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Children, Computers, And Monitoring Activity


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#1 MelissaPleases

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 07:20 AM

I hope this is the appropriate place for this post... Before I start my work day, I have a question that came out of another thread that I started.

Within a few months, I'm going to be building a new machine. My daughter, who is ten years old, is going to inherit my current second computer, which is an older Dell laptop. She's completely excited at this thought of having her own computer. I think my question here is more a moral/ethical one, really. I already use Perfect Keylogger to monitor her online activity on my machines. I don't worry about what she might do, so much, as I worry about who might be trying to get in contact with her on Facebook and in the chat applications.

I'm not a paranoid mom in terms of "stranger danger." Both of my kids (daughter 10, son 8), already know about what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior from adults they don't know, and they're good kids. I use Perfect Keylogger to monitor who is contacting my daughter (my son isn't all that much into social networking yet) when she's using YIM or Facebook. While I'm not paranoid about strangers, I also believe in being prudent, and keeping an eye on what she's doing.

How do people feel about monitoring children via the use of programs like this? I don't want to stand over her shoulder in the literal sense, watching what she does. But using this application is pretty much the same thing, she's just not aware that I'm doing it. I try to be as discreet as I can, in terms of allowing her a measure of privacy - I don't read every word she types, I tend to skim her communications, and only stop to actually read when something raises a red flag for me. I don't take screenshots, just record her keystrokes, so she does get some privacy when she uses the webcam.

Is there a somewhat less invasive way to monitor what she's doing, and who is contacting her, than using Perfect Keylogger? And what are your opinions about this kind of monitoring when it comes to kids being online in social networking situations?

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#2 Romeo29

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 08:37 AM

First of all, I think social networking should not be allowed for kids younger than 13. Most of the networks do not allow kids younger than 13 to chat or engage in social networking.
How to help your kids use social Web sites more safely

You should tell your kids that you will be keeping an eye on them and tell them why. The mutual trust and conversation should never die between the parents and the kids.

"The difference between responsible monitoring and spying is the 'Gotcha' factor," says Nurit Sheinberg, Ed.D., director of research and evaluation at the Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. If your kids don't know you'll be monitoring their use and you find something and go "Gotcha!" they'll be shocked and probably resentful, and may start hiding things from you. So once you decide how much and what kind of monitoring you'll do, let them in on it.

How to spy on your child online

Instead of Perfect Keylogger, you can use Symantec's free Norton Safety Minder. Here are step by step instructions on how to use Norton Safety Minder.

Also I suggest using OpenDNS DNS servers to filter out any inappropriate categories of websites of your choice at the DNS level. This is free service and immensely useful when you have kids in your house.

Edited by Romeo29, 18 November 2010 - 09:04 AM.


#3 quietman7

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 11:16 AM

Here's a resource list I provide for parents.

Resouces for Parents: Child Safety on the Internet:
Resouces for Parents: Social Networking and Children:
Parental Tools:

Edited by quietman7, 18 November 2010 - 11:17 AM.

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#4 quietman7

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 11:26 AM

I forgot to include:

Tools for parents who want to know what instant messengers kids are using, see who your kids are chatting with on MySpace and what pages they are looking at:
.
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#5 MelissaPleases

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 11:47 AM

First of all, I think social networking should not be allowed for kids younger than 13. Most of the networks do not allow kids younger than 13 to chat or engage in social networking.
How to help your kids use social Web sites more safely

You should tell your kids that you will be keeping an eye on them and tell them why. The mutual trust and conversation should never die between the parents and the kids.

"The difference between responsible monitoring and spying is the 'Gotcha' factor," says Nurit Sheinberg, Ed.D., director of research and evaluation at the Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. If your kids don't know you'll be monitoring their use and you find something and go "Gotcha!" they'll be shocked and probably resentful, and may start hiding things from you. So once you decide how much and what kind of monitoring you'll do, let them in on it.

How to spy on your child online

Instead of Perfect Keylogger, you can use Symantec's free Norton Safety Minder. Here are step by step instructions on how to use Norton Safety Minder.

Also I suggest using OpenDNS DNS servers to filter out any inappropriate categories of websites of your choice at the DNS level. This is free service and immensely useful when you have kids in your house.

