Making a computer child friendy

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BrighTide
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Making a computer child friendy

Postby BrighTide » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:02 am UTC

Hey, i have a 13 year old son and were getting him a new computer for his birthday. We would like to arrange it so he can't access any adault or illigal sites, but his a smart kid, and a simple net nanny or key logger wouldn't really be much of a problem to him, he likes to download them and find ways to break or get around them for fun. So if anybody has a more complex solution i would love any advice or help.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby Carnildo » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:50 am UTC

If you want to absolutely prevent him from accessing adult sites, the only thing you can do is keep the computer off the Internet. Anything less can be bypassed with sufficient effort or creativity.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby BrighTide » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:20 am UTC

So theres no way to atleast monitor the internet in a fool proof manner?

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:33 pm UTC

Webcam aimed at the screen would do that
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby hotaru » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:41 pm UTC

BrighTide wrote:So theres no way to atleast monitor the internet in a fool proof manner?

the only foolproof way to monitor what someone is doing on the internet is to disconnect the internet when you're not there with them, watching what they're doing.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby Stacy S. » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:47 pm UTC

BrighTide wrote:So theres no way to atleast monitor the internet in a fool proof manner?


a good way would be to restrict access to .edu and .gov domains, but it is certainly not foolproof.

Two things are probably for sure:
1) A 13y/o boy is going to find porn, no matter what you do.
2) Catching him in the 'act' will scar him more emotionally than would viewing the porn.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby Kromix » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:50 pm UTC

you could always set a DNS firewall up and block keywords/websites, such as proxy sites and words that you dont want them associated with. then go into the computer, create a non admin account and administratively disable most of the access to settings for that account. (disable changing network settings)

my home media computer/server has a restricted acct for my toddler, everything is restricted short of opening up paint, firefox, notepad, and some IM services, then i firewalled by DNS all that needed to be blocked.
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby clockworkmonk » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:49 pm UTC

Simply make sure he is not an administrator and does not have software install rights on his own machine, and lock the case. Then install the software of your choice to monitor his behavior, and require him to come to you when he wants software installed. the only trouble then is the various admin password changer programs that can be run on boot. If you lock the case, just make sure that USB, CD, and Floopy are not bootable in the BIOS, and that the BIOS is password protected.
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby headprogrammingczar » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:11 pm UTC

I'm gonna have to go with the first post. Unplug the cable until he needs it, and make sure he understands that the internet has strange stuff and dangerous sites on it, so when he does need it, he knows to be careful. You can't teach a kid to drive if the car is locked in neutral ;)
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby Sero » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:19 pm UTC

As has been mentioned before, and especially in the case of a child with a reasonable amount of competency and an abundance of interest, energy, and determination, short of 100% supervision, you're not going to achieve your stated goal perfectly. Compromise with reality, would be my advice. Supervise his usage. Talk to him about it. Teach him how to be safe online, encourage him to ask you if there's something he's unsure about or whatnot. Keep the lines of communication open.

There seems to be a significant market for "I want my child to live in a G-rated world, and you're first, internet!" type of products, strategies, etc, but I think most parents realize it is both not a good idea and completely impossible to keep their children from ever encountering anything unsavory online. What I think (or hope) is that most just want their child to be safe, and responsible, and getting the child to do so from within, rather than imposing it through external controls, is both more desirable and more successful.
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby Kromix » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:25 pm UTC

otherwise you could go the shock route, which i dont recomend, and tell him to be carefull or the *censored* will be found... such as goat :shock:
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby Carnildo » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:17 am UTC

Kromix wrote:you could always set a DNS firewall up and block keywords/websites, such as proxy sites and words that you dont want them associated with. then go into the computer, create a non admin account and administratively disable most of the access to settings for that account. (disable changing network settings)

This works right up until the kid discovers a site before you do, and I assure you it will happen. Proxy servers appear faster than you can put them on the blacklist, and pornographic sites appear even faster.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby lemmings » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:44 am UTC

The Internet has 4 categories of things that are bad for teenagers.

