Keeping Computers and Children Safe

Nov 23, 2008   //   by Richard   //   IT  //  Comments Off on Keeping Computers and Children Safe

One of the struggles we have as parents is allowing our child to surf the internet while keeping her safe. The internet is absolutely wonderful, it has a wealth of information that we only dreamed of when we were children. It has actually replaced the TV in our house. However, just like TV, not everything on the internet is suitable for all ages. With TV it was a lot easier to monitor as it was situated in the living room. Today, some children have computers in their bedrooms or in rooms where parents cannot view it. Furthermore, a child can turn off the sound on the computer and the parent will not be able to know what the child is doing unless they are watching them.

While watching the child surf is highly recommended for parents of young children, it does not work so well for older children. Having just setup a computer to allow our daughter to surf safely, and to protect the computer from viruses, trojans, and accidental deletion of files, I can advise that it is quite a bit of work, but a small price to pay for the ultimate peace of mind.

While there are numerous options available, I decided to use two free programs from Microsoft:

1. Family Safety

2. [Update – SteadyState is no longer offered by Microsoft.]

Family Safety allows you to set content filters, state the sites that either can or can’t be looked at and monitor the internet activity. Overall, I think it is a very useful program.

Unfortunately, Family Safety is only part of the solution. A user can accidentally delete files or install programs that should not be installed. This is were the Steady State program comes into play. It allows you to lock down the computer so that any changes made are automatically erased upon restart. It is essentially the same system used in schools and libraries. I found that the computer is a bit slower with the software installed, but it provides great comfort knowing that I will not have to spend hours reinstalling programs or removing trojans.

I have provided a very high level review. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask below.

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