daralex's post got me thinking, ways to protect our G'sFG?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by totoro, May 7, 2009.

  1. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    So many of us have no clue how to make our computers safer! How to protect our kids from themselves.
    What steps to take to enable or disable security, passwords or sites on the computers.
    Timers, siteblocks, so many things I have never had to think about!

    Good sites for our kids. Helpful websites?

    Tips for cell-phones?

    On daralex's post opened my eyes once again! I was talking to husband about all of the things we are going to have to start worrying about in the future.

    Even simple things like no computer in the rooms.

    I thought maybe those of you who have been there done that, could throw out your ideas that have helped or NOT helped and maybe we could archive this?
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Verizon Wireless has Parental Controls/Usage Controls that allow you to set type of content allowed, time blocks allowed or not (works on calls and texts, but someone else on same account can always be reached), blocked numbers, and minute allowance. They also have something called Chaperone which uses the GPS to locate the phone. Warning on this - the kid CAN change the settings so the phone can't be located if they know how. difficult child 1 has done this. All this is extra $. The content filters and number blocks are free.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My big concern these days are the cameras- whether or not it's a digital camera, one on a cell phone, or hooked to the computer. I think they all need to be kept out of our kids' hands exxcept when directly supervised.
  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Toto, thanks for starting this thread.

    My difficult child simply CANNOT stay safe on the computer. He has no judgement and no boundaries about what's safe or unsafe, goes to highly inappropriate sites, reveals sensitive personal information (not just his own, either), and generally over-communicates when given access to IM, e-mail or social networking sites.

    Here are the things we've done, and the reasons behind them:

    1) No computers in private spaces--this includes bedrooms, dens, and anyplace with a door that shuts, or a desk that backs onto a wall. Someone in charge must be able to see difficult child's computer screen at all times.

    2) 100% supervision while using the computer--someone sits beside difficult child at all times, and watches what he does. If they have to step away for a moment, his screen must still be in view, or difficult child has to get off the computer.

    3) Limited account--difficult child's account has very strict limits. He cannot change most settings or configuration elements, or stray into the gubbins of the computer.

    4) NO ACCESS TO ANYONE ELSE'S ID OR PASSWORD--this one is very important. If others who share the computer have admin rights, and difficult child knows the password, he will log in as another user, change his own permissions, and then roam free in the wild, bad internet.

    We go so far as to make him leave the room or at least turn his back (and ensure that there are no mirrors on the wall he's facing) when entering IDs and passwords, because he watches people's fingers when they type and learns passwords that way.

    5) Keystroke logging software--we know and track everything difficult child does on the computer. husband visits the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) regularly and checks up on what difficult child has been doing online.

    6) E-mail trap--We get copies of all of difficult child's outgoing and incoming e-mail messages, so that we can see not just who he's communicating with, but what he's saying. Instant message history. Same reason.

    7) No access at all to social networking sites--a friend set difficult child up with a Facebook account a few years ago. Within a day, difficult child posted all sorts of inappropriate fantasy content about a girl he used to go to school with who was part of the groups he joined (e.g. Soandso is my girlfriend, this is what we do together...). She received a lot of teasing from her friends as a result of difficult child"s postings, so we stripped all of his information and locked out the account.

    8) Very strong limits on internet access, using "white list" technology. difficult child can go only to sites which are specifically allowed. All other websites are blocked. If he wants to go to a site that is not currently on his list, he has to send a request to husband, who evaluates and then unlocks the site if we think it's appropriate for him.

    If he's on an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) outing to the library or somewhere else that computers with internet access are available, his 1:1 sits right beside him when he's using the computer

    9) Time limit--difficult child is allowed a maximum of 1 hour computer time, every other day. More than that and he starts to get obsessive and agitated.

    Thing is, these are really no different than the rules we have in place for difficult child interacting with live people. Constant supervision, 100% monitoring, no alone time, very tight controls over what he can do and where he can go. Otherwise he's a danger to himself and others.


  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Cameras are just dangerous even if they are not digital. (Polaroids were the thing once...)

    Try to get a cell phone without one though. Prohibitively expensive. I did try!
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Good points Klmno, I forgot about the phones.

    to continue...

