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View Full Version : What things should parents know about their kids' safety on the net?


Jae Onasi
01-05-2008, 08:16 AM
Partially inspired by this thread (http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=184991), among other things.

Let's assume that the parents aren't being just plain nosy. For the purposes of this thread, let's assume the parents have a real concern about what their child is/has been doing on the web/computer, for instance, the child has been the victim of a malicious activity, or the parent has discovered a pedophile has tried to contact their child, or some other equally serious problem. I don't want this to turn into a teen privacy thread, so we'll assume that the parents feel the risk to their child is severe, and it requires knowing what s/he has been doing on their computer.

Let's also assume that the parent really doesn't know a lot about how to find out what their kid is up to. They know the bare bones basics of how to turn on the machine, run their email, run Office or OpenOffice, maybe play solitaire, but generally are not very sophisticated on the net or their computer, and don't have a filter.

What things do these parents need to know or learn? How do they find hidden files such as the ones hidden by the utility above? How do they find out if someone has been contacting their kid for negative purposes? What do they need to know about MySpace and other social sites and the benefits and hazards of such? How do people get around parent filters? What do parents need to know about net safety so they can work together with their kids to minimize risk while maximizing access?

El Sitherino
01-05-2008, 09:31 AM
Watch your proxies, general way to get around those pesky parent filter things.
If you think your child may be up to something they shouldn't, key loggers/keepers.

I personally am not a great fan of the key logs and such, but not a whole lot you can do to make sure they aren't having conversations or looking at things they shouldn't.

Astrotoy7
01-05-2008, 11:37 AM
Ah - the good ole surveillance issue. There's many apps that will allow a parent to do it... but if someone has little idea as to what their kids do, esp if they are small children, I'd be more concerned about that then keyloggers.

what ever happened to talking to ones children. If its got to the stage where you cant communicate freely enough that you have to spy on you own children, then its a sad state to be in.

My parents have never used a pc, but heck they knew all about me, and could tell what I was up to, knew where I was going and who I was hanging around with because we talked so much. Even when I was a moody teen, and tried to do some sneaking around, I couldnt get much past them. The only time I could do such things was when I moved out !!

My take on this is to lay down some rules, cultivate/support kids continuing interests in extra cirricular stuff. If kids have heaps to do, spending time on the pc is relatively boring, apart from the odd game of JK2 ;)

whatever happened to the days when all the advice you ever needed to give a kid was "dont talk to strangers!"

mtfbwya

Ray Jones
01-05-2008, 11:56 AM
First of all: internet access times. My kids don't need access to the net 24/7. Generally the afternoon hours should suffice. Second, in case they have their own computer, every traffic they produce goes through one of my machines. Then they will learn how to use computers on a Linux machine, with the root password being the last thing they will get to know.

However, being the restrictive anti anything parent won't be any helpful anyway. If not at home, kids will find a way to the unfiltered internet experience and world of computers, and the best way to keep them from any harm is to teach responsibility from the begin with.

Astrotoy7
01-05-2008, 12:00 PM
if all that doesnt work Jae, you can install an unfriendly linux distro on their pc and confuse/bore the heck out of them :D

*lays trail of rose petals*

mtfbwya

stingerhs
01-05-2008, 12:29 PM
you could do what my parents did: put the family computer in a more public space such as the living room or even the kitchen. then, limit the time spent on the computer.

i know that you use Windows Vista, so you really need to check out how to set up the Parental Controls. you can set time quotas with both how much they're on the computer in addition to how long they're on the internet (if you use Firefox, you can just setup a time quota for that instead). you can also restrict what games/programs they can use. it can be as loose or restrictive as you want it to be, but then again, that's what being a parent is supposed be about: choosing what you think is best for your kids.

there is other things you can make use of, but i agree more with Ray: teach them responsibility and explain to them what's out there. that should make it less of a problem from the very start. ;)

Jae Onasi
01-05-2008, 02:52 PM
Oh, we talk with our kids already. They're allowed online, but only if one of us is in the room. However, we all hang out in the kitchen, living room, or our bedroom (which gets used as a 'second family room' since it's so big and it's a. air conditioned in the summer and b. warmer than any place else in our house in the winter). So, we're usually all together anyway. There's no reason why they can't use the computers in a public space, and if we do allow them to use computers in their bedrooms, we'll have a content/time filter. My son already wanted to join a Lego forum, and we told him he had to wait until he's just a little older. We explained that most people on the web are decent and honest, but there are a few bad apples out there looking for children to hurt, and some people are just plain mean, and we wanted to make sure he knows how to deal with it if someone tries to contact him, for instance. I'd prefer not to use key-loggers myself, but if I really suspected something serious going on, I would use one if I absolutely had to.

