WHERE TO START?

Well, it all depends on what you want to accomplish.

Do you just want to monitor your child’s activity or are you looking for a more obstructive solution?

Either way, individual user accounts are a must for every pc user (age appropriate).

Utilizing user accounts you will give you the ability to manage users access right individually.
Windows XP has three main user accounts and all of them come with their own sets of rights: Power User, Limited User and Guest.mother and daughter on computer

A user with limited access, for example, can still change their desktop, change/remove their password, access files they created, etc but he or she might not be able to install certain software.  Older programs and games also might not function correctly.

You can read more about Windows XP user accounts and how to configure them at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/279783 and http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/ua_c_account_types.mspx?mfr=true.                                                                             

Windows 7 manages user account a little different.  You can read more about Windows 7 security at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/user-account-control.

Now, many of us started with limiting user accounts but became quickly aware that the constant “Mom, I need to install this program…..now” was not worth all the trouble.

Some of us also had to realize that our children are much better with circumventing (hacking) the windows operating systems and therefore changing setting previously set by an adult.

This is where hardware or software solutions come into play.

This blog focuses on software solutions that are free.

None of these software applications are currently implemented at Pace School nor have they been tested by me.  Pace School employs a network and security is handled by a combination of hardware/software solution.

But I think these applications are worth while looking at especially for the home user.

There are two main software solutions categories:

MONITORING

These applications do that just.  They simply monitor your child’s activity on the computer and the internet and have no options to block websites.

Example:

Kiddlogger http://kidlogger.net/download.html
This open source and free parental control software is designed to log all computer activities when you leave your kids alone with the PC. KidLogger logs all keystrokes including instant messenger chats, typed website URLs, emails etc. Other features include support for multiple user accounts, monitoring and logging of online activities as well as all programs running on PC, screen capture of computer screen every 15 minutes, log reports via emails etc. KidLogger can monitor all PC events like standby, hibernation, logoff, login etc.

Controlling
These applications let you block websites, restrict the time you child can use the computer, filter websites by content, generate reports, etc.

Example:

Windows Life Family Safety
Windows Live Family Safety is a free internet parental control software developed by Microsoft. This program lets you monitor and control your child’s online activities by blocking offensive websites, filtering websites by content, and giving you detailed reports. With Windows Live Family Safety’s support for multi-user accounts, you can monitor and control each child separately.
Filtering of websites can be done on an individual basis thus giving you more flexibility. Windows Live Family Safety lets you extend your parental control to email and chatting, albeit only to Microsoft services like Hotmail, MSN Messenger and Live Spaces. You can allow or block certain contacts from your kid’s contact list. Windows Live Family Safety settings are managed online, so you can keep a watch on your kids even when you are away from your computer.

Please let us know if you try one of these applications at home.
We would like to know how they worked for you!

Written by Pace School’s IT Guru: Kai Hoke

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