Author Topic: Internet and Xbox parental controls - give me advice!  (Read 4646 times)

secondcor521

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Internet and Xbox parental controls - give me advice!
« on: August 17, 2013, 10:16:19 PM »
Hi all,

I want to institute parental controls on my computer and Xbox 360 to protect my kids.

The kids are a 13 year old boy and an 11 year old girl.

The computer is a Dell Inspiron E1505 running Windows XP which connects wirelessly to a Clearwire modem.  We use Chrome as a browser.

The Xbox 360 is connected via an Ethernet cable to the Clearwire modem.  I have an Xbox live account.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for yet, because I don't really know what the options are, and I'm doing this partially at the prodding of my children's mother, so I don't exactly know what would satisfy her concerns.

I think I want:

1.  Easy to set up, configure, and maintain.
2.  Effective against porn, online predators, violence, and bizarre stuff.
3.  Reasonably priced.

Based on my parenting style, I think I'd almost prefer a monitoring type solution that maybe emailed me whenever it thinks something questionable has happened and I could review it.  In general my kids are good kids...but there are probably many parents who thought that and ended up with bad situations happening.

Suggestions?

Micheal

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Re: Internet and Xbox parental controls - give me advice!
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2013, 10:26:29 PM »
An ounce of prevention is ect.

Talk to your kids directly.  At that age unless you are pretty good a tech, there really isn't good parental control software that your kids couldn't bypass if they wanted to.  Talk to them about whats on the internet and teach them best practices for avoiding bad stuff.  Though on the software end you could use your modems filtering capabilities to set up blocking rules, this would affect most devices connecting to the net through your modem, and some modems keep a log of traffic.

Russ

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Re: Internet and Xbox parental controls - give me advice!
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2013, 10:46:08 PM »
Good luck. I was past my parent's passwords and everything within a week when I was your girl's age. They know more than you think.

I agree that actually talking with them is the way to go. You should be able to articulate your beliefs well enough for a kid in the double digits to understand. If not, you might need to reevaluate your views IMO.

Qualifications: no kids, but hopefully still young enough to understand their point of view
« Last Edit: August 17, 2013, 11:30:52 PM by Russ »

sol

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Re: Internet and Xbox parental controls - give me advice!
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2013, 11:14:27 PM »
Other than limiting their physical access to connected devices, you're going to have a hard time.  My suggestions...

1.  As previously suggested, talk to your kids about what is and isn't appropriate.

2.  Make sure all connected devices are in public places and you supervise during use.  Kids should not be left alone with the internet.  This typically means no mobile devices after lights out.  Take them away.

3.  Set up your router to log all traffic (easy to do), then once a month or so do a quick search of the logs for questionable material.  Make sure your kids know you're logging all internet activity, and then follow through by asking them about anything you find in the logs. 

Even with those steps in place, they will have access to other human beings on the internet, some of whom will act inappropriately.  You can't filter for everything, hence steps 1 and 2.

Micheal

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Re: Internet and Xbox parental controls - give me advice!
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2013, 12:53:14 AM »
3.  Set up your router to log all traffic (easy to do), then once a month or so do a quick search of the logs for questionable material.  Make sure your kids know you're logging all internet activity, and then follow through by asking them about anything you find in the logs. 

The bit here that I wanna highlight is that you should let your kids know that you are logging the traffic, and explain why it's a good thing.  Don't just log it then spring it on them if you find something questionable, these days it is the same as when your Mom snooped through your room looking for drugs/porn/dirty laundry.  And logging traffic is simple to set up on any modern router, for more granular control you could set up a PC router/firewall on a spare machine with two NICs between your router and net modem but that is usually overkill for what you want. 

RoloJanuarius

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Re: Internet and Xbox parental controls - give me advice!
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2014, 02:40:50 AM »
I would recommend K9 or PCWebControl http://www.pcwebcontrol.com/, for PC.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 03:44:40 AM by RoloJanuarius »

marty998

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Re: Internet and Xbox parental controls - give me advice!
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2014, 06:35:39 AM »
You're on a hiding to nothing mate.

Our Government tried to introduce an internet filter in schools a couple of years ago. Within days kids were posting youtube videos on how to bypass it.

Keep your computer in plain sight - living room, never in the bedroom. Talk to them about actions and consequences - malware & spyware that is the (un)happy ending from visiting porn sites, cyber bullying, sexting, etc hopefully you don't get a lot of eye rolling in response.

Better still get them out of the house away from screens, wishful thinking I know, but doesn't hurt to try.

You probably don't need to be told, bad things exist in the world, can't protect them from everything but you can give them enough education to deal with the bad things they come across.

rusty

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Re: Internet and Xbox parental controls - give me advice!
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2014, 07:58:51 AM »
Xbox has a family timer setting.  You can youtube/google it to see details.  We have ours set to 1.5 hours per day for both kids total.

I know Windows 7 has a timer as well under parental controls on the admin.  I have set up mutlitple accounts for my kids and this summer will be limiting their time on it via the timer. 

