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  • #2177623

    Ethics of watching children’s computer screens


    by bsb_lib ·

    Several friends of mine have young children with computers connected to the internet. These parents are typical in that they know how to use their computers basically, but not much beyond that.

    My question is: when is it appropriate, or is it ever, to tell parents that software exists that would allow them to observe what their children do on their computer? If I should tell them about it, is it okay to install it and show them how to use it? I realize that I’m basically talking about spying here, but what if the kids were told why their parents were concerned, and that it was only to keep them as safe as possible from predators?

    Sitting down with a child and going online into chat etc and discussing what happens after that would be the best approach, or at least a part of the approach, but let’s face it, most kids do what they want after their parents are gone.

    If you feel that installing and using such software is ok, then when does it stop? Do parents have the right to do this until their children are 17? 18? 21? Out of the house?

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    • #3273374

      Right, Wrong?

      by azul ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Those are adjectives…

      I am a parent of 3 children, 2 are girls. When the first was born I joked that she would never go any where or do anything with out me untill she was 32.

      As time has passed and I have had more kids, it is less of a joke.

      There is a very real, clear and present danger for any one on the internet, especially for kids. No parent worth one poopy diaper would let their kids play in a place known to be dangerous. The internet is a dangerous place.

      I don’t really care what others think or say, I don’t care if my kids hate me for it, as long as I have any responsibility for them, I will be actively involved in everything they do. I will exert as much control as neccessary in any way neccessary to ensure that they are safe.

      Currently my oldest is 5, my middle child is 3. Both are familiar with their computer and the internet. When they use their computer I am right there with them the whole time. The PC only has access to the internet when I turn it on. I talk to them about what we are doing, what the dangers are and how to deal with them.

      My wife and I do our best to keep them aware and informed as is appropriate for their age. Kids are often smarter than they are given credit for, they are better informed than they let on to.

      I think that if the parents are your friends, you owe it to them to tell them about monitoring software AND the dangers. They can then decide for themselves and make an informed decision.

      Mainstream society seems to work against parents, any and every parent needs all the help they can get keeping children safe.

      As I said, I am a parent. I hope that helps and answers your question.

      • #3273200

        Letting them know is the right approach

        by deadly ernest ·

        In reply to Right, Wrong?

        as is being physically present. I think unknown remote monitoring is wrong as it leads to a total break down of trust. Doing as you are by talking with them and then being there to show them is the best approach.

        • #3273188


          by amcol ·

          In reply to Letting them know is the right approach

          Your approach sets up parents to fail.

          It would be wonderful if we could all spend oh so much time watching our kids do everything, but we can’t. Saying that the only way to effectively provide supervision when children are online is to look over their shoulders can’t possibly work…no one has that kind of time.

          And if you’re saying that parents should sit down with their kids and educate them on the dangers of the Internet, then allow them to go about their surfing with occasional supervision secure in the knowledge that the kids can now protect themselves, you’re kidding yourself.

          Watching over our children to make sure they don’t fall down too hard isn’t an abrogation of trust. It is, in fact, quite the opposite…when a child knows Mom and Dad are there, watching over them, they have a higher level of trust in Mom’s and Dad’s ability to be a good parent. As kids grow older and enter the teen years they naturally rebel against that constant supervision, and wise parents know how to rachet it down without swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction.

          I’m not talking about nosing around their rooms and reading their diaries when they’re off wherever. For the same reasons you as a parent monitor who your child’s friends are, what parties they go to, what they’re doing when the hang out at the mall, and all the other things you want to know about, you also need to monitor their use of the Internet. That doesn’t mean logging their keystrokes or reviewing logs, but it does mean observing what websites they visit (especially chat rooms) and what they do when they get there.

          Have you ever visited some of the websites the teens like to go to, like Xanga? It’s disturbing how much personal information they reveal about themselves, and how much they’re setting themselves up for trouble. You can’t help them avoid that with a friendly pat on the shoulder and a pep talk about responsible Internet usage, then go away “secure” in the knowledge that your child will do exactly as you say.

        • #3273884

          Read the post I responded to.

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to Nonsense

          All age groups full and frank discussion – note discussion not lecture – is extremely useful re dangers and the like. For young children restricted access times with direct supervision for the most of the contacts, and all of the early usage is best. Net nanny programs may be useful but I have not yet heard of any that work well, some schools here have stoppd recommending them as too often they block access to websites recommended for homewok and studies.

          With older children like teens you have to accept that you cannot control or monitor all their activities. If you have established a good level of trust and good training then you can trust them to be unmonitored; you cannot monitor what usgae they make of the Internet when out of the home; schools, friends’ places, libraries, Internet cafes all provide them with access outside of your control and monitoring range.

          If you feel that you have to use monitoring programs then tell them about them and the fact that you are – losing their trust is going to be much worse when the fidn out, and they will find out and then not talk to you at all.

          NB My teenage son and I have had several discussion about some websites that peers have referred him to, he speaks to me and discusses what he finds because he trusts me to be open and frank about the content and not abusive or controlling. What is interesting is how often he reports back to his peers that those sites are shit and not worth visiting.

          I do not expect him to do everthing I say but I do expect him to make informed and intelligent decisions based on what I have taught him.

        • #3090458


          by papawhiskey ·

          In reply to Read the post I responded to.

          A friend of mine was asked by a neighbor who is a single mom to fix a computer that was virtually unusable due to spyware. Apparently her boys had been visiting pornographic website’s that just by visiting those site’s, had installed spyware on the computer. He reformatted the HD and reinstalled the OS. She also asked what was the best way to monitor her boys activity on the internet. Knowing that her kids were computer savvy, he suggested a keylogger that was virtually indetectable. She agreed and he installed it. When she got the computer back, she told her boys never to go to any pornographic website’s.

          Sure enough, it wasn’t long that she detected that they had gone to pornographic website’s again.

          If a child, or teenager want’s to do something bad enough, he/she will do whatever it takes to deceive a parent.

          Building trust with your child is essential, but let me quote a line used by the late President Ronald Reagan, citing an old Russian proverb, told Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev that the foundation for the new US-Soviet relationship surrounding arms control would be:

          “Doveryay, no proveryay”: Trust, but verify.

        • #3085206

          Middle ground and honesty

          by librarygeek ·

          In reply to Deception

          Rereading the quote, the mom in this example failed to inform her kids that she will be monitoring the computer. I agree that many kids will seem to listen but will go against the teaching/requests/instructions down the line. However, if the kids *knew* that mom would find out…it is less likely!

          They may have been savvy — however, I’m sure the mom could have been shown a way to check to be sure the key logger was still uncompromised.

          >>>Knowing that her kids were computer savvy, he suggested a keylogger that was virtually indetectable. She agreed and he installed it. When she got the computer back, she told her boys never to go to any pornographic website’s.<<< It seems that too many posters are swinging between talk and trust or monitor secretely. Monitor, by all means, but be honest about it. There *are* problems with monitoring software . Many programs do not give easy access to the black lists — thus you are trusting strangers to determine what is and is not ok for your children. Some programs block websites based upon percentages of color (perceived as likely to be skin tone). However — again — they are not perfect and have been shown to be blocking legitimate sites.

        • #3090215

          It’s Great You have a Kid that talks – but not all do!

          by mholdcraft ·

          In reply to Read the post I responded to.

          Every kid is different. You have built up a rapport and hopefully that will continue. Not all Parents are in your position. If you are not sure you can trust you son or daughter to follow rules to protect themselves, then monitor them. I have two children, one was like you and your son, the other was just the opposite. If you discussed areas that he should avoid, he would be there that same day. His personality was just the type that was going to challenge any limitations on his freedom – even from the age of 4 he always pressed the envelope to see how much he could get away with. Candy and soft drinks were his first abuse items, then as he aged it became adult magazines, alcohol, the experimenting with drugs. I constantly received emails inviting me to this porn site or that one. I could not understand how my address got on their lists. By accident I discovered he was going to these sites (many are free)and signing up. I finally had to stop him from using my computer totally. I could not control what he watch at other locations, but I could at my home. He didn’t agree with me or his mom. Thank God at age 22, married and with his own child coming, he finally matured enough to see and understand what we were doing. So I say secretly monitor until you have some confidence that you can trust their judgement.

        • #3089314

          The key about monitoring and trust

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to It’s Great You have a Kid that talks – but not all do!

          just because you have the ABILITY to monitor everything they do, doesn’t mean you have to go over everything with a fine tooth comb.

          Load the software, and if something comes up, you can see what is there. Much better than just sitting around wondering.

        • #3086302

          expect what ever you want…

          by inertman9 ·

          In reply to Read the post I responded to.

          my older sister has a daughter she holds frank and honest discusions with. she believes her daughter trusts her and is completely honest with her. the truth is her daughter lies and manipulates her through this trust. you can expect whatever you want, but you’ll still get whatever they give you, and if you expect them to make intelligent, informed decisions, you have to start by being intelligent and informed. and if you think they will not lie to you and don’t expect it sooner or later, then you are neither inteligent or informed. as a parent, what your child does is your responsibility. even if all you do is tell them you’re installing a net monitor if they give you reason to, it will make them think about the sites they visit.

        • #3272976

          Problem of Parenting

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to Nonsense

          Amcol, nice to see you out here again.

          I got a late start in having kids. Hence, I’ve found too many parents who grew up latch-key with the TV as a babysitter. These same parents see no problem with letting the internet be the babysitter, while they work late, go out to eat, or otherwise ignore their offspring.

