Kids on the Net. Need Advice.

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#1
I finally broke my rule on no internet at the house for my kids but I'm not 100% ready to give them free reign over everything. So currently I have them using Firefox with No Script (allowing pages for them to use at my discretion) and Team Viewer 7 to monitor what they're doing.

The problem is, I can't be watching Team Viewer all day long and I need something that will just help me know the websites they visited and any usernames/passwords/IM messages they may use while I'm not viewing. So I need something else.

Anyone have any experience in this area to lend some advice on what to use instead?
 
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#2
How old are your kids?

This is relevant in knowing how long it will take them to bypass whatever is recommended.
 
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#4
13, 12, 11.

They know better than to try and bypass anything and they will be told ahead of time exactly what I'm putting on there anyway as right now they need my permission to allow anything through No Script and they know that I'm watching on Team Viewer. (Could they just enable websites with No Script anyway? Sure, but if I ever caught them on a site I didn't allow, they know they'd lose it)

Basically I want them to know the "video camera is watching", I don't mind if they know exactly what I'm putting on there, so it doesn't have to be a secret keylogger or anything like that. Sure they could try and bypass it, but then they'd know I knew they did that and lose all the computer privledges.
 
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#5
You might try rescuetime. It's meant to help workers and managers understand how their computer time is being spent, but would probably work well for your situation. It build reports of what programs and urls a user is using, and how long for each use. You can categorize urls and programs so you could list known safe ones and then look at only those you didn't specifically list.

I believe it's free for simple use. There may be versions you can buy that aggregate reports over multiple systems and users, but you should be able to try it out for free.
 
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#6
Would it record IMs inside of games? They play mostly online games with side chats, but definitely sounds useful. Is it something that can be set to start when the system starts or does the program have to be turned on everytime the computer is?
 
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#7
I believe it can be set to start when the user logs in, but its been years since I used it.

I does not record any chatting conversations, inside or outside games. You'll need another utility for that. Same for email.

All this program does is attempt to gauge how much time someone spends in each application and at each website.
 
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#9
If I may ask, what are you hoping to protect your kids from? Online predators and/or scammers? Objectionable material? Excessive gaming or other stuff that might hurt their schoolwork?

I ask because while I don't have kids myself, I have lots of experience circumventing any blocks, filters, or other measures implemented by my parents and schools. Chances are, whatever measures you take, your kids are going to find ways around them sooner or later.

Fortunately, in addition to the rules regarding usage, my parents and schools also taught me how to use my brain and recognize predators and scammers. They tried to foster healthy attitudes towards sexuality and other potentially objectionable material. (Whether they were successful is another matter altogether, teehee) They told me that I could play games as long as my schoolwork didn't suffer.

Basically, instead of watching me all the time, they taught me the online equivalent of not accepting candy from strangers. I think, regardless of what software you choose to use, teaching your kids how to protect themselves online is probably necessary too.
 
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#10
If I may ask, what are you hoping to protect your kids from? Online predators and/or scammers? Objectionable material? Excessive gaming or other stuff that might hurt their schoolwork?
All of the above.
bhamv3 said:
I ask because while I don't have kids myself, I have lots of experience circumventing any blocks, filters, or other measures implemented by my parents and schools. Chances are, whatever measures you take, your kids are going to find ways around them sooner or later.
Again it's not a matter of them trying to find a way around the protection, because I'm not trying to hide it from them. If they get around it, I will find out and they will lose the computer. Simple as that.
bhamv3 said:
Basically, instead of watching me all the time, they taught me the online equivalent of not accepting candy from strangers. I think, regardless of what software you choose to use, teaching your kids how to protect themselves online is probably necessary too.
Of course I teach them how to avoid things they should and people they should. However, are you more likely to do something bad/wrong if you're not being watched? The answer is absolutely. They're amazing kids, but everyone makes mistakes of judgement. I want to know if it happens so I can help them avoid it again in the future.

I'm sorry if that sounds like I don't trust my children, I simply don't feel comfortable giving them 100% un-supervised internet access. I simply don't want to tell them they can't use the computer if I'm not home (which is happening now since they can only use it if I'm monitoring on Team Viewer, which I can't do if I have to go out for an errand)
 
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#11
All of the above.

Again it's not a matter of them trying to find a way around the protection, because I'm not trying to hide it from them. If they get around it, I will find out and they will lose the computer. Simple as that.

Of course I teach them how to avoid things they should and people they should. However, are you more likely to do something bad/wrong if you're not being watched? The answer is absolutely. They're amazing kids, but everyone makes mistakes of judgement. I want to know if it happens so I can help them avoid it again in the future.

I'm sorry if that sounds like I don't trust my children, I simply don't feel comfortable giving them 100% un-supervised internet access. I simply don't want to tell them they can't use the computer if I'm not home (which is happening now since they can only use it if I'm monitoring on Team Viewer, which I can't do if I have to go out for an errand)
Oh I absolutely agree, simply telling them what to do or what not to do isn't going to be enough. The mischief I got up to in my youth is proof enough for me. I was just suggesting that, in addition to the blocks and filters and other software measures, it's probably also necessary to teach them how to protect themselves. A double thrust, if you will.
 