    10) 100% supervision for cell phone and land line use--difficult child must ask permission to use the phone, and he's not allowed to have privacy when he does so, except for a very limited list of people (all Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff have the list, and are instructed to verify the number dialled)

    11) 100% supervision for digital camera use

    Essentially, except for using the bathroom, difficult child's entire life is being monitored by someone.
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    While I don't like the idea of anyone being under 24 hour surveillance, I understand with a particular type of difficult child it can be necessary. I did it.

    We had all the protections in place as listed below by Trinity in regards to the computer. She couldn't even play Solitaire without someone home to unlock the computer. It was stationed in the living room, next to the kitchen. It had a BIOS password, a windows password and an AOL password, known ONLY by me. Parental controls were set for ONE HOUR each day during the evening hour following dinnertime so I was home. Cell phones: She didn't get one until she was 15 and, boy, were we naive. H bought her the cell, put it on his plan without any restrictions because he didn't realize he needed them. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. We eliminated internet access and text messaging and I took the phone away from her at 9PM, same time our regular phones were off limits. During the day at school she had to hand her cell over to the receptionist at school - ALL the students did, if they had one. It was a very small school so this was possible.

    If your kid needs to have a phone? Get one without a camera and eliminate the possibility of any texting. Phone calls only. They make them and they are worth every penny. Here is one: http://www.mycricket.com/cricketphones/details/nok1606

    If that's not allowed, moderators please delete that portion.

    If I had to do it all over again, to be honest, I wouldn't even get internet in my home until everyone was over 18. Honestly. While the internet can be a blessing, it can also be a conduit for evil and unfortunately, whether its through bullying, sexual predators or simply wasting time, it's usually used for evil. I can't even count how many times my girls had told me they were on line for a school project (yeah right!). Before we had internet, we went to the library, which is where my girls had to go after the police confiscated our computer for 9 months for evidence. For those 9 months, there were fewer arguments (over anything), less anxiety (for all of us), more time spent reading and talking (among all of us) and surprisingly, all school projects were done with the help of an old fashioned encyclopedia and other resource materials found at our local public library.

    My feeling is, that all the precautions in the world cannot prevent a child or teen who fancies him/herself an adult from hurting themself or others if they are determined to do so. And, in my opinion, being under surveillance, or being the surveyor, is not healthy for anyone. Not knocking anyone - just my 2¢. I think kids need space and privacy just like adults do; if we take that away, how do they learn to self monitor and grow? Again, don't want to start a debate, because I did it myself with my own difficult child - I'm just saying that is my base feeling about monitoring our kids. I never had to do that with easy child. With difficult child it was a different story.
  8. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Great! This is just what I was thinking!
    For us K is so socially immature and already has a hard time telling her "friends" no.

    Right now any computer time is out in the front room with me or husband sitting with her. But it will not always be this way.
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  9. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Jo, I do agree with you.
    husband and I and the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) have been working hard to find the right balance between privacy and space, and safety. Right now, sadly, and mainly because of difficult child's own poor choices, we're weighing in heavily on the side of safety.

    Honestly, a large part of me believes that we're putting off the inevitable. There will come a time when difficult child chafes under all the restrictions and decides he doesn't want them anymore. Truly, he's over 18 and legally he can just walk away anytime he wants to. So far, it hasn't occurred to him to do son.

    We're trying so hard to save him from himself, but eventually we're going to have to let him do for himself and stand or fall as he may. I dread the day.

  10. sosotired

    sosotired New Member

    Can anyone suggest a good (free if possible) key logger and / or net nanny?
  11. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I paid $100 for EBlaster - worth every penny.

    I agree that this has to be evaluated by the specific child.
  12. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I think the best thing any parent can do is to keep an open line of communication with their pre-teens and teens. Learn to not react immediately when they tell you something shocking. Learn to talk about things you are uncomfortable with. Teach them to be proud of who they are from an early age and praise, praise, praise good choices.

    Kids are going to make mistakes. Learn to make those mistakes into growth opportunities not punishable offenses. Let natural consequences take effect.

    Learn to pick your battles carefully. Rules should be about the big things---not personal choices like hair, clothing, etc.

    Learn to let them face the consequences of their choices. If they get in trouble at school for breaking the rules, don't fight the school over the rules or make excuses for their behaviors even if you think the rule is stupid.