Illegal downloading:
Don't feed him RIAA propaganda, remind him by some definitions this constitutes theft and lawsuits occasionally happen. If you ever get a DMCA letter, chances are it is just a warning, give it to him and he will freak out. That is more than sufficient punishment.

Malware:
Simply put, tell him not to run untrusted executable files. If the site doesn't look legit, run a scan on it. Also teach him about phishing sites and how to avoid getting scammed.

Pornography:
Yeah, 13, it's too late if you want to prevent him from seeing anything, or if he hasn't seen it, how long do you think it will take before a graphic advert appears? There is no way to stop this and just make sure he understands that this is not an entirely accurate representation of real life and that some (most?) of these sites will gladly give you malware.

Trolling:
Teach him Internet etiquette, this is last on the list as a parent of things to be concerned since you are not directly affected by it but, for the sake of the rest of us, please teach him how to be nice and not act like an a-hole.



Attempts to cripple his computer by preventing him from installing software or OS's will at best succeed and end with him being absolutely incompetent with computers without assistance. You've described him as a techwiz, what happens when he wants to install an IDE to make his own programs? Is he going to ask you to update firefox every time it asks him? What if you guys are gone and he needs admin access for an assignment simply because nannyware threw a false positive?

At worst, a few years down the line he discovers that you've installed key-logging software on his system and he no longer trusts you?

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby yewbie » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:15 pm UTC

This may seem dumb, but just simply telling him that you are recording and monitoring everything he does (even if your not) would do wonders.

Edit: Simply from reading your post I can tell that your son is going to be a lot better off than most of his generation.

Edit Edit: also if you wanted a more complex solution install "WireShark" on another machine no the lan and just log all of his HTTP traffic.
As long as he doesn't have access to that machine there is not a lot he can do about it other than using proxies, but you can still tell if you look hard enough.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby Kromix » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:33 pm UTC

or, get an old 386 with Win 3.1 and have him use that, :)

1- he will learn how to troubleshoot
2- lots of the pages that are NSFW or Not safe at all require technologie not available with 3.1 :D
3- trying to view vids and pics will be frustrating
4- he will learn how to troubleshoot
5- it builds character.
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby legopelle » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:10 pm UTC

BrighTide wrote:Hey, i have a 13 year old son and were getting him a new computer for his birthday. We would like to arrange it so he can't access any adault or illigal sites, but his a smart kid, and a simple net nanny or key logger wouldn't really be much of a problem to him, he likes to download them and find ways to break or get around them for fun. So if anybody has a more complex solution i would love any advice or help.

Here we have a hardware firewall running Untangle. All other computers are behind it so any restrictions applied to it will be transmitted down the line. It can map custom restrictions to specific (local) IPs so you can give him a slightly more restricted experience. You will also see if he somehow adds himself to the list.

But other than malware and adware filters, don't. It's extremely frustrating trying to access sites for legit reasons to find it blocked because some items are not. He will not report this because you might second guess his intentions, which is bad. Alternatively you can activate all filters but make them cancelable so he sees the warning (and your logging) before continuing. This is however very much overly restrictive parent territory. He's 13, let him have some fun. It's can also make him securely explore his sexuality without having you knowing.
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby kikcaffine » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:38 pm UTC

Kromix wrote:you could always set a DNS firewall up and block keywords/websites, such as proxy sites and words that you dont want them associated with. then go into the computer, create a non admin account and administratively disable most of the access to settings for that account. (disable changing network settings)

my home media computer/server has a restricted acct for my toddler, everything is restricted short of opening up paint, firefox, notepad, and some IM services, then i firewalled by DNS all that needed to be blocked.


I like this one the best.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby archeleus » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:37 am UTC

He is 13, he'll find porn. If its not on the computer that you get him, he'll get it from his friends. Just a simple talk would do.

clockworkmonk wrote:Simply make sure he is not an administrator and does not have software install rights on his own machine, and lock the case. Then install the software of your choice to monitor his behavior, and require him to come to you when he wants software installed. the only trouble then is the various admin password changer programs that can be run on boot. If you lock the case, just make sure that USB, CD, and Floopy are not bootable in the BIOS, and that the BIOS is password protected.


