. I know that he knows better than to do that. That's the kind of trust I hope to be able to develop between us about using the Net.

I will, of course, let him know that I can and on occasion will monitor his surfing. I don't want him to feel that I'm going to be constantly spying on him. I do want him to know that this is standard practice in the business world.

My university blocks lots of sites -- mostly those considered to be pornographic by the powers that be, whoever they are -- but they often get it wrong. I don't like being blocked from sites that I know are not pornographic, but I do understand the desire of the school to keep its network free of downloaded porn and the malware that it often brings. I wouldn't have any problem with the school's blocking music and video download sites either (I don't do that at home either, so I don't know if they're blocked at school). I also don't much care that the school doesn't have a Usenet News server. Too much time at work is wasted by people posting to Google Groups, Usenet, and other chat groups. I can do that at home if and when I want to. I can't afford to do it at school, and I shouldn't be paid while I'm wasting my employer's time and money either.

If my son became a serious online game addict or porn addict, then I'd not only monitor and discuss, but I'd unplug and disconnect, and send him to a shrink. I do have my limits and I have no problem with setting limits for my son.

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RE: monitor and/or block material from your kids
by Ptero-4 / August 11, 2007 9:23 AM PDT

Actually, you don't need any new Windoze server box for that. You can just take any old PC you may have lying around, install ubuntu on it amd then install dansguardian+dansguardian GUI (search in the ubuntu forums for it) and you're good to go. I took an old Mac mini G4, put ubuntu with X11+icewm and dansguardian+it's GUI and it covers the entire WiFi lan (eith both my Ubuntu MacBook and the family XP xtech computer in it).

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Don't block or ban either
by ravic1942 / April 11, 2007 10:48 PM PDT
In reply to: We don't block or ban

I think underlying message is communicate with the kids; I have two kids: both are over 10 and under 15. I think our (wife and mine) ironclad requirement of having minimum of 30 min discussion after dinner at least 4 times a week really helped on trust factor. Oh, also every dinner, family must be together no matter what - only rare exceptions do we allow separation. Of course, in the beginning, the kids protested big time about 30 min discussion requirement. Eventually, however, they come to look forward to these discussions which sometimes can be lively or heated. We discuss anything from sex to religious to Bush, etc. I think this bonding helps develop trust to the point where we trust kids in having access to Internet. We do discuss Internet sites and the possible dangers of chat rooms, etc. So the key is build trust factor with kids by communicating with them.

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Thank you, lostinlodos, for
by btljooz / April 14, 2007 4:51 AM PDT
In reply to: We don't block or ban

your voice of REASON and IQ Level ABOVE your shoe size!!! Wink

Thank you for BEING a REAL parent!!! Cool

To those who disagree with lostinlodos: YOU SHOULD NOT BE BREEDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Plain

nuff said

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by wongchichor / April 13, 2007 12:36 PM PDT

lol same here

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I use BSafe Online
by LarryH / April 11, 2007 9:17 AM PDT

It is available at (note the spelling). It appears to be server based (I don't have to download updated lists) and I don't really notice much of a delay). It provides reports of sites visited and you can allow/deny specific domains.

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Problem? What problem?
by socrfan / April 11, 2007 9:31 AM PDT
In reply to: I use BSafe Online

Don't have kids. Don't want kids. Problem solved. With the environment, population and political problems we face in this world today and tomorrow kids have much more to worry about than the Internet. I can't imagine bringing anyone into this messed up world anyway.

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What kids?
by TreknologyNet / April 11, 2007 1:40 PM PDT
In reply to: Problem? What problem?

I kind of agree with your logic and I have no intention of passing on my health problems to a new generation of kids. Of course, if I meet the right person, I may adopt, but I have no urge to breed.

On the other hand, my sister's kids know more about sex than she or I did at that age and their internet access is via one very public PC in the center of the house.

Because of my work, I cannot use filtering software as it usually blocks some of the sites I need to visit regularly (because of one or two "errant words"). I so look forward to the establishment of "xxx." domain names so that I don't have to put up with mouse-click hell.

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I don't filter access to the Internet
by freqdwnldr / April 11, 2007 9:48 AM PDT

but I should - there's enough stuff I found in my brother's profile's "My Pictures" folder to make me wanna burn that HDD (or more likely wipe it out and confiscate it, since it boots faster and plays games better :)). Ticks me off too, he doesn't even clean out the computer or do any scans.

I did have a web filter ( installed but since my father bought it and it blocked sites that my father needed to go to, I had to un-install it, upon his "request".

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by btljooz / April 14, 2007 5:06 AM PDT

1. Put the puter in a VERY public place in the house so your brother's activities can be monitored by you and your parents.

2. Teach your brother responsible addition to #1.(see lostintodos's previous posts Wink )

3. Put a password on the puter that only you and your father know and keep your brother off it altogether until he gets the CLUE that his use of YOUR computer WILL be by your (or your parents') way or not at all!

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answer not on the list
by sharee100 / April 11, 2007 10:46 AM PDT

My grandchildren are not allowed to use the internet at all. My neighbor's daughter is not allowed to use the internet, yet.

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This should depend upon age.
by btljooz / April 14, 2007 5:17 AM PDT
In reply to: answer not on the list

Younger children DO NOT belong on the LEAST unsupervised for the duration of their use of the computer. Supervision is the key word here! This I agree whole heartedly on.

However, to keep an older child (who is capable of learning the understanding of the IT side of computing as well as being able to handle some of the content of the net) off the net altogether is not fair to the child in that they will not be able to learn to be well equipped for the technical age they will face as adults.