I was actually asking this because we have a knowledge gap in our church with our parents and their teens and computer usage. We have 3 computers in the 'teen cafe' with internet access, but the church didn't have a filter on them until about 4 months ago when the youth pastor discovered what kinds of sites some of the kids were visiting. I was surprised that no one had thought about content filters prior to that (and if I'd known about it sooner I would have recommended one a long time ago). Our youth pastor is tech-savvy enough to figure out how to replace his laptop hard drive sort of, but when he was having problems with programs doing weird things and I asked him when the last time he defragmented his disk, he asked what that was. This is a guy who just got out of grad school a year ago so it's not like he's totally clueless, but it sort of drove home for me just how little we really know.

I'd love it if parents taught responsibility, but some of the kids we're working with are so computer sophisticated and parents so computer-illiterate that I don't know if the parents know where to begin. I'm not sure some of these parents are even aware of the potential dangers on the net.

Sabretooth
01-09-2008, 12:31 PM
I come from the other end here, and I go with Astro's suggestion of communication. The first thing should always come heart-to-heart, baby. :)

My Dad always warned me about the dangers of Internet use right from the start, and the most important lesson was anonymity. He was stern on that you must never let the Internet know your name, or your identity. Even now, I've never joined any ****ing social networking site (despite many of my lesser peers urging me, bleh) and never used my name on any of my Internet IDs - not even on my blog.

As for where your child goes to, specifically dem pr0n sites, those site filter thingies should work, I think. But if your kid is smart, he/she will install an alternate operating system (read Linux) and become the supreme master of his/her own realm - provided they can set it up and use it flawlessly. :D

But really, stopping your kids from teh pr0n is difficult, unless you restrict their computer/internet usage - which I would get mad at, if it was done to me. So yep, communication should work here. I hope.

MJ-W4
01-09-2008, 12:50 PM
Ah - the good ole surveillance issue. There's many apps that will allow a parent to do it... but if someone has little idea as to what their kids do, esp if they are small children, I'd be more concerned about that then keyloggers.

what ever happened to talking to ones children. If its got to the stage where you cant communicate freely enough that you have to spy on you own children, then its a sad state to be in.

My parents have never used a pc, but heck they knew all about me, and could tell what I was up to, knew where I was going and who I was hanging around with because we talked so much. Even when I was a moody teen, and tried to do some sneaking around, I couldnt get much past them. The only time I could do such things was when I moved out !!

My take on this is to lay down some rules, cultivate/support kids continuing interests in extra cirricular stuff. If kids have heaps to do, spending time on the pc is relatively boring, apart from the odd game of JK2 ;)

whatever happened to the days when all the advice you ever needed to give a kid was "dont talk to strangers!"

mtfbwyaQFT

I absolutely agree with Astro and Sabrez. Talk to your kids is it. :)

El Sitherino
01-09-2008, 01:19 PM
It's Jae, of course she talks to them.

Astrotoy7
01-09-2008, 11:55 PM
It's Jae, of course she talks to them.

We know Jae would have those rascals covered, I think she was worried about others.

Jae, if people you know need to read the details, refer them to this thread, what better place to get parental advice than from dudes with robots, penguins, peppers and swans in their avs/siggies :D

mtfbwya

Jae Onasi
01-10-2008, 01:02 AM
I come from the other end here, and I go with Astro's suggestion of communication. The first thing should always come heart-to-heart, baby. :)

Sabre, dear, I've been on your end of things, too. I survived the teen years, even. ;P But I do agree with you.


Jae, if people you know need to read the details, refer them to this thread, what better place to get parental advice than from dudes with robots, penguins, peppers and swans in their avs/siggiesI think the church folks will especially appreciate my cartoon D&D character on a Star Wars forum. :D

Yes, I'd like to be able to be a resource for the parents in our church who are lucky if they know how to set up antivirus.

