Archive for the ‘Internet Safety’ Category

New Computer Rules for ALL

We have always had pretty media lite kids, except for Harry, who we made exceptions for on the computer, because he was doing “useful things” and “learning”  Such as making movies, learning to program, etc.

  1. But now all the boys are Media Free Sunday Night – Friday Afternoon.  No TV, iTouch (except to listen to music as a family via speaker in kitchen)  or Computer (except to use the computer for school work)  The boys do have “boring” MP3 players to listen to music as desired.
  2. When they want to use the internet they must be on the Mac in the kitchen.
  3. They can use the other computers in the office to play games, write papers, edit movies, etc, but NO internet.
  4. We also had a Family Home Evening to review and sign computer rules.  I love Common Sense Media for advice with this.  Here is a link to a nice sample.
  5. I also love Common Sense’s app to help Kyp understand what appropriate movies/tv shows are for various ages.  When my boys now want to watch a movie, they automatically check this app to see if I will say yes or no.

Harry is computer free, except for typing papers for school.  Which he does in the kitchen.

  • He has actually enjoyed his time off from the computer.
  • He has more time to do other things he wants to do.
  • He has found it liberating.

It makes me almost glad this happened.

Securing the Fort – Internet

Fort Ross blockhouse
Kyp and I are researchers. We got to work researching that very night to find the best way to secure our home.

While Harry had snuck through a loophole, we knew we needed a tighter security to help prevent this from happening again.

Computer Location

I started researching desks to put into our kitchen.  I had heard this advice a thousand times before, but I didn’t really have room or want it there.  But now I saw the wisdom.

We had an open office door policy.  But the door was open when I found him.  So that didn’t really work.

I had to adjust to the idea of a computer in our kitchen.  Buying the right desk was the first step.  Deciding which computer to put there was next.  The Mac won that lucky spot.

Kyp started researching different blocks for the computer.

Global Coverage Via DNS

I admit I don’t really know what DNS is, but Kyp was impressed.  So our first step was OpenDNS.  There is a free version for families.  It helps block things on a global level, including anything going through your wireless, including iPod Touches, etc. That may have helped when Harry bypassed the individual computer solutions.

Individual Computer Coverage

Then we installed Safe Eyes on all the other computers, except our new Mac and I put a password on my Laptop.  For the Mac we went with NetNanny, we heard that worked better with the Mac.

So far I will admit I prefer NetNanny over SafeEyes and when our Safe Eyes expires we may switch all the computers to NetNanny.

iTouch Coverage

It amazes me how many parents give there kids a cell phone or iTouch or something like it and put no safeguards on it.  Our boys have one iTouch that they all share.  It is downstairs on the charger every night and it is played only on the weekend and in public locations.  But when I started researching, I realized we need some sort of protection on the iTouch.

The first few things we did were easy and free

  • Go to Settings
  • Select General
  • Select Restrictions – set up a password
  • We made it so the boys can’t use You Tube or Safari
  • We could set levels for the type of music they can buy, the apps they can buy, etc.

We also installed a Mobicip App which gives us added control.

I did NOT freak out – at least not in front of him

I was proud of myself.  When I caught him on the computer on an inappropriate site, I stayed calm.  I did NOT freak out.  I stayed amazingly calm.

Calm
I said a quick prayer and prayed I would know what to do.

What should I do?

  • I sent him to empty the trash, so I would have time to think.
  • He started apologizing profusely.
  • I listened for a minute and then…
  • I said, “Go take out the trash, we will talk later.”

I then checked the history, to see how long this had been going on.

  • The history had been cleared.
  • Bad news.  He is too darn smart.
  • This meant to me it was not a one time thing.
  • My heart sank and I prayed some more.

I met him outside where we could talk without his brothers hearing.

He explained a friend at school had told him about the site.  He was really sorry.

  • I said that I was sorry.
  • It is normal to be curious about sex.
  • But what he saw is not what sex is about.
  • Sex is about love and this was about lust.

We talked a bit more, but I said we would really talk that night after I had a chance to talk to Dad.

It was a busy night with a school play.  I didn’t really have time for this!

Calling home the troops!

I called Kyp and explained what was going on and that I wanted him home ASAP.  He came home right away and was able to crack the history on the computer.  Ha!  Dad is still smarter than son.  He was able to see that Harry had been on inappropriate sites 3 different times in the last month.  But that was it, nothing before that

I was relieved that we caught it fairly early, that it hadn’t been going on longer, but was still so sad and mad that it had happened.

Talking and deciding together

After the play we got the other boys in bed and had a long talk with Harry.

  • We were up front and explained that dad had found out it was more than one time. I didn’t want to set him up to lie to us.
  • We talked about why pornography is so bad and how it can be addictive.
  • He offered to lose computer privileges for a month.

I must explain that this is a boy who LOVES computers, he has taught himself programming languages, he is a total computer geek.  So I knew he wanted to stop when he offered NO computer for a month.

I felt like we handled it the best possible way.   I was trying to see the silver lining.  We caught it early, this would be a good learning experience.

Our next step was to secure our computers even better than before.

Why I was so surprised.

We thought we had protected our computers. Put safeguards on so that our internet was “safe”

I learned there is no such thing as a “Safe Internet”

We had gotten a new computer and instead of installing our Safe Eyes on there, we used the free program that came with the computer.

But this was not how he accessed it.  He had a very old laptop that with a wireless fob.  This is how he could access the internet.  There was no filter on this old laptop.  So this was his sneaky way in.

The thing is, kids are smart and you need to be smarter then them.  However in this case I was just plain stupid.