I have an inherent distrust of any Norton products. Is there anything that might be comparable?

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#6 MelissaPleases

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 11:50 AM

quietman, I'm pretty aware of where she goes online. As I said, I have (guiltily) been using Perfect Keylogger. She only uses Facebook and YIM, at least at this point. I'm aware of the general 13 year old rule for social networking, but I find it hard to tell her she can't use it when all of her friends already do so. And quite honestly, to this date, she's only been in contact with her real life friends on FB and YIM. As I said, I'm not overly paranoid about her activity, I just need to monitor who is contacting her. She's pretty savvy about not friending anyone that she doesn't already know.

Edit to Add: As for filtering content she can see, I've filtered out all websites that have the "Adults Only" tag in the header. I know that doesn't guarantee that she won't come across porn, but if she should stumble on it, I'd rather be straight with her about why she shouldn't go there, rather than try to block out all kinds of individual web sites. She's a pretty level-headed kid, and I don't want to be any more restrictive than necessary. By the same token, I'm a mom, and I need to monitor what goes on, just so that I can sleep at night.

Edited by MelissaPleases, 18 November 2010 - 11:57 AM.

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Case: CoolerMaster Storm Trooper Full ATX | Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z170X | CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 8M Skylake Quad-Core | GPU: MSI Radeon R9 390X 8GB 512-Bit | PSU: EVGA 80 PLUS GOLD 850 W | RAM: Corsair Vengeance DDR4 SDRAM [4x8GB] Audio: Integrated Creative Sound Core 3D 5.1 | Internal Storage: Samsung 2 TB HDD | Seagate 1 TB HDD | Samsung 500GB SSD [x2] | Mushkin 500GB SSD | External Storage: Seagate 2TB | Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS324 Dual Layer

Display 1: AOC I2757Fh 27" | Display 2 & 3: LG 24MP57HQ-P 24" | Operating Systems: OS 1: Windows 10 Professional | OS 2: Linux Mint Cinnamon | OS 3: Windows 7 Ultimate x-64 | Antivirus: MS Security Essentials | Firewall: Windows Firewall


#7 Romeo29

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 08:38 PM

Edit to Add: As for filtering content she can see, I've filtered out all websites that have the "Adults Only" tag in the header. I know that doesn't guarantee that she won't come across porn, but if she should stumble on it, I'd rather be straight with her about why she shouldn't go there, rather than try to block out all kinds of individual web sites. She's a pretty level-headed kid, and I don't want to be any more restrictive than necessary. By the same token, I'm a mom, and I need to monitor what goes on, just so that I can sleep at night.

I think you did not read my last post. Blocking by 'Adult' in header or blocking individual sites is not a good way. Instead use OpenDNS which blocks all such web sites including pr0n, hate, racism, drugs, weapons, phishing, malware sites and many more at DNS level. OpenDNS blocks around 54 such categories of sites and you can choose which ones to allow and which ones to block. It is used by many schools, libraries etc.

The only other software I have tested and liked other than Norton Safety Minder is K9 Web Protection.

#8 MelissaPleases

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 10:43 PM

I think you did not read my last post. Blocking by 'Adult' in header or blocking individual sites is not a good way. Instead use OpenDNS which blocks all such web sites including pr0n, hate, racism, drugs, weapons, phishing, malware sites and many more at DNS level. OpenDNS blocks around 54 such categories of sites and you can choose which ones to allow and which ones to block. It is used by many schools, libraries etc.

The only other software I have tested and liked other than Norton Safety Minder is K9 Web Protection.

Ah, okay - I did misread your post. I'll check that out. And I'll look at the K9 product, as well.

I think part of my difficulty comes in deciding exactly how much to filter out, you know? I mean, I don't want my kids to grow up thinking that the world, and specifically the internet, is always a happy, sunny, safe and secure place filled with butterflies and puppy dogs. At the same time, I don't want them exposed to a lot of what is out there. My daughter once did a search for "motherless child," a reference to an old song. She then followed a link to the motherless web site, a notorious pr0n spot. It was an honest mistake, and that's what I want to try and avoid, without being overly protective.