Here's my working assumption, though--communication hasn't happened, and the kid's already in trouble, or potentially will be in trouble (say, has been getting communication from a perv) if the parents don't get their act together and learn something about what's going on in their kids' compu-lives. What kind of tools would a parent need to find out information to prevent something bad happening to their kid(s)? Let me use an example. Say a pedophile has contacted the teen. The perv has asked the teen to keep their communication secret. The teen complies, makes some hidden files/another partition/etc. to keep those files secret. The perv eventually wants to make physical contact, and the parents find out at this point. Obviously the cops should be involved at this point, but how would a parent begin to look for that kind of evidence on their computer in order to protect their child?

MJ-W4
01-10-2008, 03:45 AM
how would a parent begin to look for that kind of evidence on their computer in order to protect their child?Under windows, you can log on as administrator and use the windows explorer to show all files, including hidden and system files. As for the police: I don't know what they're like at your end but we have a group of five police officers for youth relations. They can be called upon if parents or children think something's wrong, in any sense of the word. They are trained for social skills as well as computers and can step in before something serious happens. Ever since this 'teen squad' was started ten years ago, we've had no more serious problems with juvenile delinquency, drugs, or the net. Also, the churches in our community (regardless of denomination) offer computer courses for children and youths where they learn how to responsibly use computers and the net since not all parents have the time or knowledge to see to that themselves. The computer courses are carried out by members of the respective churches in their spare time. (Need I say I'm one?) If people chip in, buying a few comps and sticking them in a room to educate the kids shouldn't be much of a problem. :)

Sabretooth
01-10-2008, 04:50 AM
Sabre, dear, I've been on your end of things, too. I survived the teen years, even. But I do agree with you.
Holy Growth, Batman! :xp:

Under windows, you can log on as administrator and use the windows explorer to show all files, including hidden and system files.
Yessir, and I might add that if you know how to use Windows XP's ugly command prompt (which is a ludicrous bust to the glorious forefather of Windows), you can view hidden and system files, pretty much anything that hasn't been encrypted.

And dual-booting always helps in such situations. :D

But in the case you're describing, I think the easiest solution would be communication, again. "That man is a ****ing paedophile and we need evidence to lock him up, goddamnit why are you still hiding those files?!"

Maybe something softer. But yeah, that's basically the point.

MJ-W4
01-10-2008, 04:56 AM
And dual-booting always helps in such situations. :DI wouldn't impose my triple-boot on a non-g33k, though. :D + http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii204/MJ-W4/gecko_small.png

Det. Bart Lasiter
01-10-2008, 02:18 PM
No Internet restrictions, **** YEAH!

Astrotoy7
01-11-2008, 08:03 AM
Sabre, dear, I've been on your end of things, too. I survived the teen years, even...

but we didnt have the internets back in the days of yesteryear Jae...

For us, if we ever came across a pervert, it was usually a discovery we made only after they had asked us if we ''wanted to see a pony'', we went with them, and there was no pony at all :(

you can view hidden and system files, pretty much anything that hasn't been encrypted

lolz...good ole sabrez - trying to 'keep it real' linux style again ?

rather than putting someone through a TW-esque experience >> you could

XP:
> open any folder
>Tools>Folder options
>view >check "show hidden folders and files" and if you want to see the juicy stuff uncheck "Hide protected OS files"

VISTA:
>open any folder
>organise >folder and search options
>view >check "show hidden folders and files" and if you want to see the juicy stuff uncheck "Hide protected OS files"

of course, some have a dirty digusting feeling after using a GUI, and would argue that if you dont understand the code churning underneath all that, then you shouldnt be messin' with it :p

mtfbwya

Ray Jones
01-11-2008, 10:07 AM
rather than putting someone through a TW-esque experience >> you could

XP:
> open any folder
>Tools>Folder options
>view >check "show hidden folders and files" and if you want to see the juicy stuff uncheck "Hide protected OS files"

VISTA:
>open any folder
>organise >folder and search options
>view >check "show hidden folders and files" and if you want to see the juicy stuff uncheck "Hide protected OS files"


And here I am thinking this is the /least/ thing to know...

or in other words -- who the hell has it not that way ¬¬

El Sitherino
01-11-2008, 10:15 AM
The best advice I could give anyone about the internet is "know 4chan.".