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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby scarecrovv » Sat Feb 26, 2011 7:58 am UTC

archeleus wrote:
clockworkmonk wrote:Simply make sure he is not an administrator and does not have software install rights on his own machine, and lock the case. Then install the software of your choice to monitor his behavior, and require him to come to you when he wants software installed. the only trouble then is the various admin password changer programs that can be run on boot. If you lock the case, just make sure that USB, CD, and Floopy are not bootable in the BIOS, and that the BIOS is password protected.


People like you should be shot. Just saying.

What for? Falsely leading someone believe that it is possible to secure a computer from a teenager who wants porn isn't grounds for being shot.

All those restrictions can't stop a teenager from running a keylogger to record the admin password as you type it in to install some innocent software for him. Or even if you can stop a software keylogger, he could install a recorder between the keyboard and the USB port. Or hide a camera with a view of the keyboard, so he can replay what you typed in slow motion. Also, if you don't password lock your screensaver, he could find a different computer that you're logged into, and look at the passwords you've saved in your browser, getting some good guesses that way. There is no way you can possibly anticipate every attack on a system, if the attacker has physical access. My own childhood was a testament to this fact.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby archeleus » Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:38 am UTC

No, for withholding software install rights.

Preventing porn != locking up the computer.

If you're against shooting him you can try something else but going back to the topic, the OP said that the kid wasn't a moron, in cases like this not giving admin passwords etc would just annoy him.
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby squareroot » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:41 am UTC

I'm 14, so I might be biased, but if I could add how annoying it is when parents keep away stuff purely for learning... GAH. It's not even mine, it's my friend's, I've been trying to get him to install Linux, but something is messed up with the partitions that keeps from doing it right now, and he doesn't have the admin password for his Mac... meaning that his parents would get far too annoyed halfway through fixing it, getting asked every two minutes to type something in.

And other cool hack-y stuff which he can't do.

It can be debilitating.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby Kromix » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:40 pm UTC

making a computer chiold friendly is not always a bad thing, mainly because it makes the kid critically think on how to get around it, making him better at using computers. i remember when i used to be a little kid, my dad used to lock the computer by BIOS admin password and some software locks, my brother and i would spend hours trying to bypass the security settings trying to get to use or play in the computer. with this gained knowledge i learned how to properly troubleshoot computers and how to dig into registry and many other fun stuff.
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby yewbie » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:25 pm UTC

Get a old crappy computer, install any distribution of linux server.
Just tell your son that, that machine is recording all internet activity. (even though its not)

When I was 14 this probably would have worked on me, you could then just verify that the machine was never unplugged from the network or powered off and he is probably fine.

If he wants to figure out a way to get around a fake local packet sniffing machine good on him.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby phillipsjk » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:12 pm UTC

Your ISP can do the same thing. Depending on the ISP, they may not bother.

This knowledge has influenced my Internet use. I avoid excessive porn downloads. Whenever possible, I use Bittorrent for downloading free and open source software (to show the protocol is not all about piracy).

In essence, the kid's parents are the local ISP. I really doubt a "Fake listening machine" will do much.

This all comes down to trying to find technical solutions for a social problem. Technology can help, but it can't do everything.
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby hintss » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:25 am UTC

okay, I'm 14.

No real restrictions on the internet here, although, sometimes, I blacklist my parent's MAC at the router for a few minutes if they ask a very dumb question (um, whats that intel 4G wimax technology again?).

oh, and once, my friend couldn't do his project at school because anything about Ku Klux Klan was blocked.

oh, and the password on my mom's laptop was guessed with three tries. get not-obvious passwords.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby legopelle » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:36 pm UTC

hintss wrote:okay, I'm 14.

No real restrictions on the internet here, although, sometimes, I blacklist my parent's MAC at the router for a few minutes if they ask a very dumb question (um, whats that intel 4G wimax technology again?).

oh, and once, my friend couldn't do his project at school because anything about Ku Klux Klan was blocked.

oh, and the password on my mom's laptop was guessed with three tries. get not-obvious passwords.