Side note:  I have heard of others who change the password on their router daily.  If the kids do their chores, they get the password for today.  not sure if I want that much work on resetting passwords daily...

nereo

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Re: Internet and Xbox parental controls - give me advice!
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2014, 08:29:49 AM »
Quote
The computer is a Dell Inspiron E1505 running Windows XP which connects wirelessly to a Clearwire modem.  We use Chrome as a browser.

kind of an aside, but I thought I'd chime in and say that running Windows XP is leaving you vulnerable.  Microsoft stopped supporting XP in April, meaning they aren't putting out software updates and security patches.   Consequentially, your machine is increasingly vulnerable to malware, viruses, etc.

Besides that, I agree with the other posters - set limits, control the passwords, use software (knowing that kids can find workarounds) and keep your computer in plain site.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows/help/what-does-end-of-support-mean

Daley

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Re: Internet and Xbox parental controls - give me advice!
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2014, 09:12:11 AM »
First and completely unrelated to the original question, you need to do something about that Windows XP situation. Given it's gone end of life and is no longer receiving security updates, you're more likely to encounter some form of malware that might assault their virginal eyes than otherwise. Either update the machine to Windows 7/8 or install something like Ubuntu Linux on it (stick with the LTS releases - current LTS is 14.04). You shouldn't need to do anything more than add some RAM to the machine to get either operating system to run well - aim for around 2GB at least, and that's assuming you haven't done that already. You also should not permit them administrator level access to the machine. This means using strong, secure passwords that they cannot guess for the accounts that do have admin-level access.

Second, your kids are already approaching the age that you should be taking the filters off, not putting them on. The prevention era has already near completely passed (should have been between 7-12, not 12-16). When they hit the teenage level, you should be extending a bit more trust instead of taking it away. The problem is, if they're determined enough to hunt it down and access it, they will. The better course at this point is to do accountability, not filtering. Don't permit any unsupervised computer time for the younger girl, and place some of that supervising authority with your older boy (but keep an eye on him as well - though a slightly longer leash). These are the years that children become adults, foster that growth by extending heavier responsibilities, but keep an appropriate punishment system in place for when they fall out of line. Do allow a little less supervision for the boy, but still don't permit access after lights out. Do network logging (and most everything else) as Sol suggested, and let them know you'll be doing so as well. These are the formative years where adult habits are created and anchored, treat them as such.

Third, talk to them like adults, but explain to them the risks and dangers of others who desire to exploit them. Talk to them about the risks of oversharing, the value of privacy, the lack of privacy that exists online, how social media is not real socialization, and how any "privacy" settings are anything but private. It truly is a case of, "If you do not want people to know what you get up to online, you simply should not do it." When it comes to technology-based communication and activity, mankind has reached a similar level of omnipresent awareness to G-d - only it's flawed and imperfect which makes it dangerous, and we're too stupid and unforgiving to handle that level of knowledge about others responsibly anyway, so people get burned for it all the time. Utilize the log harvesting that you yourself will use to monitor their activities as an object lesson to this point. "If Mom and Dad can do it, pretty much anybody can if they're determined enough." Just try to stay away from hyperbole and fearmongering. Lay it out rationally and calmly. G-d knows everything you do, and most everyone else knows more than they probably should as well. Act accordingly.

The birds and the bees discussion these days needs to unfortunately be a bit more graphic and extend well beyond just sex, too... and it needs to be more of an ongoing dialog than a single sit-down these days. Pornography and the habits that go along with it probably need to be discussed as well. Explain how pornography can change and damage attitudes towards the opposite sex, the issues of objectification (nice little springboard into idolatry could be made off that) and the unrealistic expectations that it creates. Discuss the abusive nature of the industry and how it chews up and spits out the people that participate in it. The diseases, the degradation, the money, the fact that it's fake and nothing more than acting. The backgrounds of some of these people and how they got to where they're doing what they're doing. How tangled up drug use and alcoholism is within the industry due to the need to self-medicate to do a lot of the more degrading work... it's not all Playboy soft-focus stuff, after all. A great resource for learning to help manage a lot of this sort of thing is XXX Church.

Finally, if you want to help drive home accountability, look into X3Watch. Don't be one of your children's accountability partners. Ask them who in the family (that you trust as well) they might want as an accountability partner instead. I have done so for a couple nephews at this point, and it worked reasonably well. Pornography can be addictive, and given some of the chemicals that are released in the brain during this sort of stimulation, it's understandable. If a problem begins to surface (or already has), recognize that it's a problem and treat the issue with the gravity and respect it deserves. Punishment isn't going to be the answer: recovery is.

Edit: Crap, I just realized this was a necropost. I'm still leaving it for the benefit of others. *shakes fist at Rolo*
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 09:24:39 AM by I.P. Daley »

totoro

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Re: Internet and Xbox parental controls - give me advice!
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2014, 09:32:47 AM »
I don't have the answers, but we keep the family computer in the living room and the rule is no use until after dinner/homework.  That means no daytime use on weekends or holidays either.