          (Yes, I said “work late”. If you have a child at home, under the age of 14 or, “I’m sorry, I can’t work late tonight.” is the correct answer.)

          (But I digress.)

          Yes, it is dangerous out there. Kids run away or get kidnapped, and wind up missing or dead.

          Sometimes I think the law of unintended consequences takes over, tho without the hours to research per-capita teen kidnapping and death rates in a few countries outside the US, I think I’ll have to leave that question out there for discussion.

        • #3272970

          Nice to be seen

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Problem of Parenting

          Literally. I’ve been out of the country a lot, and buried under a mountain of work while in town.

          Your reference to unintended consequences is perhaps being too kind. The consequences are indeed unintended but at the same time are entirely avoidable, assuming parents take their responsibilities seriously. My kids grew up safe, because my wife and I created a safe environment for them, just as your daughter grew up safe for the same reason. That takes eternal vigilance, an abiblity to say “no”, a willingness to make unpopular decisions, and an understanding that the key goal of parenting is not to be your kid’s pal. All of those things are consistent with monitoring Internet usage, whatever and however it takes.

        • #3272894

          willingness to say “no” is lacking

          by tink! ·

          In reply to Nice to be seen

          All too often we are seeing that parents today have a complete inability to say “no” to their kids. This begins when they are toddlers and progresses all throughout their growing years.

          If you don’t start saying no when they’re little, it’s very hard to begin when they blossom into pre-teens and further.

          Parents today need to grow-up and accept their responsibility which means handling the difficult task of saying “no” to their children (tantrums included). Children will not develop the necessary boundaries if they are given everything. This principle covers all areas in parenting a child.

        • #3089298

          Other countries and unintended consequences

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to Nice to be seen

          (Disclaimer: I had my chance to get a degree in sociology once, and decided on IT instead – silly me!)

          I wish I could land the funding to compare other countries … let’s say Denmark, The Netherlands, The Czech Republic, Cambodia, and Singapore for starters … to the U.S. as far as crimes that could be prevented by, oh let’s say, a little education and parental involvement?

          (I’m still convinced schools and parents need to be on the same page, or it just gives rise to other conflicts … but that’s me.)

        • #3084559

          I totally agree

          by rlwmis ·

          In reply to Nice to be seen

          Too many parents today are so worried about being their kid’s friends that they are actually doing them a disservice as parents. Our jobs as parents is to protect and discipline (which basically means to teach; root word disciple, not beat), if we do that, not only will I children be our friends, they will more importantly love and respect us. I have a son and as long as he lives in my house he follows my rules. One of the guys is worried about his kid not talking to him because he’s mad, that just proves that there is no respect in that relationship. I agree with amcol do whatever it takes to protect your kids.

        • #3087639

          I disagree…

          by keyguy13 ·

          In reply to Nonsense

          Amcol says “It is, in fact, quite the opposite…when a child knows Mom and Dad are there, watching over them, they have a higher level of trust in Mom’s and Dad’s ability to be a good parent.”

          Since when has supervision ever inspired trust? That’s just ridiculous, Amcol. I’m sorry but when has someone looking over your shoulder ever given you a warm fuzzy feeling of trust. I submit that has never been the case. But maybe I’m wrong. I can concede that.

          Personally, I think it is MORE than possible to sit down with your kids and explain the dangers, how to avoid them and what to do. Kids ARE smarter than you think. If you give them the freedom and credit to actually think for themselves, you’ll find they more often than not exhibit remarkable common sense. At least that has been the case with my daughter. I’ve seen other parents try the spying routine and all it does is cause resentment and rebellion, no matter what age. Not only that but it tells your kids in no uncertain terms that you don’t believe they can be trusted to do the right or smart thing. Spying is just a bad idea in general and can backfire badly.

        • #3087621

          I’m not sure that you do

          by dr. tarr ·

          In reply to I disagree…

          Although that work spying keeps getting bandied about, it really isn’t what has been suggested in any of the posts to this thread. Spying is surreptitious, and isn’t what was intended. Im my supervisory relationships at work I make sure that my subordinates are aware that I review their work, yet that all know that I trust them to competently discharge their duties. My job includes knowing what is done, and ensuring that it is done correctly, as much if not more to protect my workers from undeserved critism than to catch them at something wrong.

          The same follows for the children. My son knows I monitor the network access logs. He trusts that, if I find things that should not be there, be they porn, illegal downloads, or what ever, I will act. He trusts me discuss things with him when I find them, and he trusts me to make a rational decision based on the facts, and he trust that my actions will be fair, and consistent with what he has been taught is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Note that I never said that he enjoyed any of this, or that it made him like me more, or that it doesn’y occasionally really anger him. I sadi that he could trust me to do what I said I would.

          If he chooses to believe that this means I do not trust him in return, he is at mistaken. I do trust him. I trust him to be a fourteen year old boy in a world that is frequently insane. I expect him to push against the boundaries I have established to see if I really believe in them, or if I will cave in. I trust that the vast majority of his decisions will be sound ones, and that his judgement and instincts are sound. I trust him to make mistakes, and to occasionally need some help in rectifying them. Too many children have been taught that if we trust them we will let go forth into the world without watching over them. I, for one, have always felt a little better knowing that when I have had to venture into the jungle there was someone else out there watching. When that someone actually has the power to intervene it’s even better.

        • #3087595

          Maybe we’re talking about two different things

          by keyguy13 ·

          In reply to I’m not sure that you do

          One of the definitions in the dictionary of trust is: Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.

          Another is: Reliance on something in the future; hope.

          Either way, when I say I trust my daughter, I mean that I believe she will be smart, prudent and cautious when she is on the internet. I know this because I spend a lot of time with her. We discuss the things she sees and does online openly, no matter what it is. She has come to me with some of the most uncomfortable topics I can imagine and I have had to dig deep down for the courage to explain some of the things she asks. But she trusts that I will always give her straight answers.

          That’s what I consider a healthy trusting relationship. I realize it’s extraordinary. Not many people can claim the same thing. And I am not implying that parents who relate to their kids differently are wrong either. What I am saying is what works for me.

        • #3090422

          Hmmm, not really

          by maldain ·

          In reply to Maybe we’re talking about two different things

          My example comes from my own childhood. It was my sister and myself. My parents believed that I needed to be watched closely or I would get in trouble. They believed that my sister would come to them with the most uncomfortable questions and they could discuss things with my sister openly and frankly. The odd thing was that by the time my sister was 16 she was in jail for GTA and had a problem with seconal (reds). The difference between my sister and myself is my sister learned very early on to tell my parents what they wanted to hear and I just told them what I thought without filtering it. With my own kids, I watch them like a hawk, I monitor their activities and try to remember I’m not their friend I’m their dad and act that way. The world is dangerous and the best any of us can do for our kids is to teach them how to navigate it whether it’s the internet or the LA freeway system. I’d rather they suffer a little grief from me not allowing them to do certain things than spend time at hospitals or police stations because of my kids or worse the morgue.

        • #3087586

          What you don’t know, may hurt HER

          by tory ·

          In reply to I disagree…

          It is very nice to believe that because you have discussed something with your daughter, she’s following it to a T. In fact, that may be the case with the very RARE child. I’m a high school teacher and I have the ear and lend an ear to my kids. In my 13 years as a teacher I’ve talked to parents who will stand with their right hand on a stack of Bibles and swear up and down that their child would NEVER do ______ and they WHOLEHEARTEDLY believe it. Yet the child will tell me (and provide proof) that they are engaged in dangerous activities right under their parents’ noses.

          Is it important to talk to a child about the dangers? Yes, of course it is. Is it immportant to talk to them over and over again. You betcha. Is it important to WATCH THEM…it is even MORE important to watch them to ensure that your message is sinking in than it is to send the message.

          Kids are kids. They are smart, funny, exasperating, and intelligent but they simply do not have the scope that adults have. “It won’t happen to me” is practically a mantra in a teenager’s mind. After all, “I know him really well…I met him online and he’s really really nice, and we’ve known each for MONTHS” to them is reasonable enough of an argument to meet him in a coffee shop at 11 p.m. “My parents wouldn’t understand” is reasonable enough an argument to not tell the parents…that is in the mind of a child.

          Your daughter is, I’m sure, a very together young lady but never ever let it leave your mind that she is a CHILD. God made parents to guide and protect their children. That means talking to them, providing a safe secure environment, setting FIRM boundaries, watching over their shoulders, monitoring them when they are in areas where their experience will not allow them to make the most informed decisions, etc.

          If you’re not willing to do that, or if you are so naive as to think that just because you have talked to a child about something that it’s a done deal, then you are not fulfilling your duties as a parent. Period. Doesn’t mean you don’t mean well, nor that you’re “bad”, or that you don’t love the child. It just means that you’re not doing what you can do, and monitoring her actions when she is in a new/dangerous situation is an absolute MUST, to keep her as safe as you can.

          Watching a child is providing a safety net. My parents were EXTREMELY strict and guess what…I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I tried drugs, drank, got in the car with a stranger, etc. that I would be killed…ressurected, and killed again. That was a MAJOR safety net for me! When a peer approached me with “Hey, do ya wanna…” I would say with surety that if I did my mother would kill me. I resented it at times, but when the chips were down I was glad that I could use mom as a scapegoat.