    Even with all the safety precautions in the world in place, if a teen wants to do something, you can bet they will do it. Even easy child's make stupid choices. Make sure they understand that a bad choice does not define them forever.
  13. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    We got Miss KT a cell phone when she started junior high, because she was on cross country and I wanted her to be able to contact us if she needed to. We monitored it pretty closely, had a few problems, but confiscating the phone solved them.

    The computer has always been password protected, and Son #2 is a computer genius who was able to track her stuff when we needed him to. I monitored her myspace account, still do, because the dog has one, and I can keep up with her friends that way. We also limited her time on it when she was younger, and had the filtering on it as well.

    I agree with EW, pick your battles.
  14. compassion

    compassion Member

    My big concern these days are the cameras- whether or not it's a digital camera, one on a cell phone, or hooked to the computer. I think they all need to be kept out of our kids' hands exxcept when directly supervised.

    I agree. I am looking at a camera that needs to be put up. :) Compassion
  15. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    The only computer we have is in our living room. I have her as locked down as I can manage and just had her give me her password to her social network sites. - How do I get access to her text messages - that's what I want to know. She sends/receives over 1000 a day!!

    I do also think though that they do need some privacy. It just seems ebverytime I try to give some to difficult child she makes a mess of it!

  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Dara - the text messages themselves aren't impossible but they're sure a PITA to actually get.

    Cell phones with a SIM card - messages saved on the SIM. It can be removed and read. Not usually at home though. Without a SIM - such as Verizon - are stored on their server. But I don't know how long they store them for. This you would probably need a court order for.

    However if you have online access, you can usually see who she is texting. Numbers at the very least, and dates and times. That's what we do with difficult child 1. It is less important who, and more important when - although with this log we were able to show the detective who handled the investigation on BM's creep that said #$%^& was texting and calling difficult child 1 constantly at strange hours (4 AM, 6 AM, 10 PM, 10 AM)... That coupled with the content of the texts that we did see (actually on the phone itself) was pretty damning.

    Also enables us to see that, for a week or so, BM was sending tons of texts to difficult child 1. Not getting much response though. If she had kept it up I would have called the PD for harassment. Plus phone calls - 15-20 back to back - no answer from difficult child 1 so she'd call again. Nothing in over a week though.
  17. debi

    debi New Member

    I use a program called SpectorPro, it monitors myspace and facebook, etc in addition to keystrokes, screen shots, etc.

    I have to admit that I agree that constant surveillance can be damaging to the parent. I became so exhausted reading his computer interactions. I felt myself going bonkers reading all that teenage strife. I realized that alot of it was just lies and it is so easy for them to say anything that you really need to be careful and evaluate what you will confront your child with. There are so many issues that most times you have to choose your battles. For us computer and phone were used as a way to encourage good behavior and taken away for consequences to bad choices.
  18. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member

    Hi, everyone! I'm new here, but thought I'd throw my 2 cents in as we've dealt with this a lot.

    computer: I set up 2 accounts, and I log difficult child in on the one without admin privileges. easy child has an account too, but I also log him in. He doesn't know the password because difficult child will bully and threaten him until he tells. difficult child currently on computer restriction as a result of addiction to online gaming. Withdrawal was a nightmare. Not to be confused with-previous restriction for porn use.

    cellphone: difficult child has a pay-as-you go account. When his time/txt message quota is up, he's out of luck until he can buy more. Ridiculously large bills put an end to being part of a family plan.

    phone: Had to have the phone company block 900# dialing after I got a bill for almost $400 in 900# calls. Ewwwwwww!

    The real world is hard enough; now we have to deal with cyberspace too!
  19. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I think something that we all forget is that having a cell phone and a computer, with internet access no less, is really a luxury...not, as our kids would have us believe, a right. This is something H would say over and over again. I would roll my eyes at times because it became annoying, but he's right.

    When he took internet access off difficult child's cell a couple of years ago, she balked, loudly. H then asked her simply, "Would you like me to cancel the entire service altogether? Reminder: THIS PHONE IS A LUXURY, A PRIVILEGE - I DON'T OWE YOU A CELL PHONE, HELLO." She shut her mouth then and left the room. Hahahahaha. I'm glad I wasn't in the room for that conversation.