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Case: CoolerMaster Storm Trooper Full ATX | Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z170X | CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 8M Skylake Quad-Core | GPU: MSI Radeon R9 390X 8GB 512-Bit | PSU: EVGA 80 PLUS GOLD 850 W | RAM: Corsair Vengeance DDR4 SDRAM [4x8GB] Audio: Integrated Creative Sound Core 3D 5.1 | Internal Storage: Samsung 2 TB HDD | Seagate 1 TB HDD | Samsung 500GB SSD [x2] | Mushkin 500GB SSD | External Storage: Seagate 2TB | Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS324 Dual Layer

Display 1: AOC I2757Fh 27" | Display 2 & 3: LG 24MP57HQ-P 24" | Operating Systems: OS 1: Windows 10 Professional | OS 2: Linux Mint Cinnamon | OS 3: Windows 7 Ultimate x-64 | Antivirus: MS Security Essentials | Firewall: Windows Firewall


#9 Budapest

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 11:03 PM

Personally I think if you are going to use a keylogger to monitor your children's online activities that you should tell your children that you are doing this.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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#10 MelissaPleases

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 02:32 AM

Personally I think if you are going to use a keylogger to monitor your children's online activities that you should tell your children that you are doing this.

I've struggled with that thought. At this point, I don't think that it makes a lot of difference - my daughter, who is the one who uses the computer the most, isn't really at the stage where she demands a great deal of privacy. I know that time is coming, though, and I agree with you - she should be aware that I'm keeping tabs on what happens online.

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Case: CoolerMaster Storm Trooper Full ATX | Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z170X | CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 8M Skylake Quad-Core | GPU: MSI Radeon R9 390X 8GB 512-Bit | PSU: EVGA 80 PLUS GOLD 850 W | RAM: Corsair Vengeance DDR4 SDRAM [4x8GB] Audio: Integrated Creative Sound Core 3D 5.1 | Internal Storage: Samsung 2 TB HDD | Seagate 1 TB HDD | Samsung 500GB SSD [x2] | Mushkin 500GB SSD | External Storage: Seagate 2TB | Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS324 Dual Layer

Display 1: AOC I2757Fh 27" | Display 2 & 3: LG 24MP57HQ-P 24" | Operating Systems: OS 1: Windows 10 Professional | OS 2: Linux Mint Cinnamon | OS 3: Windows 7 Ultimate x-64 | Antivirus: MS Security Essentials | Firewall: Windows Firewall


#11 chromebuster

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 08:42 PM

It's good to be a mom and want to protect your kids, but there's also the side of this that if they aren't exposed to anything, then they'll never know what's out there. I think that education is the key rather than relying on monitoring to do the trick.

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#12 MelissaPleases

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 11:31 PM

It's good to be a mom and want to protect your kids, but there's also the side of this that if they aren't exposed to anything, then they'll never know what's out there. I think that education is the key rather than relying on monitoring to do the trick.

Chromebuster

That's exactly why I don't want to completely filter out objectionable content. But I also believe in keeping an eye on things. I don't worry about her actions, in terms of her trying to hide things that I would consider "wrong" on her part. She's a kid, and she's going to test boundaries - I fully expect that.

As I said earlier, I'm not overly paranoid about stranger danger - I don't see a child molester behind every computer screen. But the fact is, those people exist, and the internet is an easy way for them to target kids. My daughter is a ten-year-old girl, with all that being such entails. She wants to be thought of as pretty, she's discovering boys (YIKES! Though still in a very innocent way), and like any pre-teen or adolescent, she can be vulnerable to people who would take advantage. That is why I monitor. I want to see who is trying to talk to her, outside of her circle of real life friends. So I think that for the time being, until I'm a little more certain of her own ability to smell when something is wrong when she meets a new person online, I'll continue to watch over her shoulder. When the time comes, I'll let her know that I do this, and why.

She's not a dummy. If she can present me with a reasonable demonstration or argument that monitoring her is not necessary, then I'll pull the keylogger. But for now, I feel a little safer knowing I can keep an eye on things.

Edited by MelissaPleases, 19 November 2010 - 11:32 PM.