          By all means, give kids some freedom, but mete it out carefully and in measured doses. Would you drop your child off in downtown Manhatten and say “See you in a few days…have fun!” Of COURSE not! Yet the Internet is very much like that. There are some wonderful, educational, and entertaining possibilities. However there are also a lot of dangers. Use common sense and don’t expect that a child with a mere 16 or 17 years of experience to be able to make the same kinds of decisions that an adult with 30+ years of experience can.

        • #3087579

          Trust Kids?

          by slog ·

          In reply to I disagree…

          As a parent of three children and someone who runs a Sunday School bus route I am shocked to find out that we can just trust our kids to do the right or smart thing. All this time I thought doing the right or smart thing required experience and that we as parents had to train them (not tell them) how to do the right thing. Funny when I was a kid I knew stealing was wrong but I did it a few times until I got caught and punished by my parents. I also snuck out real late at night with my friends until I got caught and punished – I knew it was wrong and that my mother thought it was dangerous but I did it anyway. I did some really stupid things growing up as a kid and it is only God’s grace that I am not dead. While I was doing these things I was surrounded by a whole slew of other kids many of whom were straight A students. Unintending adults get trapped by the lure of pornography on the internet and you think kids can avoid it if you just tell them, “don’t go there?”. You may have a very compliant responsible daughter but she may have you looking at kids with Rose colored glasses on. Most kids are not compliant and responsible. Most kids want to do exactly what you tell them they aren’t supposed to do. Everyday people do things they KNOW are wrong but they do it anyway. Children are particularly susceptible to doing what they KNOW is wrong. It is our job as parents to train them and protect them. Give them the ability to make some bad decisions if the consequences are not too great but when the consquences are great such as getting addicted to pornography or being raped and murdered by some internet weirdo you protect them from it by hook or by crook until they are mature enough to really understand the consequences.

        • #3089280

          Reply To: Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

          by amcol ·

          In reply to I disagree…

          I’ll save you the trouble of my usual long-windedness in replying because Tory and Slog have both said it far better than I ever could.

          It is precisely because kids are smarter than you think that you MUST monitor their use of the Internet. No matter how cogent and wonderful your explanations to your children, by not monitoring them you’re relying on their ability to process your explanations on a rational adult level. They’re kids…they can’t do that. I can cite you medical chapter and verse on this if you like.

          A parent’s job is to draw a box around their children. That’s called setting boundaries. The child’s job is to push against those boundaries…that’s called growing up. A smart parent allows the child to push and keeps moving the boundaries back until they’re no longer needed. A responsible parent knows which parts of the box have to remain stronger and longer than others, and Internet usage is one area that highly qualifies.

        • #3087634

          My wife stays home and I work

          by x-marcap ·

          In reply to Nonsense

          She has a better temperment and homeschools our children. The homeschooling environment has been described as Stalag Sanko by my niece, who after fostering with us, went back to her druggie lifestyle. 4 kids at age 21, and on welfare, Jen’s mother wishes she were as observant as her sister and I are.

          I am very aware of my kids internet usage. I use a firewall on a linux box and sieve all the crap out… My wife needed a XXXL blouse for her friend, and had to go to the library to buy it online… We run a tough house here.

          My daughter 21 & son 20 are in the dental field and my son is going to be a Chiropractor and a Gunsmith. My sons 9 and 6 are taking Karate, tapdance, piano, drums, chess as well as an acedemic load… My wife could have made more money than I could, but she is tougher on the kids than I am. She is Germanic extraction. Sieg Heil!

          The point is that kids need loving discipline, and tender care. I am more stoic, she is a living flame… Together we raise our brood… Would I stoop to read a diary, Yep. Found out who my neices drug connection was in Virginia, and helped him get off drugs. He has stayed off drugs. (God Bless the USMC)

          There is no need to be unobtrusive. If a kid puts something in a diary, they expect to be caught or think you are stupid.

          I review all history lists, logs, etc. I will tell my kids why I don’t want them looking at stuff they shouldn’t. Why get excited, when all the women who look that good know it and have the worship me attitude…

        • #3087554

          They must learn

          by pete1978 ·

          In reply to Letting them know is the right approach

          AFter telling them about the monitoring, and telling them about the good, bad and ugly of the internet, there is another step. At some point, you need to let the reigns go a little. Let the surf when you are not there (remember that you have the monitoring software YOU TOLD THEM ABOUT still running, so you can review what they did). The important part is that you need to let them learn what to do and what to NOT do. They haven’t learned that if they only apply it when you are present.

        • #3090223

          Talking won’t always get the job done

          by mholdcraft ·

          In reply to Letting them know is the right approach

          You should talk to your children about the dangers on the internet and how you expect then to use the computer(what type of sites to avoid), but I don’t believe you should necessarily let them know you monitor their internet use. You can’t be there all the time, and kids are curious. If something is forbidden, they will look when you are not looking. So my advice is monitor them, without their knowledge for a while. If you don’t see any misuse after a while then you can drop the monitoring or use it only occasionally just to check. Some kids will always folow the rules, others will immediately go where they are told not too. Until you know which type you are dealing with – keep the monitoring a secret. Trust works both ways and is built over time, not up front. Checking up on them makes good sense until you have some level of confidence they can be trusted not to access areas you specifically dispprove.

      • #3273113

        The only thing Dangerous about the net is ignorance

        by im_pro_rfid ·

        In reply to Right, Wrong?

        I am a parent of 4 children ages 4 thru 20and I have found in the 10 plus years that I have been online, that the only truly dangerous thing about the internet is ignorance. As long as you remain honest friends with your children, and do not alienate them, they will never do things just to spite you, nor hide things from you. I taught my children that a parent is the ultimate data base utility, and they tend to come us when they have doubts or their logic system fails. Software will NEVER take the place of good parenting.
        Of course a rfid chip might!

        • #3088642

          I’ve got 5 kids myself

          by jessie ·

          In reply to The only thing Dangerous about the net is ignorance

          and as far as I’m concerned, they can have privacy in the bathroom, anywhere else privacy is earned. When I know, through their actions, that they are capable of conducting themselves in a safe and thoughtful manner, they are allowed a bit more privacy/responsibility/trust… in graduating levels. The more they show me they’re capable, the more leeway they are given. I’m not going to give my 16 year old the keys to the car without ever having seen him handle the car, and I’m certainly not going to leave him alone with the internet until I’ve seen how he handles my computer.

      • #3089539

        May work now, but wait until they turn 13

        by abel46 ·

        In reply to Right, Wrong?

        This may work for now when they are five, but just wait to they turn 13 or so. Then you will have a full time job, doing this.

        • #3087716

          Not if you use the word teens hate most.

          by faradhi ·

          In reply to May work now, but wait until they turn 13

          and follow it with, you can’t right now, I have something to do.

          It won’t kill them. If your are saying No because your watching American Idol or something then there is something wrong there as well.

          Raising a child is a full time job.

        • #3084707

          until they turn 13?

          by heml0ck ·

          In reply to May work now, but wait until they turn 13

          Parenting IS a fulltime, lifelong job!
          You can never relax your vigil, because it only takes one moment of stupitiy to alter a life forever. This I know from experience.

      • #3089536


        by ou jipi je ·

        In reply to Right, Wrong?

        I disagree with “spying approach”. Most of the parents today “do not have the time” due to their busy careers to educate their children properly. Thus, media like TV and Internet are pretty much what children have in terms of life education. By spying and restricting, parents think that they will prevent “these nasty things” that occure every day on the internet…

        imho, if you need to spy on your children then you got a serious problem on your hands, instead, spend some more time with them to teach them about values, respect, explain right and wrong and reasons behind it. It is called education. Every minute you spend adding your input into this forum (especially on this subject) could be spend better if you choose to educate your children instead.

        • #3090532

          My kids know they will be audited

          by gitmo ·

          In reply to Parent

          I conduct regular audits of my kids’ computer time. This is a time to note sites they visit that I would like to encourage as well as spotting inappropriate internet behavior.

          Sometimes they are present, and we discuss what we see. But they know I can trace their activities.

          I believe a parent must take a page from President Reagan, “Trust but verify”. I know a lady who accidently discovered that her trusted teenage daughter had been sending letters to S&M sites about becoming an ‘actress’. She hadn’t a clue there were issues going on until she found a printed email.

          I also get up at night, check the locks on the doors, peek in on my kiddos, and I periodically test my fire alarms and my security systems. It’s called responsibility.

        • #3090460

          Yes Trust and be able to verify that trust

          by ·

          In reply to My kids know they will be audited

          I kept logs of all internet activity when my children were living at home (both now over 21 and left home).
          Everyone knew that logs were kept, and where they were, they could read them but not delete them.
          They accepted that It was not spying or breach of trust but the same as telling me where they are going and what time to expect them home.
          In fact the most useful aspect of this was the ability to enable them to revisit sites they had stumbled upon and found interesting but couldn’t remember the URLs

      • #3087764

        Re: Right, Wrong?

        by caryxander ·

        In reply to Right, Wrong?

        That’s an excellent response. I agree that mainstream society seems to work against parents, but we parents who take that responsibility seriously should feel compelled to do whatever it takes to safeguard theire children. I think the issue may boil down to motive. Is the ‘spying’ done out of love, or is it a curiosity/control motive?

      • #3087567

        I “cyber monitor” their every move and it’s a good thing!

        by luke4k ·

        In reply to Right, Wrong?

        If you just glance at this, here are some basics on my feelings. This is long but sharing what I’ve learned may help someone out there… Kids are smarter and getting smarter every day.