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#12
Gilg doing the right thing as a parent. Kids need to learn how to sneak porn on the computer. If it's just there for the taking, they never develop problem solving skills.
 
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#14
Some online games (especially MMOs) give you a way to transcribe your game chat into text files in the options. Look in the options for the games they play if it's there. If it is, tell them your turning it on and will be looking at them every once in awhile. If the logs stop, so does their gaming time.

However, there is nothing you can do to stop your kids from doing what they want online. They will beat any program, often with just a Google Search. You might catch them, but that's not the point. What they REALLY resent is the fact that you didn't trust them to begin with and that lack of trust is going to make your life HELL. It will bleed over into every aspect of your lives and YOU will be the one to suffer for it, not them.

So my advice? If you actually feel that your children aren't mature enough to use your PC without being monitored, don't let them use it to begin with. If you think it's time to let them on it, just check the history/logs every once in awhile. If it starts disappearing or an actual issue comes up, THEN you bring the hammer down. But you need make it clear to them that your not going to be doing this all the time.
 
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#15
Some online games (especially MMOs) give you a way to transcribe your game chat into text files in the options. Look in the options for the games they play if it's there. If it is, tell them your turning it on and will be looking at them every once in awhile. If the logs stop, so does their gaming time.
All it would take is seeing in the log, a google search for the log breaker or again, if I saw them gaming and didn't see it in the log etc.

However, there is nothing you can do to stop your kids from doing what they want online. They will beat any program, often with just a Google Search. You might catch them, but that's not the point. What they REALLY resent is the fact that you didn't trust them to begin with and that lack of trust is going to make your life HELL. It will bleed over into every aspect of your lives and YOU will be the one to suffer for it, not them.
Um, excuse me? My kids have always had monitored gaming, be it Xbox Live, PSN, even their NDS online. It's never been an issue and there's never been a -resentment backlash- so I'm not sure where you're coming from with that.

So my advice? If you actually feel that your children aren't mature enough to use your PC without being monitored, don't let them use it to begin with. If you think it's time to let them on it, just check the history/logs every once in awhile. If it starts disappearing or an actual issue comes up, THEN you bring the hammer down. But you need make it clear to them that your not going to be doing this all the time.
I appreciate your advice and the time you took to write it, but until you're a parent, you can't really see where I'm coming from with this. Again, I never said I was going to monitor it 100%, the problem is that right now I have to because Team Viewer is the only program I have to keep an eye on them. If I had a -keylogger- or some kind of nanny watch program then I could just review it every now and then and it wouldn't be a problem. It's a problem now BECAUSE I have to watch them 24/7.

Again, don't take that the wrong way, I'm not saying people without kids can't give advice to those with it, I'm simply stating that this situation isn't comparable to the scenario you presented.
 
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#16
Please don't be condescending and then try to pretend you weren't. It's an insult to both of us.

It seems like you just need a key logger and those are free and plentiful online. Seriously, just Google for them and you'll find them. Do your kids use a voice chat program on the PC? If they do, you might want to look into some Voice Monitoring software. I don't think RescueTime comes with that and I don't know how available this is going to be online. You may have to shell out some money for it if you need it.

Just a warning: If your kids are gaming on your PC, expect your logs to be mostly incomprehensible and HUGE.
 
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#17
I wasn't being condescending. I'm not pretending anything. I simply said that it's not possible to understand the psyche of a parent if you are not one. I didn't want you to think that I felt your advice was rendered pointless, it just takes on a different meaning to someone with a different psyche. I am sorry you took it that way.

No voice chat programs. I honestly don't know what I -need- because I'm not familiar with the -nanny tech- that's out there. Hence my attempt to reach out.
 
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#18
Nanny Tech can range from really simple to pretty draconian. Your really going to need to do actual research on specific programs to find out what you need, but I've seen...

- key logging
- individual program lockouts (and timers for them, if you want them to stop after a certain amount of time)
- website filtering
- total video recording (I don't recommend this, it takes up SO MUCH MEMORY)
- email and phone notifications for when they do something they shouldn't

The more you want, the more your going to have to pay. You can probably find some very basic stuff for free but anything else is probably going to cost you.
 
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#19
What they REALLY resent is the fact that you didn't trust them to begin with and that lack of trust is going to make your life HELL. It will bleed over into every aspect of your lives and YOU will be the one to suffer for it, not them.

If you actually feel that your children aren't mature enough to use your PC without being monitored, don't let them use it to begin with.
Trust is to be earned, not given.

And I really, really disagree with the second statement. Even overlooking the fact that children aren't in complete control of their browsing experience ( some ads, some websites, and some misleading links will take you on unexpected journeys) you have to let children try and fail at things that they need to learn. The younger they are when they learn the consequences of their actions the better trained they will be at making choices later knowing the possible consequences.

If you wait until they are teenagers to let them have access to potentially dangerous things, you may be setting them up for failure, and at that age some of these failures can have life altering consequences.