Snowden03.png

~   Notorious Thread Killer   ~
Case: CoolerMaster Storm Trooper Full ATX | Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z170X | CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 8M Skylake Quad-Core | GPU: MSI Radeon R9 390X 8GB 512-Bit | PSU: EVGA 80 PLUS GOLD 850 W | RAM: Corsair Vengeance DDR4 SDRAM [4x8GB] Audio: Integrated Creative Sound Core 3D 5.1 | Internal Storage: Samsung 2 TB HDD | Seagate 1 TB HDD | Samsung 500GB SSD [x2] | Mushkin 500GB SSD | External Storage: Seagate 2TB | Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS324 Dual Layer

Display 1: AOC I2757Fh 27" | Display 2 & 3: LG 24MP57HQ-P 24" | Operating Systems: OS 1: Windows 10 Professional | OS 2: Linux Mint Cinnamon | OS 3: Windows 7 Ultimate x-64 | Antivirus: MS Security Essentials | Firewall: Windows Firewall


#13 Didier Stevens

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 04:18 AM

How do people feel about monitoring children via the use of programs like this?

I understand what you are doing and I think I would do the same with children of that age. There will come a time you'll have to tell them, and the older they get, the more privacy they'll want. If you wait too long to tell them, they might be of an age that they will start to distrust you because of this.
But you could already tell them now in an indirect way. For example, you can remind them that a computer (or this computer) remembers everything they do...

Is there a somewhat less invasive way to monitor what she's doing, and who is contacting her, than using Perfect Keylogger? And what are your opinions about this kind of monitoring when it comes to kids being online in social networking situations?

One question: with Perfect Keylogger, you only get one side of the conversation, right? You don't see what IM messages they receive, but only what your children reply?

I can think of a less invasive way: you still use a keylogger, but in stead of manually skimming through the log, you use a program to scan the log.
The program alerts you of certain trigger words, or it can also report to you every new word it sees in the conversation.
This way, you don't read their conversation, but you are alerted when something new or out of the ordinary happens.

One more question: if I understand correctly, you and your children are using the same computer for the moment? Does this mean that all the typing you do is also logged?

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#14 MelissaPleases

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 03:25 PM

I understand what you are doing and I think I would do the same with children of that age. There will come a time you'll have to tell them, and the older they get, the more privacy they'll want. If you wait too long to tell them, they might be of an age that they will start to distrust you because of this.
But you could already tell them now in an indirect way. For example, you can remind them that a computer (or this computer) remembers everything they do...

I like this idea very much. They know that I am something of a geek, so that statement might let them know that I am aware of what they do.

One question: with Perfect Keylogger, you only get one side of the conversation, right? You don't see what IM messages they receive, but only what your children reply?

Not necessarily. In IM, it lifts the chat logs for me. I can also, if I choose, set it to take screen shots at specified intervals, though I've chosen not to do that.

I can think of a less invasive way: you still use a keylogger, but in stead of manually skimming through the log, you use a program to scan the log.
The program alerts you of certain trigger words, or it can also report to you every new word it sees in the conversation.
This way, you don't read their conversation, but you are alerted when something new or out of the ordinary happens.

I'll have to look into that. I'm sure there must be something out there that has this capability.

One more question: if I understand correctly, you and your children are using the same computer for the moment? Does this mean that all the typing you do is also logged?

Yes, we use the same computer, but no, my use is not monitored. Since I was the installer of the application, I set it to only become active when their accounts are logged in, not mine.

Snowden03.png

~   Notorious Thread Killer   ~
Case: CoolerMaster Storm Trooper Full ATX | Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z170X | CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 8M Skylake Quad-Core | GPU: MSI Radeon R9 390X 8GB 512-Bit | PSU: EVGA 80 PLUS GOLD 850 W | RAM: Corsair Vengeance DDR4 SDRAM [4x8GB] Audio: Integrated Creative Sound Core 3D 5.1 | Internal Storage: Samsung 2 TB HDD | Seagate 1 TB HDD | Samsung 500GB SSD [x2] | Mushkin 500GB SSD | External Storage: Seagate 2TB | Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS324 Dual Layer

Display 1: AOC I2757Fh 27" | Display 2 & 3: LG 24MP57HQ-P 24" | Operating Systems: OS 1: Windows 10 Professional | OS 2: Linux Mint Cinnamon | OS 3: Windows 7 Ultimate x-64 | Antivirus: MS Security Essentials | Firewall: Windows Firewall





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