        First and foremost ITS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to monitor your children. They have no rights to do as they please. You MUST monitor their activities. Don’t assume they are good kids and will behave online. They learn stuff from kids at school.

        Since I’m an I/T professional, Network and PC Expert, etc. My kids are VERY good at it too. They have both helped me for a long time.

        Two kids 15.5 (B) and 12 (G). The boy now in H.School, and he is slick and always trying to out do Dad and get around the monitors. At one point once when caught doing something I asked him if he thought I hadn’t considered that he would try to create a new ID or change the password to one of the adult admin IDS (he WAS admin). He sorta frown because he hadn’t expected there were things he didn’t know. Kids think they know it all. Fact is, I hadn’t really thought he would change the password on and adult account. But, I had auditing turned on all and was watching him from places he had never thought about. He lost admin authority. ALL ADULT id’s are monitored just not blocked. He almost beat me and it would have been a bad loss for HIM not me…. And, I thought I had covered all the angles. Go figure….


        Hormones being what they are, I have shut the boy down 2-3 times for 30-days at a time. The last incident he was out there after being warned that I could see everything, doing cyber with different people.. including posting his cell phone in public and giving it to a 26-year old man from Calif. who offered to come to our house the next morning (drive through the night). SERIOUS!! YOU BET!! He didn’t accept the visit invite but apparently the guy called him. He said he hung up and didn’t talk to him. But, he lost his laptop and all PC Internet access for 45 days and all chat permanently. And when returned to him, the laptop was never again allowed in any room but kitchen and computer room, not Internet access until after 5:30 PM when parents are generally home.

        And this is a REALLY GOOD KID into martial arts (3 year black belt), volunteers his time for rescue animal organization, donates his own money, is great with kids, can teach adults. But way different on the Internet. So DON’T think you know what your children will do on the Internet. Sex and chat are addictive. There are stats that will scare you out there.

        Basics I recommend

        1. Monitor using software that sends you email logs EVERY DAY.
        2. Read the log EVERY DAY if possible (save them and review later if you have to).
        3. Make sure the software monitors CHATS and logs them. WORD FOR WORD. (more below)
        4. Monitor EVERY ID on the computer. Some let you put them in a group that can access anything but still monitor. If the little cyber burglars get around security say and get Mom’s or Dad’s acct password (cause it?s the DOG’s name for heavens sake), your software still clues you in to them being on as someone else (say after school).

        * He wanted admin authority for some installations so he changed the password to a family friend that also has admin but rarely uses his id. He logged onto that id and started chatting with it. He didn’t think it was monitored just because it could chat and was admin. He still couldn’t get into admin panels.

        5. Use the software that prevents them from going on the Internet when you’re not home (say RIGHT) after school.
        6. Put the PC in a public area of the house. We have a study room/computer room (was a playroom when they were little tiks)>
        7. Ensure your software has a separate admin panel and make SURE you use a DIFFERENT password that they will NEVER EVER guess. Remember, next to your spouse, they know more about you and what your password might be than anyone on earth. “Remember that they hear EVERYTHING”

        8. Use software that lets you choose categories to all them to access

        9. Most provide constant updates for blocked sites.

        10. Chat is much more dangerous than most websites.

        11. Make sure their friend’s parents monitor their kids Internet activity too. If not, forbid them to use the computer at friend?s houses. Try to convert the other parents to monitoring parents. And, don’t allow sleep overs if no monitoring. Talk about TROUBLE.. all night on the Internet at a friend’s house just screams for trouble.

        12. TALK to your kids about the dangers of the Internet, show them newspaper articles of real world horror about such topics (pretty easy to find), explain WHY you need to do it. Its not about trust, it?s about safety.

        Oh, and I’m pretty liberal and trusting parent. But, being in the business shows me the dangers and it?s a good thing.

        I prefer CyberSitter because:

        1.Sends email every day.
        2.Admin control ID/Panel access can not be overridden with WinXP Admin authority. The email or call to them must come from YOU AND YOU ALONE to over ride password.
        3. Can not be uninstalled completely without Cybersitter password, WinXP admin authority.

        I have also used CyberPatrol and Content Protect. I reviewed the rest.

        Content protect is nice but you have to go TO the website to check it. People WON”T do it except on rare occasions. Nice about it is that you can reach out and shut them down anywhere on the planet if they are doing something wrong. It will send you “warned” and “blocked” web page visits but still better to get the email for me.

        The email in cybersitter sends the content of the chats. So you can see their “net attitude” as well as what they are doing.

        Being an I/T specialist in networking, security, etc. for a very long time has helped. I don’t honestly know what other parents do if they are not knowledgeable. I advise all my clients that are parents to get to a class, read a book, etc. I have a bunch of a security book from Symantec and I have 3-4 papers on the topic that I give out. Kids are smarter then parents in tech that we EVER were as kids and for most, light years ahead of the average parent.

        So, what to do??? BUY the best monitoring software available. There are constant reviews.

        Stay in the top 5 and then MONOITOR IT. Installing it and not looking at the logs, not putting in a password, letting your kids know the security passwords to the software or WORSE, letting your kids logon to YOUR account are all BIG mistakes.

        Trusting your kids not to lie about stuff is a mistake. They are kids, they may not lie about much but if they can get around your security or go online and lie to you, THEY WILL. And, my kids are great and very well behaved kids.

        Well… dear dad here has taught him well but he can’t possibly know all my tricks (yet anyway) and I have to keep learning new ones.

        • #3090480

          little bit too extremist for me

          by lemeilleurdumonde ·

          In reply to I “cyber monitor” their every move and it’s a good thing!

          Stop monitoring your children if you don’t trust them, go throw your computer in the river. By doing that your children won’t be exposed to that bad Mr Internet.C’mon I am 15 like your son and I’am not sure he likes to be watched all the time even if it is for his “security”. D@mn let him alone don’t spy his life or he will get away.You have like 20 differents monitorings programs it’s a little bit excessive.

          Trust them even if they are smarter then you.

          sorry for this poor English.

        • #3090396

          “For your own good”, lemeilleurdumonde

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to little bit too extremist for me

          is something you should be hearing a lot of.

          At the age of 15, things all seem so clear and these ranting old people are just out of touch.

          It isn’t that we don’t understand you or what you are going through. It is BECAUSE we DO remember what it was like that we are concerned. We know all the times that the cops never told the parents what had happened at XYZ or all the times you just never got caught.

          Again, a reason I am glad I had boys. After thinking about what i have done to other peoples daughters, there is NO WAY on earth no daughter of mine would EVER go out with a guy like me! Just wouldn’t be happening! 😀

          Lem, you WILL see this differently in another ten years. Until then, have fun, be a kid, and respect your parents.

        • #3084700

          glad my parents still don’t know…

          by heml0ck ·

          In reply to “For your own good”, lemeilleurdumonde

          After all these years the kind of trouble I was getting into… I’m not talking kid stuff here!

          Lem, I KNOW what kind of things 15 yr old boys are into… because I was after the same things 20 yrs ago…

          Ever heard the expression “been there, done that?”

        • #3084639

          Oh baby, let me tell you

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to glad my parents still don’t know…

          can you say “jail time”? Good thing I didn’t get caught (often).

          Nothing violent or of a theft nature, just running VERY wild.

          The few things the parents DID know about made them nervious as hell. can’t really imagine if there would have been full disclosure what they would have done. Military school? :O

          sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. (not so much of the drugs though. Takes too much time away from the sex!)

        • #3085869

          you name it….

          by heml0ck ·

          In reply to Oh baby, let me tell you

          we were into it….
          the parents still don’t want to know what we were doing… seeing the resulting behaviour was bad enough!
          That being said, I know what kind of trouble young people can get into.
          The only thing you can do, like has been said often in this thread, is communicate and educate. Even then that is no sinecure. That’s why you have to watch (monitor, spy, call it what you will…)
          It isn’t really about trust, it’s more like ‘age vs. experience.’ I trust that you will try things for youself. I will pay attention and try to raise a warning when you get close to something dangerous.
          If you’ve got communication with your child, this should be all it takes to avoid a potentially dangerous encounter.
          If you don’t, you have a bigger problem.
          To sum up- communication is the key.

        • #3090362

          But you are writing AS a 15 year old…and like it or not, you don’t have..

          by tory ·

          In reply to little bit too extremist for me

          .the perspective of an adult. You may think you do, and your post belies a belief that you are much wiser than this man who has light years more life experience than you do.

          Wait until it is your child.

        • #3090289

          And you don’t have our perspective

          by lemeilleurdumonde ·

          In reply to But you are writing AS a 15 year old…and like it or not, you don’t have..

          First of all, sorry if my post seen to tell that I was wiser than this man.Yes, he probably have more life experience than me but why is he spy,block and restric his computer in place of sharing his life experience with his children.Why hide the reality when it’s sure that someday he will see it (and what a shock he will have).By the way I’m not saying that “Supervision” on the internet is a bad think but too many lead to the rebellion.I have parent, they do not spy all my moves and it’s one of the reasons why I respect and trust them.

        • #3090009

          Hmm… you’re playing a shell game with words…

          by luke4k ·

          In reply to And you don’t have our perspective

          Some people (kids too) are naturally responsible and perhaps would never give out their email, telephone number, etc. or meet a stranger on the web. Now… Lem, perhaps you’ve seen a few of the so many stories of kids who did meet people, get killed, raped, assaulted, etc., and people do get addicted to internet porn, chat, cybersex, etc. IT’S A FACT. READ and you will see it all out there in cyber space! (probably not on “My Space” but you never know ;-). I don’t have the stats in front of me but most porn is view by kids under 20. The stats are impressively BAD – very scary. Most kids get first hard porn experience at 14.

