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Need to kid proof my computer

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by spartanstew, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone

    Nov 16, 2005
    Wylie, Texas
    We have a Dell desktop with Windows XP. We gave out 6 year old son his own login (without a password) and he knows how to launch Internet Explorer and use the favorites where there's 4 or 5 sites he can use to play games (Noggin, Disney, Lego, etc.).

    Tonight, he was playing games for about an hour while we were watching TV. When I came up to check on him, he was playing some type of commando game (running around firing weapons).

    I used his back button to find out that he had played a few games on some free game site (don't remember the name offhand) and that he got there by typing into the search bar at the top: monstrgams

    He had seen a commercial earlier in the day for monsters vs aliens and wanted to play a game about it.

    Of course, google search results said "do you mean monster games?" and listed several sites, one of which he clicked on.

    Of course, we had a long talk with him about only using his personal sites and if he wants something different to let us find it, but, is it possible to only allow him to visit the sites we've specified?

    When I go into user accounts as administrator, the only options for adjusting his account are to change the type or change the name or delete. Nothing about parental controls.

    When I'm logged onto his account, it won't really let me change anything, because his account only has limited control.

    What are my options?
  2. brian188

    brian188 Legend

    Oct 13, 2007
    Have you tried the parental controls in IE?

    Tools -> internet options -> Content tab.

    It's a start, there are other things you could do if you need more.
  3. Shades228

    Shades228 DaBears

    Mar 18, 2008
    Cyber Patrol or Net Nanny seem to be the most popular ones. It's really hard to lock down a computer that's not setup with server logins. There are many ways to do it but it's really just work arounds. Personally I don't like parental controls of IE because sometimes you want to do something and it's all or nothing. Those programs are basically an advanced firewall so you could also do some research on firewalls and then setup your own.
  4. spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone

    Nov 16, 2005
    Wylie, Texas
    Couldn't change anything there because the account had limited access. So, I changed his account to administrator and then went in and basically changed all the content to none and then opened the websites he's allowed to view and gave access to always allow them (with password).

    The problem is that that effected internet explorer across all log-ins. When I use IE from my login screen, I have those same settings (as does my wife). I guess that's ok since we mainly use firefox, but seems like a hassle. Didn't know it would do that.

    Is there a way to get rid of the search bar at the top of IE? A way to not make the changes global?
  5. spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone

    Nov 16, 2005
    Wylie, Texas
    Well, I realized that by setting all the access to "none", basically no web pages will come up (except for the 4 that I set for always allow), not even google.

    So, since we use firefox, that'll work for now. I guess when he gets a bit older and figures out how to launch firefox, I'll have to do something different, but for now I'll leave it as is and see what happens.

    PS. I guess it makes sense that changing IE changes it for all since it's all one IE program. Duh.
  6. brian188

    brian188 Legend

    Oct 13, 2007
    No way I know of to get rid of the address bar, or the search bar other than to go to full screen view, but that only hides it. I don't use IE either, and I know the parental controls aren't ideal but they should work for a 6 year old.

    You will need to make plans as he gets older though.
  7. HDJulie

    HDJulie Icon

    Aug 10, 2008
    The Search Box can be hidden with a registry edit:


    You might have to create some of the sub keys if they do not exist but once there, you want to have a DWORD of NoSearchBox set to 1. I did this myself awhile back. You can google for "Internet explorer remove search box"
  8. koji68

    koji68 Icon

    Jun 21, 2004
    As a parent of 2 older teenagers I can tell you that you can't kid proof a computer.

    They'll find a way. All systems are vulnerable. The only thing that works is your involvement and patience.

    This is what I recomend:

    Give them a non-administrator account.

    Set the default search in your browser to Google and enable Safe Search (http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?answer=510&topic=354).

    Use an Internet filter: http://www.internetfilter.com/w/home. This program will lock browsing to only sites on its list.

    If you can, setup a proxy server for surfing with or without filtering. Even without filtering it will be helpfull as you'll be able to review logs and see what's going on. http://www.wingate.com/

    As he gets older and starts using IM, insists that he adds you as a friend. Help him set an account. If he sets up an account by himself, he'll lie and say he's 18. Then review the friend's list and ask who everybody is and how he knows them. My son's friend was chatting with "Vin Diesel" for a couple of weeks and we found out when my son added the ID to his list and I asked about it.

    Put the PC in an open public area, never in their room, with the screen pointing to the center of the room so you can see what they are doing.

    When he starts to want to download music, videos, etc. point him to legal sites where he can listen to music for free like yahoo and pandoras. You don't want him installing LimeWire or the like. They are full of porn and viruses.

    The Internet is an open highway to the best and the worst of human nature and culture. You have to be vigilant.

    Regardless of what measures you take, review the PC a couple of times a year.
  9. Greg Alsobrook

    Greg Alsobrook Lifetime Achiever

    Apr 1, 2007

    Seems that you may have come up with a solution, but I will go ahead and throw out a couple more suggestions.

    Fortres is great for locking down the computer even further... any account that doesn't have admin on the computer will receive the policies you set...

    Also, as someone else pointed out, NetNanny is a great way to regulate websites... This program will definitely allow you put in a list of "approved" sites.
  10. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    As websites come and go, manual filtering isn't practical. That's where the services that maintain safelists are probably the way to go in the long run.

    None of them are a substitute for live parental participation.
  11. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    One of the easiest and more-effective ways to kid-proof is to have the computer in an open room (like the living) room where an adult is likely to be most of the time.

    That pretty much kills any intentional surfing to places you don't want them to go... The accidental stuff is harder to prevent, especially since many of those restrictive filters aren't too smart and will restrict access to benign sites accidentally.
  12. spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone

    Nov 16, 2005
    Wylie, Texas
    Thanks guys, I'll be looking into some of those suggestions.
  13. Marlin Guy

    Marlin Guy Hall Of Fame

    Apr 8, 2009

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