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parental controls...


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#1 millipede

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:26 AM

This is technically privacy related, I think, but if it needs to be moved somewhere else please do.

I'm searching for the best, and FREE, option(s) for monitoring and/or restricting my children's internet activity.  I have a daughter that has signed up to a few websites, mostly for games, that she was told NOT to sign up for.  She's not 13 yet, isn't technically old enough to create her own accounts, so she lies on them... of course.  She's not exactly careful with what she's doing on there and, there are a lot of weirdos out there, etc...  I'm a paranoid, overprotective dad.  :) 
While I'd like to trust her, she continues to lie when I catch her playing games instead of doing her schoolwork.
I'm struggling to think of EXACTLY how I want to "fix" things.  WHILE she's supposed to be doing school work, I think the best thing would be for her to have limited or NO access to the web...  at least, through browsers.  We use firefox mainly.  But her school software sometimes connects to the internet to check for updates, etc.  So, I wouldn't want to simply shut off internet for that computer.
Even if and when she's allowed free time, I will still want to monitor what she gets into.
So, while I'm trying to wrap my brain around what I actually want/need, I'm having difficulty finding good free programs.  I see lots of different ones that do quite different things.  I figure while I'm trying to figure it all out I might as well ask for some opinions.
Anyone have any recommendations for programs for this sort of thing?



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#2 TwinHeadedEagle

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 02:02 PM

Which system is running on your computer?

#3 millipede

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 06:00 PM

windows 7



#4 quietman7

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 09:46 PM

Resources for Parents: Child Safety on the Internet:Resources for Parents: Social Networking and Children:Parental Tools from Microsoft:Other Parental Tools to restrict access to the Internet:
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#5 GeeLeash

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:01 PM

If you are looking for a new take on Internet Parental Controls that addresses how much time your kids can spend on-line, check out this new HIPOM (https://www.myHIPOM.com) offering.

 

They have a very interesting free service that lets parents see all of the internet-enabled devices in your house and turn them on or off like a light switch - all from a simple web page.  No software to download or configure.  I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and it really works.  I use it to kick my daughter off Facebook after 8:30pm every night with a push of a button!

 

Rumor has it they are going into "beta test" with a 'Web Safeguards' feature as well that will allow parents to block content while the kids are online.  It’s a nice one-two punch for internet parental controls – an internet timer control deciding when they can go on-line and a web filtering control deciding what they can see while on line.  And it works for ALL devices in the house (PCs, iPods, iPads, iPhones, game consoles, internet TV, etc.,).  They have done a nice job with it IMO.

 

FWIW



#6 millipede

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:14 PM

Thanks quietman, I'll have to look at those.
GeeLeash, I think I'll wait before I consider something like that.  I thank you for the reply.  I'm always a LITTLE skeptical when someone that has never posted before replies.  no offense.  But more importantly, that site, I can't find much info from outside sources about it.  Basically, I triple check things before I trust them.  I'd want to read more about it from multiple sources.

I am not sure how a website would be able to see ALL of the internet enabled devices in your house without SOMETHING being installed.  It would have to have some access to my router in order to that.  Wouldn't it?  Sounds kind of fishy.  And there's NO way it would be able to disable another device in my house without having something installed and/or some sort of access to my router. 
Anyway... all sounds a little fishy and I'm just a skeptical guy in general.
You're not working for them or something are you?  Just my paranoid skepticism kicking in.  Don't take the question personally.  I, again, just find it interesting when someone that's never posted before replies to a question of mine.  :)
Anyway...  it's good to have some options to browse through.
Thanks.



#7 GeeLeash

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:14 AM

Millipede

 

Understand.  I don't work for the company but a good friend of mine (who told me about it - he has been beta testing it for over 2 years) is related or knows well the founder of the startup that has launched this service.

 

You are right, the service works with your router - that's its beauty IMO.  Nothing to download into devices and administer, only to have it be a problem with the next new device they come out with in time for Xmas.   By controlling the router, EVERY device is controlled at the common access point - both now and in the future.

 

Your router can do all this stuff already, its just that it is unapproachable to the masses.  To block your kid with your router you have to know how to log in to your router, and create a Filter block using the MAC address or IP Address of the device which you have to know in advance, etc., etc.,  It ain't easy.  You basically have to be an IT Pro.  

 

HIPOM reduces this to loging into your HIPOM account and pushing the button next to a picture of your daughter's iPad. They have done it right IMO.

 

With this service there is nothing to install.  The only thing you have to do from your side is give HIPOM permission to control your router on your behalf - according to your wishes - from your secured personailized Control Panel.  You do this by turning on your router's built-in "Remote Management" feature and providing HIPOM with the useranme and password of your choosing.  They have 45 second videos to show you how to do this for each of the dozens of consumer-based routers they already support.  Its all done from your browser (you don't mess with the physical router at all).  It took me under 5 minutes form the time I registered to the time I turned off the internet access to my daughter's device on the Control Panel the first time.  I just told them the Make and Model of my router, watched the vide that shows how to put my particular router in Remote Management Mode and provide the username and password of the router - and the service did the rest.  Really simple - and nothing to download.  And I can "release my router" from HIPOM control anytime I want.

 

If you want to read more about them just Google "HIPOM".  They come right up, including some press releases and such.  That's what I did when my friend told me about them.  They are offering a legitamite (and IMO quite innovative) solution to a big parenting problem. 

 

I have nothing to gain by you investigating the service further.  I am just very pleased with the service and thought you and others would like to know that this alternative to traditional parental controls at the "device level" exists.  IMO, doing it at the router makes much more sense.  I will personally never go back to "downloadable" parental controls after using a service like this. 

 

HTHs,






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