          And, by the way, the trusted psychologist, top in his field, says that my son is getting much to much exposure to such things at much too early an age. It will cause development issues for a natural sexual development. But, he only has three Phds. on the board of AZ Psch board, etc. So, we can discount him too?

          Remember that my son KNEW the program was running. He was trusted with an admin ID. But he went to the sites, did the distrustful and unacceptable. He changed a user password to access where he didn’t belong. So, now you say, I should trust him. He’s not trustworthy. He needs to EARN trust.

          Now, I don’t expect you to have parenting skills at 15. Your perspective is immature, your logic is flawed and simple. It would be like just sending kids off into the night without having them tell you where they were going.

          There are dangers in the world. Parents have to figure out how to protect their kids. I bet my 15 year old has more freedom than you, has been more places, done more things and can relate with adults AS an adult. BUT, he’s still a kid.

          As well, internet porn, chat, sex, etc. are all addictive behaviour. Perhaps we should let all the police officers go since we might just as well TRUST EVERYONE to obey the laws. We can let the judges go, use the court rooms for basketball or something…. If a few die, oh well… they should have know.

          Of course we would NEVER do that. But isn’t that the same logic.

          My son is learning to respect his elders (not just parents). Consider Japanese Karate, no matter what your rank or my rank, I always outrank you until you become an adult,and you will always be required to treat me as such even if I am just a white belt to your black no matter what level…

          Sam Clemens says it best….

          “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years. ”

          By the way, Sam Clemen’s pen name is Mark Twain… just in case you haven’t read it quite yet ;-).

        • #3089887

          I am lucky Luke

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Hmm… you’re playing a shell game with words…

          it seems as far as my 13 year old boys are concerned, [b]I[/b] haven’t hit the stupid stage yet.

        • #3089861

          I’m back

          by lemeilleurdumonde ·

          In reply to Hmm… you’re playing a shell game with words…

          I agree with you, there are Psychos who kills kids , drug who kills kids and sex which does kill if you don’t take a bath often 😀 . But there is not only psycho on Internet
          and there are not only crazy in the streets. Same thing for the drugs, just need to avoid them and judgement can do that.You do not follow your son in all the
          streets of the neighbourhood. You do not spy him when he is at school then why make it when he is on the computer. If you give to your son as much liberty
          it is that in a ways you have trust and you know that he have a good judgement.You say that he had a monitoring program on his computer before he try
          to change the admin pass but why did you put a program if before this incident you trust him.You believe that my perspective is imature but it is simply because it
          is not in your value and in what “simple” is a lack ,why alway makes things complex. But their is a thing where you have reason, I’am not an adult or a parent, I’am not
          in your shoes, you know things that I still don’t know. Learning to respect his eldes is a good value but you dont have to spy him to teach that.

          Finally I find more imature your way of turning my statements in something unreasonable.

        • #3089317

          Um, I have been 17…have you been a parent?

          by tory ·

          In reply to And you don’t have our perspective

          See I do have your perspective. But what I think you’re thinking and what we’re thinking are two different things. Your perspective is “Someday they will see so why not let them see it now?”

          Well there are a few reasons. First of all, you may not even be aware of all the things that are out there. I’m sure I know most of them, but there are probably a few things that would curl my hair even at my ripe “old” age.

          Second of all, there is such a thing as age appropriate. We’re not talking bad slasher movies where the first girl to show her hoo hoos gets axed. We’re talking about some pretty raunchy stuff, and/or dangerous stuff that many young teens just plain do NOT need to be exposed to.

          Then there is the issue of, whether we like it or not, on the Internet there are some “not nice people.” Those not nice people prey on kids your age and YOU may be savvy enough to see right through them, or maybe not. A predator hones his craft. So this “nice guy” that your average low-self-esteem teenage girl meets in a chat room may be one of those “not nice people” and may very well manipulate her into doing something that no one would DREAM she’d ever do. I know adults who had fallen prey to people in chat rooms, so I’m not going to make the mistake with a child of mine that it might happen to him/her.

          I do think you’re right about spying. I don’t think it needs to be spying. I think it needs to be “Hey, here’s the computer. It’s in the office. I can and will check on what you do any time. I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but here’s why I’m doing it. If you want to try to get around it, I’ll lock up the computer and send you back to Amish land!” (Last part was a joke, of course.)

          I use a program to monitor students in my classroom. They know it…therefor it isn’t spying. We actually have some fun with it and it helps them to stay on the straight and narrow and not waste time surfing the net. They know a few ways around it but I know how to get around that (it is an ongoing challenge to them to try to get around me…I may be a thin, blonde, older, and of the female persuasion but I know my stuff when it comes to computers and I’ve yet to find a kid who could get around me).

          It isn’t that I don’t trust them, it is that I know kids and I know that they can get into trouble, sometimes even without trying, and that they don’t always make the wisest decisions. That’s okay…that’s what being a teenager is all about. Thing is, some of the mistakes that can be made on the “net” are deadly. I’d hate to think that for want of proper supervision that a child makes a fatal mistake!

        • #3084677

          lemeilleurdumonde I would homeschool you.

          by x-marcap ·

          In reply to And you don’t have our perspective

          Since you are in rebellion, but a subtle one, I would homeschool you and wake you to reality Stalag Sanko.

          5:00 A.M. Calesthenics
          5:30-6:00 Shower,shave,etc
          6:00 – 2:00 education with a breakfast and lunch
          one of the two meals you will cook…
          2-4:30 personal reading time…
          4:30-6:00 Dinner and dishes…
          6-9 Somewhat free time. Music lessons, special classes,(Math above Integral Calculus,Physics C++, Smalltalk, etc.) No driving privs until you are 18…

          Within the education time and free time are things like Karate class, Trombone/trumpet/piano/guitar/ bass lessons. 1/2 hour practice per instrument.

          I suspect you need better, tougher activities…

      • #3090158

        bravo for you

        by driv101 ·

        In reply to Right, Wrong?

        Its good to see some one takeing their parent hood like it should be go get em…

        • #3089123

          Thanks for the feedback

          by dbucyk ·

          In reply to bravo for you

          You are the parent and you set the rules.

      • #3089116

        One More Time! Monitoring good, Ignorance and Denial, bad!

        by brigand ·

        In reply to Right, Wrong?

        Would you bring a pedophile / sexual predator into your home to have a private chat with your kid?

        Do you have a internet connection and allow our kids to participate in unmonitored chat?

        CONGRATULATIONS! You just brought a pedophile / sexual predator into your home to have a private chat with your kid!

        Oh, buy the way, after you get done with the police report, expect a visit from social services, if you have any kids that survived, you may never see them again ether. Just a thought.

        They are your children, you have a legal responsibility to protect them, PERIOD!

        So, should you monitor your children?

      • #3084726

        it’s a question of responsibility

        by heml0ck ·

        In reply to Right, Wrong?

        Azul said it right;”as long as I have any responsibility for them.”
        Under the law in most countries, while a child is under the age of majority, it is the parents duty and responsiblilty to protect them.
        I find astonishing that this needs to be said. You the parent MUST monitor your children on the internet, because as we all know, it is far too easy to wind up looking at something you weren’t expecting.
        You wouldn’t your children play with power tools without direct supervision, would you?

        • #3084675

          Only after they have worked with them on projects with me…

          by x-marcap ·

          In reply to it’s a question of responsibility

          My daughter and older son I trust with my very life.

          The two young’uns not yet…

    • #3273197

      Not an ethical question

      by amcol ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Nor is it a question of right or wrong, or appropriateness.

      Parents have a responsibility to protect their children. That’s their job. Everyone can’t be equally knowledgeable in all things, so if there’s an area where you have some expertise that would help a parent protect their child there’s no question you should offer assistance.

      You’re not making the parent do something, you’re simply offering information the parent can act upon. It’s then up to the responsible parent to do so.

      Parents not only have the right to monitor their childrens’ Internet usage, they have an obligation to do so on many levels. Children, especially younger children, are incapable of distinguishing many of the dangers that can lurk in the shadowy corners of the Internet. Many adults can’t do it…if they could, phishing scams wouldn’t generate billions of dollars annually.

      If you have information that can help parents protect their children I’d go so far as to say you have a societal, moral obligation to share it. You ask if it’s ethical to do so…I ask you in turn if it’s ethical not to. I can’t imagine any parent who, in response to your providing any special knowledge you have that would assist them in protecting their children, would respond with anything other than “thanks very much”.

      • #3273886


        by master3bs ·

        In reply to Not an ethical question

        Parents have to protect their children. If their children are using the internet, that includes protecting them from the dangers they will face there.

        I don’t think there is any shady area in letting parents know their options.

        • #3088774

          i agree

          by akalinowski ·

          In reply to correct

          but i also believe in letting the child know that they are being monitored, for thier own protection.
          i belive this will prevent trust issues

      • #3087597

        by danno80 ·

        In reply to Not an ethical question


    • #3273834

      Raising a child is not an exercise in democracy

      by faradhi ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Yes it is appropiate to tell parents that there is monitoring software. And Yes the parents should discuss it with the child. It stops when the parent is comfortable that the child is mature enough to handle situations on their own. This will vary from child to child.