You should definitely not have the password for the router or be in charge of anything yet. I mean what the hell? What gives you the right to ban your parents from the network?
Something tells me you didn't tell your mother to change password afterwards either.

Are you telling us this to impress us or something? Cuz' it ain't working.
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby yewbie » Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:22 pm UTC

legopelle wrote:You should definitely not have the password for the router or be in charge of anything yet. I mean what the hell? What gives you the right to ban your parents from the network?
Something tells me you didn't tell your mother to change password afterwards either.

Are you telling us this to impress us or something? Cuz' it ain't working.


His post proved to me that when I have children I am going to put them on lockdown for internet.
By comparison a parent would never let their child go hang out at a crack house, the internet is a big crack house, I believe a developing child with full access to the crack house is going to damage himself... that is unless he has a good set of morals and a good nature to begin with, then it doesn't matter.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby Dthen » Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:21 pm UTC

The internet is not a "crack house".
A better comparison could be drawn to the real world, where both negative and positive aspects are available in vast quantities.
I do not believe children should be hidden from the real world.

Also: hintss consistently does inconsiderate things with technology. Of course he doesn't have the right to shut his parents out of their own network, but he has the power. He was probably the one that set it up for them, as well.
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby yewbie » Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:10 pm UTC

Dthen wrote:The internet is not a "crack house".


I would disagree but that all comes from perspective, to each his own.
I tend to see a lot more negatives than positives these days.

Also to clarify I'm strictly talking about people interacting with other people on the internet, although few and far between I'm sure you could even find a positive influence in some crack houses.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby Kromix » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:43 pm UTC

hintss wrote:okay, I'm 14.

No real restrictions on the internet here, although, sometimes, I blacklist my parent's MAC at the router for a few minutes if they ask a very dumb question (um, whats that intel 4G wimax technology again?).

oh, and once, my friend couldn't do his project at school because anything about Ku Klux Klan was blocked.

oh, and the password on my mom's laptop was guessed with three tries. get not-obvious passwords.



Exact reason to beat your child, parents should start disciplining more, a spank or two or ten will allow the kid to perceive consequence and give value, either be positive or negative, to their actions.

when i was fourteen i did have access to router passwords and administrative tools, but this was after sessions of correcting bad behavior, which lead to properly manage a network and implement QoS properly to computers and applications in such manners that no one will get bogged down in case of a heavy download.

i actually feel sad for you not being disciplined enough, a spank of more are good for growing up.
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby squareroot » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:10 am UTC

I have the administrative password to the router, my parents don't (I don't think they know you CAN control the router from your browser). I use for it when I set up my web server, or when I made a little homegrown chat program, or a 3D Tic-Tac-Toe game you could play online... things like that (and yes I'm being careful to keep things secure).

So, don't think that all of us use it for abuse like that. :)
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby Kromix » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:42 pm UTC

did you read the other half of my post? :)
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby Dthen » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:13 pm UTC

Had I bothered to respond to your highly inflammatory post, I would have responded in much the same vein as squareroot, although probably less politely (I realise this isn't a nice post).
The other half of your post would not have affected my post since it doesn't seem to affect the issue.
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby yewbie » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:39 pm UTC

Dthen wrote:Had I bothered to respond to your highly inflammatory post, I would have responded in much the same vein as squareroot, although probably less politely (I realise this isn't a nice post).
The other half of your post would not have affected my post since it doesn't seem to affect the issue.


I don't think it was that inflammatory, I couldn't begin to tell you how many children I have seen online that have probably never been disciplined in their lifetime.
And you have probably seen many more than me.

You seem like your fine, but your obviously the exception.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:30 am UTC

right, because internet behavior==offline behavior.

(as if that's the only thing wrong with your argument...)
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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby hintss » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:25 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:right, because internet behavior==offline behavior.

(as if that's the only thing wrong with your argument...)

I'd argue that the internet gives an amount of anonymity not available in the real world, but whatever.

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Re: Making a computer child friendy

Postby scarecrovv » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:26 pm UTC

Honestly, I am far more frank, abrasive, and arrogant online than I am in real life. This is because I never have to interact with anybody I meet online again if I don't want to. Burning bridges in real life has consequences.


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