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Parental Control


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#1
DonnaB

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We are trying to prevent our 13 year old from accessing Facebook and Youtube. We have OpenDNS installed but it continually becomes unblocked. I'm assuming this is due to the Dynamic IP and is changed by our ISP Provider. We did install the OpenDNS Updater today and this did seem to fix our problem. Is this a for sure fix?

I have set the Parental Controls in IE with a passcode and also have Firefox installed for her use but the Parental Controls are of no use with Firefox. A friend told me to access the default Host files in Windows and add the sites there to be blocked and redirected back to 127.0.0.1. Would that work?

A limited acct. has also been suggested as well. But she may need access to downloads from school.

This is on our XP Home SP3 OS. No firewall presently installed.

Open to suggestions.

Donna :D

Edited by DonnaB, 27 November 2010 - 07:19 PM.

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#2
MS-Free

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I know this is not what you want to hear, but I thought I remembered reading somewhere that the best parental control software. Anyone sufficiently determined to bypass parental control software/settings could/would do so. (Off course now when I go out looking for it, I can't find it - and I can't remember where... I thought it was an issue Wired - but I can't seem to find the article).

Anyways... a lot of things to comment on there:

A friend told me to access the default Host files in Windows and add the sites there to be blocked and redirected back to 127.0.0.1. Would that work?

I've seen that suggestion before. Wouldn't be such a popular suggestion if it didn't work... however... bad way to try to implement a parental control policy, as these will effect the computer globally (across all accounts - i.e. you wouldn't be able to visit those sites either).

also have Firefox installed for her use but the Parental Controls are of no use with Firefox.

If that's the case, if you're determined on enforcing why leave Firefox available when you know its completely unrestricted access.

A limited acct. has also been suggested as well. But she may need access to downloads from school.

I don't see how this would help prevent access to Youtube/Facebook. Also - as you'd soon discover if you tried to implement this approach, a limited account, as implemented in XP, often proves to be a bit too limiting.

I've heard of OpenDNS, but don't actually know anything about it, so can't say anything on that.

No firewall presently installed.

Tsk-tsk-tsk. From one GeekU student to another, how did you ever get passed PL2?

Think of your computer as your house. Would you leave all your doors and windows unlocked, open, or as just a hole in the wall, at all times? Allowing everybody and there nieghbour full access to everything you own? I would hope not. Even in the safest of nieghbourhoods, everyone needs a little privacy.

Essentially, this is what you're doing to your computer - leaving it completely exposed to everyone on the internet.

Taken straight from my no firewall can. :D

Edited by MS-Free, 28 November 2010 - 11:28 AM.

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#3
SpywareDr

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NetNanny.com, CyberPatrol.com, CyberSentinel.com, CyberSitter.com ...







Edited by SpywareDr, 28 November 2010 - 06:10 AM.

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#4
DonnaB

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@ MS-Free,

No firewall presently installed

Tsk-tsk-tsk. From one GeekU student to another, how did you ever get passed PL2?

I know, I know. :D Was ashamed to add that bit of info but it was important. Just received this computer from a friend (College Professor) who only used it at home in his office because it had MS Office 2003 on it and he didn't connect to the Internet much except to send Documents to his computer at the College (surprisingly it was infection free, not even Adware cookies) and didn't want to install a Firewall till we found one that would be sufficient for our needs. Did have to update to SP3 though and no active AV. Been told that ZoneAlarm would be the best in regards to adding restrictions, but I've seen so many people that have had issues with ZoneAlarm. I have installed Avast on it and read somewhere that either ZoneAlarm or Comodo has issues with Avast. Not sure which one though. I'll have to look into that. I would prefer to use Comodo myself.

A friend told me to access the default Host files in Windows and add the sites there to be blocked and redirected back to 127.0.0.1. Would that work?

I've seen that suggestion before. Wouldn't be such a popular suggestion if it didn't work... however... bad way to try to implement a parental control policy, as these will effect the computer globally (across all accounts - i.e. you wouldn't be able to visit those sites either).

Fortunately, she is the only user on the XP. We do have it connected via Ethernet to the router so we can pull the plug if/when needed, and we were having issues with OpenDNS blocking us from our sites. So I want to target just that computer which is why I thought setting this restriction in the Host file would be a good thing. Then it would also restrict the sites in Firefox as well. Right? I would prefer that she uses Firefox because it is a much safer browser.

You're right about the limited acct., we want to give her some freedoms but control them. She does have a site for games that she interacts with her friends and it was blocked with the limited acct.