MJ-W4
01-11-2008, 10:25 AM
And here I am thinking this is the /least/ thing to know...

or in other words -- who the hell has it not that way ¬¬Believe it or not, the average user is usually unaware of that option. I once held a 'comp safety evening' in our parish and was surprised about how many peepz out there didn't know simply because they never knew where to look in the first place. It seems that unless peepz are told by someone in the noh, they've very little chance to find out on their own.

Astrotoy7
01-11-2008, 12:49 PM
....they've very little chance to find out on their own.

lolz, that makes it sound like a lottery or treasure hunt - which it isnt. If you want to know it - its easy enough to find - not only in windows help but google etc. I wasnt 'tech savvy' until about 2.5 years ago. I made myself tech savvy-ish for the sole purpose of not paying retailers/professionals for my gaming and home theater pc setups, which I would have got charged through the roof for. There are alot of people out there working in pc/retail shops as service techs etc that have just as much IT training as I do(=ZILCH) Why people choose to rely on them to sort things and pay them exorbitant fees is beyond me. DIY and save some crazy $$$ y'all.

I clearly remember that setting listed above - I came across when I googled 'how to change file extensions' because I needed to do it for a .divx file in my home theater setup :D (the 'hide known filetypes' setting is immediately below those I listed above)

Has this anything to do with Jae's topic, no. So I say we get back on track :)

OT:
@Jae
As you would know, Vista has some quite handy parental control tools built into it. I know a few friends who have little-uns and use it quite a bit. My 2 kids are furry and purr, so I dont have that problem - and the step-brats dont live with us anymore \o/ :D

I think the idea of setting up education sessions for parents is a great idea. I know of a few community groups here who run such things via the local library - no need to go buy compys for it. Sounds like a good project for you Jae ;) Education = empowerment !

mtfbwya

Sabretooth
01-11-2008, 01:07 PM
lolz...good ole sabrez - trying to 'keep it real' linux style again ?
Yo!

of course, some have a dirty digusting feeling after using a GUI, and would argue that if you dont understand the code churning underneath all that, then you shouldnt be messin' with it :p
Hey remember, if your teenager is geeky, all you have to do is outgeek him/her on at least 3 levels and they will spend a life of servitude under you to learn all your nerdy secrets, thereby abandoning everything, including the Internet. :p

Jae Onasi
01-12-2008, 12:37 AM
MJ, what did you teach in your classes?

I'm like Astro with the hidden files--I stumbled across it awhile back looking for something else. Of course, curiosity got the better of me, so I had to uncheck it and see what was in all those hidden files. :D

MJ-W4
01-12-2008, 05:13 AM
Jae: I teach a number of things whenever time allows, and I take turns with eight others. There are less 'newbies' now, so evening classes steadily advance in level for those interested.

A basic beginners' class (six evenings at about 1 ˝ hrs) starts with a history of the net, then goes on to install win xp pro (not enough vistas around yet). After all questions about options and installation/ registration are sufficiently answered - we usually sit down to discuss and really take our time - the next step is explaining the windows GUI, how to set up users and regulations and getting to know the windows tools. If a majority of the class are interested, we take a 'hardware excursion' where we assemble and explain a machine. Before we go online, we install firefox along with adblock plus as well as Zone Alarm (ZA isn't ideal but it's easy to use and does the trick for most to get the hang of it). Finally we do a 'how to browse and use search engines'. The biggest amount of time is spent discussing, explaining and answering questions. We usually invite a member of the 'teen squad' for the last evening (unless it's one of them holding the class) to explain legal issues and how to react calmly and most of all, quickly if something seems to be 'wrong'.

We also hold a number of office-related classes, we never mix OS and office.

hope that helps,

if there's more you'd like to know, please give me a shout,

MJ :)

Astrotoy7
01-13-2008, 10:41 AM
MJ - in your 'history of the net' presentation - if you dont show your pupils ytmd's 'the internet is for porn' - then you are doing a lacklustre job :D That's ALL you need to know about the derivations of the net :D

I'd link to it, buts its mildly-sorta non PG-13 :p

mtfbwya

Jae Onasi
01-13-2008, 11:02 AM
I'd link to it, buts its mildly-sorta non PG-13 :p

mtfbwya
:lol:
It's hilarious but it's so majorly-not-so-sorta rated R/Adult/definitely not for church. :D