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I monitor, but not for sex and violence.....
by rosy_red_45 / April 11, 2007 11:21 AM PDT

..... what they might or might not see online isn't a drop in the bucket compared to tones and underlying plots Kids see and hear enough of everyday even if they are watching "kids" shows on "family friendly" channels.

Of course we have pop-up blockers , but it when my kids are on, they are playing games. I am in and out of the room all the time and it is in a very public portion of the house, where all eyes are.

The worst I have had to worry about with the kids thus far while online is explainign to them that they have to be mindful when they are going into a site that wants them to download a tool bar, as we have had this problem only a coupel times. Then we wonder why the system is slow and why the screen is half the size it was the last time we were on.....

Now I actually find that more comfortable to deal with then my son asking me the other day what E.D. was because he saw a commercial for it, well, let's just go play a game online, shall we?

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If the kids are downloading software,
by btljooz / April 14, 2007 5:21 AM PDT

you need to reconfigure that computer so that they can not run it with Administrative Privilages. Put a password on the Administrative Account that only you have access to and set up Accounts for each kid. That way you can possibly have another avenue to monitor what they are doing and deal with it accordingly.

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No blocking...teach them to be smart and safe..
by jjw1753 / April 11, 2007 11:32 AM PDT

Whether it be the internet or school or on the street corner, you can't always be with your children. You teach them to do the right thing, how to be safe and how to be decent members of society. Nanny-ware is the lazy way out. Monitor, yes. And be sure they understand about being safe. When they're pre-teens, they don't know you can check browser history so you can keep up on them. A few wrong turns in browsing offered us the "opportunity" to have some very pointed conversations with our boys. In some ways you'll find that's easier than trying to keep up with who their friends are. You've got to lay that out early because when they're into their teens, they're way ahead of you anyway and have many opportunities that are out of your control.

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re no blocking
by Doris01 / April 11, 2007 4:08 PM PDT

Yeah teach em, My wife and I are both non smokers Their grandfather died young from smoking related diseases should be all the training needed right, both grown up now both started young, smoking, peer group and all that stuff. Do not trust em certainly train and teach em but why not use every weapon in the arsenal, yeah bad parent spying on the kids worse parent not doing everything in your power to protect them.

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Teaching as a form of protecting
by stevekaden / April 12, 2007 3:57 PM PDT
In reply to: re no blocking

Teaching them includes the concept of continuous teaching. Stalking them gets nothing but kids who feel disempowered, reactive, and not in control. A formula for failure. I taught mine not to smoke, and stayed on it, and they don't. Maybe I was lucky, maybe I stayed in communication with them.

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Can't agree more...
by btljooz / April 14, 2007 5:28 AM PDT

Nanny-ware and expecting the 'gov' to be the Nanny are people's LAZY way out of raising their OWN kids!!!

Oh, it's so much fun to make them [kids], but it's not so easy to BE a TRUE PARENT!!! Wink

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Frightening reality
by mrskelly / April 11, 2007 11:33 AM PDT

I teach computers in an elementary school. Today I was talking about internet safety to second graders and I asked them if they used the internet at home. About 12-14 hands went up. Then I asked them if their parents were with them and all but 2 hands went down. What are these people thinking?

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They're NOT thinking!
by btljooz / April 14, 2007 5:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Frightening reality

And that is precisely the reason they shouldn't have been breeding!

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Monitoring children's activities on the net.
by roysus / April 11, 2007 12:51 PM PDT

I have two grandchildren living with me - aged 12 and 10, both have computers in their rooms and I only wish that I could find a suitable programme to monitor ALL their activities on the net - in my case this is complicated by the fact that I live in Israel and don't know of a programme that can work in both English and Hebrew. If anyone has any ideas I will be eternally grateful.

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by btljooz / April 14, 2007 5:58 AM PDT these children EACH have their own computers their own bedrooms, no less?????

THAT is a recipe for DISASTER waiting to happen!!!!!! Shocked

If I were you, I'd jerk BOTH those puters out of those rooms and put ONE of them in a VERY public area of your home so you can WATCH their activities and TEACH them responsible computing practices.

WHAT?!?!? You don't know a thing about computers???? LEARN!!! Plain It's really not that hard. Wink After all if a 10 year old can become a "script kiddie" YOU can learn enough of the BASICS to create a safe environment for your grandchildren!!! Cool

1. Nanny-ware is for the lazy. Plain

2. As a post near yours states, kids can find ways around it!!! Wink

3. The safety of kids is the responsibility of the adults that have close relationships with them! Plain

Therefore, you have your work cut out for you. You, first, must learn a bit of IT and then safe internet usage practices (E.G.: Not posting personal info, pictures, etc.) before you will TEACH those safe practices to your grandkids YOURSELF...since they are in YOUR custody and where you live dictates it.

CNET offers free courses on a whole array of IT/Computer subjects and then some. I suggest you take some of these courses (and research on your own) to learn how to set up that ONE computer so that the kids DO NOT run it with Administrative Privilages (keeping them from downloading things you don't want) and so that you can keep it running smoothly for them by cleaning spyware and using anti-virus programs and other anti-malware programs that every computer picks up during any session of internet usage.

Good Luck! Happy

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internet monitoring
by jakebf2killu / April 11, 2007 1:08 PM PDT

im 15 and have total control over my pc also if my parents put locks on my computer i would just reformat and reinstall everything which usualy takes me a hour or so and if i want something that parents would like to block (porn) there are always ways around it

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