Think of your computer as your house. Would you leave all your doors and windows unlocked, open, or as just a hole in the wall, at all times? Allowing everybody and there nieghbour to, full access to everything you own? I would hope not. Even in the safest of nieghbourhoods, everyone needs a little privacy.

Essentially, this is what you're doing to your computer - leaving it completely exposed to everyone on the internet.

Excellent analogy! May I use that?

@ SpywareDr,

Thank you for the links. I've heard of Net Nanny but not the others. Was hoping to find something that was free. The CYBERsitter doesn't say if it's free or not. Is it?

Thanks for your advice, I truly appreciate the help.

Donna ;)
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#5
123Runner

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If no one else is going to use the computer except your daughter, then I would add the sites to the host file.
This (as already mentioned) will keep you from accessing the sites while of this computer.
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#6
DonnaB

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Thanks 123Runner ;)

I will do that. First I need to find a way to delete her Facebook acct. She had her password written down and someone got a hold of it and they have been posting some really bad language onto it. She goes to a Christian school and has some of her teachers as friends (not to mention family members who brought this to my attention) and I don't want them to think that she is the one posting the vulgarities. I know that it was not her posting this stuff because her computer has been offline for over a month now and this stuff was posted recently. :D
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#7
MS-Free

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Excellent analogy! May I use that?

Be my guest. Though I may have thought up that analogy independently, its far from original.

Then it would also restrict the sites in Firefox as well. Right?

This is correct. 127.0.0.1 is the local loopback address... basically what you'd be doing is when the computer goes to resolve the domain-name, it looks to resolve the address through the hosts file first, it will get resolved to the local computer, completely browser-independent.

I would prefer to use Comodo myself.

So do I. I know that I used to run Comodo and avast! together with no problems.

I believe it should also be possible, although it would likely take more work to set-up, to configure a policy on the firewall denying access to Facebook, etc. (as opposed to modifying the host file). Probably not the way you're going to implement it, but I thought I should at least mention it.

I would prefer that she uses Firefox because it is a much safer browser.

While I'm not typically an advocate for Ballmer and company, to be fair I'm not sure its still accurate to say FF is much safer then IE.

First I need to find a way to delete her Facebook acct.


Facebook FAQ:

If you do not think you will use Facebook again and would like your account deleted, please keep in mind that you will not be able to reactivate your account or retrieve any of the content or information you have added. If you would like your account permanently deleted with no option for recovery, log in to your account and then submit your request here.

Might-as-well save you a little legwork on that.

She had her password written down...

In my opinion, she had it coming for doing that. Growing up in the age of digital, she should know better. Come on, this isn't even Security-101!

Edited by MS-Free, 28 November 2010 - 11:59 AM.

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#8
admin

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1) OpenDNS can be very effective. However, if you have a wireless router you may wish to configure your router instead of the computer's network settings. Kids will find their way around the network settings very quickly. The router can be password protected.

2) Second,you may wish to consider the parental controls available in Windows Live Essentials.

3) I'd also encourage you to please consider that social networks, text messages, etc are a very important part teens (and tweens) communicating. Whether we like it our not, MOST communications happen this way. By shutting her out of Facebook for example, you are closing her off to an important social outlet of her peers.

I've never been a big fan of parental controls. I think parents are the best control. Only allow your kids to use computers in public areas (not locked away in their bedroom). Be sure you have their passwords, and let them know you can and will access their accounts, text messages, etc at any time. It's a condition of their use. If they wouldn't feel comfortable doing it with you watching over their shoulder they shouldn't be doing it.
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#9
Cold Titanium

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Aren't all of these solutions annulled by a simple proxy?
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#10
admin

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Proxy, bootcd (i.e. a Live Linux Distro), remote desktop, hacking passwords. Yes, there are lots of ways around parental controls.
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#11
DonnaB

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@ admin,

3) I'd also encourage you to please consider that social networks, text messages, etc are a very important part teens (and tweens) communicating. Whether we like it our not, MOST communications happen this way. By shutting her out of Facebook for example, you are closing her off to an important social outlet of her peers.


Thank you. Your post was a real eye opener. I was so focused on how to prevent access as punishment rather than educate that I overlooked the fact that I can't shelter my child from life. I have to guide her in the right direction.

Where we live there are no other children her age and she does need to communicate with her peers. Together we will sit down, check out the links provided above, and clean up the mess that has been created with her acct. and change her passwords and start fresh with more Parental Interaction and not Parental Controls. I think she understands now how important it is to keep passwords to yourself. She has learned a really hard lesson here.

Thank you all for the advice and guidance. I truly appreciate your being here in our time of need. :D

Donna
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