      • #3273046


        by bfilmfan ·

        In reply to Raising a child is not an exercise in democracy

        Raising a child is a benevolent dictatorship.

        One part George Patton to one part Dr. Spock. (depending on your patience and imagination, you can pick the one with special ears or not…)

        • #3087624

          Except there is no DR. Spock with special ears..

          by keyguy13 ·

          In reply to AMEN!

          It’s MR. Spock that was a vulcan. 🙂

        • #3090450

          Strectching It

          by bfilmfan ·

          In reply to Except there is no DR. Spock with special ears..

          Okay I was stretching there a bit on making Spock a doctor, but maybe he was and they just never mentioned it?

        • #3084975

          Regarding DR Spock

          by aaron a baker ·

          In reply to AMEN!

          Ah Yes, DR Spock !!
          Thanks to this Jerk, a lot of parents took sick leave back in the 70s and80s. They got sick of thier kids.
          This nonsense of “A child must be allowed to display his/her emotions unfettered really started something.
          Suddenly DR Spock was the King of the hill.
          How many parents copped out on his advice, what have we got for kids today thanks to him and there are still fools out there dumb enough to quote him.
          When He stated that children should be allowed to “express themselves”, he left out the part about how.
          There is a way to display your emotions and express your thoughts. It’s called manners, knowing how to live and it used to be the job of every parent to teach his kid Manners,consideration and above all Respect.
          Then along come DR Spock and parents went on vacation.
          We see the results today in young parents who have no idea how to properly raise children, let them get away with bloody blue murder, and all suffer from the philosophy of “Not MY Child”
          Thanks what that jerk DR Spock has done and the parents who went along are equally to blame.
          So when children begin to show a little more respect,and consideration towards each other and their elders will I consider the parents real. Until then, they are just feeders and don’t give two hoots about their own kids. Here’s your pizza get outta my face.
          That is a great part of the reason that the world has become so dangerous.
          Kids go anywhere but Home, and now it’s the Net, the most attractive and yet the most dangerous place on the globe.
          And what do we get with today’s kids? Attitude, arrogance, in your face antagonism and if you knock them on their ass your the one to blame, I’ll take the blame.
          With all this they still have the temerity to say trust us, like hell. You want respect, consideration, give it first.
          Prove it, them I for one will trust you. I’ve raised six girls and I’m one of the lucky ones, they are respectful,considerate and caring and rest assured, wise to the ways of this world including the Net. They’re also in their mid 30s with their own kids.
          So I wouldn’t scream independence too loudly if I were some, in order to recognized as responsible, you have to act the part first. As for privacy in your parent’s home, you have No right of expectancy.
          Take what you are granted and shut up. You want better, move and get ready for the real world.
          Thank you all, for allowing me to rant.
          Please accept my apologies for the length.
          Aaron 😉

        • #3086816

          Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to Regarding DR Spock

          is proof positive that your can have a theory, an accepted practice .. yea, even a religiion and it can still be (a) made up from whole cloth and (b) be absolutely, utterly wrong.

          My parents (and uncles and aunts) were firm believers in “spare the rod, spoil the child” and trust me: There wasn’t a child-spolier in the whole wooden spoon, hickory switch, leather belt, “board of education”, leather razor strop weilding bunch. Sure, we got out of line, but then our butts hurt for a week thereafter. My dad was particularly fond of whipping us for whatever, then whipping us for crying because crying was “embarassing”.

          And we all turned out ok …

      • #3273044


        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to Raising a child is not an exercise in democracy

        trust is earned, not given.

        • #3087622

          says who?

          by keyguy13 ·

          In reply to exactly

          I give trust all the time and it’s rarely abused.

        • #3089493

          Says me

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to says who?

          So you don’t lock your car, your house, your office, no passwords on your computer, and so on?

          Glad that your trust has seemed to be paying off for you.

      • #3086166


        by zclayton2 ·

        In reply to Raising a child is not an exercise in democracy

        I agree, but parental control can go several other ways. Trust is a fragile thing. You can spend years building it up and then destroy it in a second with an example of “I don’t trust you” rigid control freak behavior. My experience with this was I set the expectations for my kids and discussed my values with them and what the parameters were. This was way before the internet was an option for anyone in our house. after we got access, we had the same kind of discussions about that use. I only had one instance where I had to revisit the issue with my son. My practice was to check the cache and found several porn sites once after a friend had been over. I talked about it with my son and explained that I was dissapointed he had visited those sites (without telling him how I had fond out.) and that he was responsible for the computer use even when someone else was doing it – they were his guest and the punishment was his as a result. He got grounded from the computer for two weeks as there was no homework needing it for that period. I cleaned those sites out of the cache and continued monitoring and there were no other problems. I also noticed that particular friend didn’t come over as often and didn’t use the computer when he did. BTW – my first wife freaked out and wanted to put a net nanny type program on the computer. I indicated if whe wanted to set it up and set the controls – goat ahead. She was not technical so it didn’t happen. That probably would have gotten into defiant “I’ll show you” behavior with our kids at that point – net loss of trust and cooperation for all sides.

        This places the onus on the parent to actually be involved in their kids lives (Whoda thunk?) but isn’t that what being a parent is about?

        I am on my second family now and am having the same sort of conversations with my new wife’s kids. she is in alignment with this approach and had operated this way with them before I remarried. It works, and the benefit is they internalize the idea of appropriate behavior which has a glimmer of hope to work even if they aren’t at home on our computer. You can’t control access at someone else’s house so if there is a ghost of a chance to protect there, it has to be self control by your children.

        I find that if you set your exectations high and communicat them with your kids, they will step up to the plate and meet them within their abilities.

    • #3273829

      Being a parent

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      you first, explain about the internet to the kids.

      Second, you TELL them that you have software loaded that lets you know EVERYTHING they do. (this sometimes works without ever loading the software).

      Third, but restiction on where they can go. Lots of software that will do that and it goes hand in hand with kids and computers.

      Fourth, do NOT put a computer in a private room where they can close the door. Make sure you have an “open door” policy.

      It is YOUR computer, and you have EVERY ethical and moral RIGHT to know EVERYTHING that the computer does.

      Your children have NO RIGHT to privacy as long as they live in YOUR home. They want privacy, they can get their own place.

      Do you ever watch them play with their friends? is THIS spying? Of course not. The computer is no different, except it is FAR easier for kids to get in trouble on the internet than playing with their friends.

      This is as much to protect them from preditors and it is to keep them from doing anything inapropreate.

      Show them how to use the software. Also tell them to talk to their kids about it. running this in secret is a betrail.

      • #3088167


        by genphil ·

        In reply to Being a parent

        “It is YOUR computer, and you have EVERY ethical and moral RIGHT to know EVERYTHING that the computer does.

        Your children have NO RIGHT to privacy as long as they live in YOUR home. They want privacy, they can get their own place.”

        Hysteria and paranoia are not the best counsellors one can imagine.

        I prefer to see the home I provide for my child as a test lab: enough freedom to try out new things, make mistakes and even get into trouble, but secure enough to contain the dangers to a minimum. Your child should understand clearly that you as a parent are responsible for their well-being and the consequences of their actions, and because of that have the final word on what goes and what not. But having said that, a parent shouldn’t set such restrictive boundaries that their children can’t learn to make independent decisions and live with their consequences. If you want your children to become mindless drones, or rebellious firebrands in reaction to their oppressive upbringing by all means adopt this mentality. If on the other hand you want to raise fine upstanding citizens that will be an asset to their community because of their inner sense of what is right and wrong, I’d recommend a more liberal approach.

        • #3088114

          “Liberal approach”?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Relax

          Surely you have never read my postings here on TR… 😀

          I don’t let my children play in the streets, I don’t let them view wild porn out of curiosity.

          This isn’t like the good old days of sneeking a peek at dads playboys. Playboy has always treated the female form as the work of art it is.

          The internet on the other hand is as quick to show you chicks with dogs ans it is any other oddity you can think of, and none of it is helpful for young boys in forming positive images of women.

          In the fourth grade (a few years back now) there was a link for “”. I found out about this when I discovered the system what full of malware and barely operational. Checking into the system I found out where the one boy had gone and we have had a few discussions about this, and why this is not a healthy way to think of women, let alone the disappointment he will get when he finds out that REAL women don’t REALLY like you do THAT, THERE! :O

          Since then I have informed them that working in the field, there is NOTHING they can do on my computer that I will not know about.

          I am NOT a strict person, and have MUCH less rules than the ex-wife does as they DO just give them something to rebel against.

          There is just too much trouble kids can get into on the internet.

          If you think that a little pep talk will keep kids (especially boys) from surfing exotic porn, then you have forgotten what it is like to be a kid. I feel sorry for any kid that has a parent that doesn’t care enough for their well being that they would monitor internet useage.

          I also don’t allow RAP “music” in my house, as I don’t feel someone talking over music about beating their whoes is “art”.

          I ALSO forbid any and all video games that glamorize being a scumbad. Grand Theft Auto? Not in this lifetime bucko. Sorry, but playing a scumbag does NOT fall under “healthy” role models.

          No hysteria, no ranting and raving. Just trying to steer them away from the scumbag lifestyle and towards a healthy productive lifestyle. indulging unhealthy behavior is condoning it.

          They also will never be allowed to smoke while they live in my house either.

          Want to live in my house, got to follow basic rules.

          Do your homework and do it well.
          Clean up after yourself.
          Be a good person.