You don't give the kid a bike at the top of a hill and walk away. You teach them how to ride it, you then observe them for awhile until they gain your trust then you observe them infrequently to give them additional tips and assistance as needed. If they routinely run into other walkers or ride in the street despite warnings you take away the privilege and only offer it under direct supervision again until they gain your trust again.

Computer and Internet usage is no different.
 
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#20
I was literally given a bike at the top of a slope (my grandparent's farm) and told by my grandpa to go at it. I learned to ride a bike when I was 4.

I just thought that example was funny.
 

Gusto

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#21
I became lodged in a pine tree when I learned to bike on my own, and I used the internet in a way my parents approved of from the ages of 9-11.
 
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#24
Make sure you block Halforums. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy on the internet.
 

doomdragon6

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#25
I was going to say you should give them some freedom, but hell, at that age I was doing all KINDS of objectionable stuff on the computer, with and without other parties involved. Plus I know people around that age now that do even more than I did. Sexting is surprisingly big in 13-year-old land.

Sounds like a keylogger is your best and easiest bet. Watch out for them phones, too, that's where a lot of the shit happens.
 
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#27
I was going to say you should give them some freedom, but hell, at that age I was doing all KINDS of objectionable stuff on the computer, with and without other parties involved. Plus I know people around that age now that do even more than I did. Sexting is surprisingly big in 13-year-old land.

Sounds like a keylogger is your best and easiest bet. Watch out for them phones, too, that's where a lot of the shit happens.
They don't have personal phones and won't for a good while yet either.

I'm leaning toward a keylogger too at this point, but it'd have to be able to exclude button presses like arrow keys etc. Unfortunately that's also probably going to be a huge log to look over whenever I do, but it'll give me the peace of mind I need to let them enjoy the online world. The next worry is where to safely get a keylogger that I can install on the laptop and read the results on my PC.
 
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#29
Gilg doing the right thing as a parent. Kids need to learn how to sneak porn on the computer. If it's just there for the taking, they never develop problem solving skills.

Heck yeah! In my day we had dumpster dive for our sticky Playboy rags.
 
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#30
heh parents today, I dont know why but my parents biggest gripe was finding out I had found porn on the internet at 14, which while I dont blame them it was hilarious in hindsight. my parents had always given me free reign of the computer, which I guess makes me an exception to this parenting you all seem to be doing. I imagine I will be upset when my children start to explore the questionable parts of the internet, but I am hoping I will have taught them well enough to stay away from the truly nasty places. Other than standard monitoring of who they are in contact with and where they go, I dont think I would have a lot of fear. then again I am much younger than the current generation of parents on here so my viewpoints are different.
 

Dave

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#31
Spectorsoft.

I know it's pricey. $100 now. (When I first bought it it was $70.)

But it records everything and you can play it back like a VCR. You can look at IMs, see what they download, check times & sites they were on. I did this to my kid's computers and told them that it was there recording. They knew it was on there. And every so often I would go in and play what they had & go from there.

What I discovered/stopped:

  • My son was visiting porn sites. I didn't really care about that, but they weren't safe ones. So I showed him where to go to not kill the computer.
  • But the biggest one was probably when my daughter was IMing strange men. I got screen caps of the chats and contacted each of them telling them if they ever contacted my 12 year old daughter again these transcripts were going to the police and I was contacting their ISPs. Never heard from any of them again. Then I educated my daughter about online predators and showed her how to be safe.
There are a couple more things I did with it that shall not be named, but suffice it to say that it paid for itself in piece of mind for a long, long time.
 
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#33
Spectorsoft.

I know it's pricey. $100 now. (When I first bought it it was $70.)

But it records everything and you can play it back like a VCR. You can look at IMs, see what they download, check times & sites they were on. I did this to my kid's computers and told them that it was there recording. They knew it was on there. And every so often I would go in and play what they had & go from there.

What I discovered/stopped:

  • My son was visiting porn sites. I didn't really care about that, but they weren't safe ones. So I showed him where to go to not kill the computer.
  • But the biggest one was probably when my daughter was IMing strange men. I got screen caps of the chats and contacted each of them telling them if they ever contacted my 12 year old daughter again these transcripts were going to the police and I was contacting their ISPs. Never heard from any of them again. Then I educated my daughter about online predators and showed her how to be safe.
There are a couple more things I did with it that shall not be named, but suffice it to say that it paid for itself in piece of mind for a long, long time.

And yet you still let your daughter create an account here.

What kind of monster are you? :p
 
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#35
Vs the kinds of parents who don't care/try/check? What kinds of kids do those parents have?
As opposed to teach kids what to do vs what not to do.

But contrary to what the image implies, I approve of this. Fortunately for me, my dad instilled paranoia in me despite he and my mom not being strict, so I learned to be discreet. Other kids aren't so lucky, and if their parents aren't strict, they're not learning to hide things from their parents. And if they're not learning to hide things from their parents, they're not learning to hide things from people in general once they get out in the world. Part of being a parent is giving kids the training wheels versions of the challenges they'll face during adulthood so they can be prepared when their parents aren't around.
 
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