          Not asking too much in exchange for free room and board, huh?

          Want to play a video game? As long as your homework is done, knock yourself out. Grades slipping? Ok, no games on week days until the grades come back up. (this did wonders a year ago).

        • #3088029

          Yes, Liberal Approach

          by genphil ·

          In reply to “Liberal approach”?

          First of all your children don’t have a choice whether or not to live in your house, they don’t have do anything to earn their keep. You’ve put them into this world and it is your responsibilty to provide them a food and shelter. Your next responsibility is to provide them a stable and loving family. It’s your responsibility towards society to raise your children in such a way that they will be able to contribute to it as adults. I will repeat that for you: it YOUR duty to society to raise responsible adults, it not their obligation to give you any compensation for your expenses, financial and emotional. A parents’ reward is a very delayed one, when your children have grown up into responsible adults you can relish the fact that it was you who guided such upstanding members of society on their path.

          I can tell from firsthand experience, I have been a son and I am raising one, that a parent faces multiple challenges when he tries to convey his convictions to his child. As a parent you’re not the only influence on your child’s development family, school, friends, sportteams and the wider community all leave their mark on your childs’ development. Even in the best of scenario’s there are bound to be conflicting messages and dangers to which your child is subjected, a parent should help his child to make sense of the world around him. To be able to do this the parent should not be seen as a strict taskmaster but as a mentor someone who will correct unwanted behaviour, but most of all someone who will guide him toward answers.
          It is interesting that you should mention Playboy as opposed to for example or Gangsta rap. Both sides are dead wrong in their portrayal of women. Women are neither angelic creatures that bestow their affection on us undeserving males nor are they bitches that can be slapped around at will.
          Women are our counterparts, different (vive la difference!) but neither better nor worse men. Sex isn’t something a man inflicts upon a woman it’s an act that both partners enjoy, if that isn’t the case it’s called rape.

          Being a good person is more than doing what you’re told to and not doing what is prohibited, robots can do that. Being a good person involves sometimes going out of your way to help someone, taking the risk of failure to achieve something worthwile, questioning authority when the powers that be seem to misuse their power, avoiding a fight when possible but standing your ground when it it’s unavoidable and sometimes even blindly following a friend because you trust his motives, but also have the courage to try to stop him from doing wrong.

          Rule number one is: “Avoid doing harm to others” Your job as parent should be to explain how the behaviour of your child affects others. Rule number two to is: “Be the best you can be” help your child find his talents and encourage him to develop them for his own gain, but also the good of his community.

        • #3087868

          I would say

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Yes, Liberal Approach

          that the few things I outlined that I DO don’t equate me to being a task master.

          Children should learn to pick up after themselves.

          Children should learn to be responsible for their own actions.

          Children should NOT be allowed to go anywhere a random click may take them.

          If emphasising good, moral behavior is bad, then bad I be.

          If discuraging and forbidding bad immoral behavior is bad, then again, bad I be.

          And there are reasons given. Almost never do they get an “because I said so” as justification. It will happen when someone decides they would rather play a video game than change the kitty litter, and they want to know why they have to do it NOW. It needs to be done, it is your cat, get it done.

          You don’t check where your boy goes on the internet?

          This is as big of a crime as not knowing who their friends are and what they are like.

          This is as big of a crime as not knowing what your kids are doing, and where.

          A good parent teaches AND monitors their children.

          A good parent teaches that there are consequences for bad actions.

          You don’t think women are angels?

        • #3088726

          Of course

          by genphil ·

          In reply to I would say

          Children need to be taught responsible behaviour, that includes doing their chores, and of course the need to be told where it’s safe to go and where not either in the physical world or on the internet. And of course a responsible parent will monitor his children, it’s usually as simple as taking interest in what occupies, them getting to know their teachers and perhaps even volunteering to do work at their school or sportclub. Further encourage your children to bring their friends home and try to get to know their parents, you can help each other raising your children.
          You seem to emphasize morality and moral behaviour, well your moral system might not be the same as mine but as long as the basic tenets are respect for everyone, and freedom to differ in opinion then that’s fine with me. You might even teach your children that sometimes even well-intended actions may have unpleasant consequences for them.

          Of course I try to shield my boy from things he can’t handle, there are things on television or on the ‘net he is not ready to see or books he can’t read, yet. But I’m a firm believer that a young man or woman can handle just about anything the media dish out as long as they are given a solid context in which to judge the information for themselves. And I think that it is my responsibility as a parent to provide such a context for my child.

          It is my opinion that your child put into your care by the adult it will one day be. And the best thing that can happen to a parent is when that adult feels you have done a good job on him or her, and will keep loving and respect you for the rest of his life.

          I think we agree on a lot of what what we do and wish for our children and we can probably spend a lifetime arguing the points we disagree on, but that room for argument is what makes our societies worth living in. And I hope that our kids will grow up lovers and staunch defenders of our freedom of opinion.

          On a parting note I truly believe women are not angels, sometimes the light, other times the bane of my my life, but always an equal counterpart. And until I see my better half flying past above me (now there’s a scary thought) I will maintain this opion.

        • #3088286

          agree more than disagree

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Of course

          I think maybe my first post just came off sounding harsher than intended?

          As for not being prepared to see on the net. I STILL find things that I am not prepared to see… :O

          side note about being bored. was just a friendly poke as you had made that comment right off in your blog, and then never posted again. Meant no harm and wasn’t judging in any way. 😀

          The woman I am looking for to share my life with will be someone to walk beside me as my equal, but will still have the pedestal thing going.

          flying past? I always told my ex-wife if I EVER bought a car with DRIVERS airbags, watch it! ]:)

        • #3089815


          by noyoki ·

          In reply to Yes, Liberal Approach

          > “Women are neither angelic creatures that …”

          I resent that!!

        • #3089805


          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Hey!

          I am not the only one to think this way! Even if some of the people that think the same way are the same angelic creatures that we are discussing! 😀

          Women can be the single most wonderful creature to walk the earth, as well as be the darkest creature to torment our souls. All depends on which one you come across! I have seen both, but only married the second kind….. :O

        • #3089542

          If women didn’t exist

          by genphil ·

          In reply to Hey!

          We should invent them.
          But at the risk of sounding like Yoda: Worship begets disenchantment, disenchantment begets desillusion, desillusion begets hate and hate begets destuction. We human always end up destroying the people we worship when they almost invariably can’t live up to our high excpectations of them. So keep in mind that as wonderful as the object of your affection seems to be he or she is only human and will disappoint you at sometime, even when he or she didn’t intend to. But if the basis for the relationship are mutual love and respect, then it is easy (sometimes less so) to forgive each others mistakes and live a long and happy life together.

          I tell my better half regularly she the worlds’ loveliest creature, if I didn’t, she’d kick my sorry derri?re, and she regularly strokes my ego by telling me I’m the strongest, smartest man in the world. But we’ve lived together long enough and have fought with each other enough to know each others’ weaknesses.

          Women, hate ’em love ’em you can’t ignore ’em

        • #3089523

          C’Mon Dr. Phil

          by marketingtutor. ·

          In reply to Relax


          Whether you notify the child or not, you as a parent have every right to know what is going on, and what they do. As long as the law can hold you liable for their actions, then you have every single little right to even stick bugs to their lunch boxes and tag them with GPS transmitters if you so desire.

          With all of that said, your children will become the spitting image of their role models. No, not you parents that think you are great role models, rather, the role models THEY consider role models…enter MTV…Jackass…Brittany Spears…you name it. So inevitably, your children become what you allow them to become. Sure, both parents go ahead and work day jobs and wonder when they hit 13 that you find yourself saying “I just don’t know them…”. Why didn’t you ask this 10 yearas earlier when you we’re dropping them off at pre-school to make the extra income?.

          I recently saw a story on a local news channel about a 6 year old child that got angry at his teacher, so he left the class, and jumped into an empty, but idling, school bus and took it for a spin. Afterwards…you guessed it…he blamed his teacher for his actions. I can only imagine what his ebonically challenged parents were like. Hmm…perhaps on the wheat check gubment cheese dole, and blamin’ the MAN for thier misfortune. I woulda axed (ebonics for the correct english word ASKED) em, but they didn’t be givin they name out ovuh duh air.

          ANYHOW, in light of today’s parenting deficiency, is it any wonder that these products exist. Parents are too busy to spend time with their kids, and be the role model to beat. We now live in a “bottom line” world. I know millionaires and I know some homeless guys, and ya know, the majority of the homeless guys are happier than most of the millionaires I know.

          So uninstall the spyware and spend time with your kids. That is, if they don’t already hate you. DAMN, that word liberal nearly had me hurling, but when I realized you were using it correctly instead of as a reference to a political affiliation, I was lead into agreement with you. Sure give them room, but don’t give them room without you there most of the way. Also, don’t smother.

          Another piece of insight, in a socially sterile environment (read: Homeschooling), the children will adapt an outlook and behavior that closely mimics the way the Mother responds and acts towards the childs Father. That is of course barring any heavily negative peer influences. So you “Type A” women that treat men like they have the cunts and you have the sausage, knock it off, or prepare for a helluva ride through adolescence, and ultimately sexual deviancy and possible flipping of their ol’ sexual compass to start pointing south. (read: ButtBuddies or MuffMaties)

          Also, no personal offense intended Dr. Phil. I was looking for a pun, and you just happened to walk in front of the bus…better get after that 6 year old in the bus…his parents have government funded insurance, maybe you can get your extorted tax money back…

          Later All,


          (not a cynic, not bitter, just pissed off that I want to pull the flush lever on today’s post-modern society, and I’m not the one making the calls on whether or not to flood this forsaken world again)

        • #3087720

          “Inner Sense” ???

          by sql_joe ·

          In reply to Relax

          Um….excuse me, but where do you think that “Inner Sense” comes from?

          Can you say parents?

          Children need to be taught right and wrong, by example as much as by anything else. How do we do that?

          *We set limits, and explain why they are there.
          *We tell the child exactly what will happen if they violate those limits.
          *We pay attention to ensure the limits ar enot violated – and when they are, we do what we said we would do if they were violated.
          *We get involved with our children so that we aren’t just rules makers and disciplinarians – that way our child can see that you can live and enjoy life while living under a set of rules.
          We make it clear to our child that some thigns are for ADULTS, and when they are an adult, they can decide for themselves if they will enjoy them or not (such as “M” games, “R or NC or X” movies, alcohol, etc etc) – in the meantime, I teach my child the maturity to be able to make decisions regarding those things when they do reach adulthood (no, not that they are “bad” – but to think about why they beleive things are “bad” or “good”).
          *In cases where its a “do as I say not as I do” we explain, and teach them why it is that way (such as “adult” stuff above). We also ensure that we are a good example in regard to those things – for example, I drink, but I drink responsably and this lesson is impressed upon the kids who absorb everything going on around them.

          I agree that boundaries should be adjusted, but they must be rigid and the parent must adjust them as the child matures; BUT right from wrong…how can one know what is right and what is wrong, unless they are shown that and that information is reinforced? They really can’t, just like you don’t know how to behave at work until you are taught the culture.

          A long time ago as an adult I went and saw “South Park: the Movie”. The theater was PACKED with children! Yes, that’s right, parents had taken their kids to see this movie. The majority of the seats were taken up by children. Dare we say what lessons those kids learned while watching that movie? What lessons do our kids learn while playing “M” games? oh, some say, “My kids know what is real and what isn’t” – but in truth, THEY DON’T! That’s what being a kid is all about! The world is new to children, they are still learning truth from fantasy. As an adult, we can separate those things because we have been through the formative, learning years. Exposing our kids to stuff like that so their “inner self” can separate right form wrong is like “talking wrong” in front of your kids. Will they have an inner sense of what speaking correctly is? Nope, they will leanr how to talk wrong because they will be mimicking obsorved behavior. And yes, this mimicking continues through the teen years.

          We guide and teach our children, and the culture of tommorow is being decided by the parents of today.


        • #3087617

          What is real

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to “Inner Sense” ???

          My ex-sister-in-law was watching my twin boys one evening. When I went to pick them up, there they all were, sitting around watching South Park… (my kids were 6 and her daughter is just a month younger).

          I made the statement (that got me in a LOT of trouble with the now ex-wife) about how pathetic the example was of watching that with very little babies, and the boys would NOT be needing to be watched again, thank-you-very-much.

          (you may not have noticed, but I am not one for candy coating issues. This MAY come as a surprise to you, but I can be a LITTLE abrasive at times…. 😀 )

          Oh, the boys were NEVER watched by her again, and no, sorry but you can’t go stay the night with Aunt Cindy. Why? We have other plans, but maybe your cousin can stay HERE the next night?

          Aunt Cindy, by the ripe old age of 27 is on marriage number 4, with three other random guys in the mix that all were called “daddy” by the little girl. I feel so sorry for that girl, AND EVERY guy that every tries to have a healthy, stable relationship with her.

          Can’t pick your relatives, but you sure can divorce from them! B-)

        • #3090074

          Oh my God! They’ve killed Kenny!

          by genphil ·

          In reply to “Inner Sense” ???

          You B**tards!

          As much as I love South Park, anyone who thinks it’s OK for a six-year old to watch it is seriously lacking in grey matter. Come to think of it they probably shouldn’t even be watching it himself, as he shows that he can’t put the content in the right context, see one of my earlier posts.
          On the other hand I would see no harm when a well-adjusted, well-behaved teenager would watch it. Because he can appreciate that the behaviour in the show is so out of whack that it’s fun, but not to be replicated in real life. Never the less the show points out some idiosyncracies of our societies by exagerating them which can make you think about them, also a good pastime for soon-to-be-adults.

          but I’d like to give Mr Garrison the final word:
          “South Park in combination with little kids is bahd ‘mkay?”

        • #3089485

          Kids and SP

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Oh my God! They’ve killed Kenny!

          My boys are 13, and I still haven’t shared South Park, the movie with them yet.

          It is easily my most watched dvd and was the second I ever purchased. (the first being The Matrix).

          We DID watch Bevis and Butthead, Do America not long ago, but I hesitate with the SP. The whole Uncle F’er song, I don’t think I would like them singing that….

          They are getting closer, but I haven’t decided when to make the jump.

          Note: they LOVE The Holy Grail, and finally understand why the crazy old man would say some things and then giggle. Now that they are in on the joke, “It’s just a flesh wound” is MUCH more amusing…. 😀

        • #3085382

          For Kids, The Villain is safe, but mindless fun.

          by x-marcap ·

          In reply to Kids and SP

          There are just a couple of adult jokes in the whole movie…

          Ann-Margret is always watchable…

        • #3087607

          Finally the voice of reason

          by keyguy13 ·

          In reply to Relax

          I totally agree. If you can’t trust your kids to make sound choices, then you can’t expect them to obey you either. You can supervise without spying. And yes, it takes time and patience to have that kind of trusting relationship with your kid. Those of you who say you don’t have the time are frankly full of crap. Everyone has the same 24 hours of time every day. How you spend it is what makes the difference. If your priority is working so much that you can’t supervise or spend time with your kids, then why make time to read through all of the logs to spy on them? I think if you look at this rationally, you’ll see it makes no sense.

          When you actually make a commitment to your kids and set aside the time for them, these kinds of issues don’t even come into play.

          That’s how it works for me anyway.

        • #3090453

          so much for reason?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Finally the voice of reason

          supervise without spying. Nice use of the newest negative buzz word going around now.

          It is NOT spying to monitor the usage of your computer. It is just using tools to help you supervise.

          Go back and read my posts. I CLEARLY stated that the kids should be talked to and INFORMED that the monitoring software is loaded. If people KNOW they are being watched, they are even more likely to obey the rules of the house.

          Trust is earned, not given. Also knowing just how dangerous the internet really is for kids, I will error on the side of caution. I don’t let my kids play in the street either. Awful of me to “spy” on them when they are playing to make sure they are safe.

          I also watch for weird guys in trench coats at the parks as well.

          Same is true for chat rooms where kids are WAY too trusting.

          I play Diablo2, and you can chat with your “friends”. Had someone come on regularly that I would help, but had to tell her to watch herself when she started telling me about herself. I don’t WANT a 13 year old girl telling me their name and what city they live in! States is close enough and come up with a nickname, for cryingoutloud! The next guy might not be as nice as I am, and you hear about the people that want to end up meeting up with the little kids. I QUICKLY set her straight that I was NOT her boyfriend and no one else on the net SHOULD be. That fact that my boys were the same age as her helped me to try to guide her away from this behavior.

          A MONTH ago in Detroit, they did a sting operation. Cops posed as a 12 year old girl with parents out of town. They had FIFTY guys taken into custody in two hours for showing up to have sex with the little girl.

          Tell me I am over reacting or not being reasonable? Maybe someone will imply you don’t care enough or are smart enough to know to be concerned?

      • #3089818

        Common Ground

        by genphil ·

        In reply to Being a parent

        I think we understand each other, nice to have been able to sound off against you. It was nice to take a step back and think out aloud about the way I want to raise my child. I wish you good luck and happiness with your boys.


      • #3087752

        Some trust

        by lipl1 ·

        In reply to Being a parent

        I disagree. As they get older and wiser (hopefully) you have to trust them to some extent. But monitoring is a necessary evil. My son (13) is very good about where he does and does not go but I still find the ocassional questionable site that I wind up block his access on. Remember no matter how you look at it they are still kids and still need guidance.

    • #3273883

      Do it – EBlaster

      by master3bs ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      As I stated earlier in the discussion, there is nothing wrong with parents protecting their children.

      I recommend Eblaster software by the way –

      It includes keystroke software. In the liscense, you are required to let any users know that it is on the system. If using it, I recommend changing the default keystrokes for entering the system as this could be easy to find on the internet and disable.

    • #3273135

      False Internet Proxy

      by powerit ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      It probably depends largely on the age of the “children” involved. If we are talking about 5-12 year olds then I believe it is our responsibly as parents to do all one can to protect them from the hazards that exists in this evil World. Once a child enters the terrible teenage era, then monitoring activities need to be retracted somewhat. They are exposed to all sorts of language and vocal topics that are beyond are control, which will probably introduce resistance to severe monitoring activity from a concerned parent. I believe once they have transistioned to young adulthood (16 onwards) there is not a lot they do not know, but it is still important to ensure that they are safe whilst using computer equipment in our houses.

      There is no substitute for parental supervision but this can be impractical for older children. As my computer literate child in 8 years old she has not yet entered into the World of MSN like chat ( thank God), but does use the Internet on numerous occasions. In my particular setup I have two Internet browsers installed, I.E 6.0 and Firefox 1.5. I have setup Firefox to use a proxy of and included in an exception list the sites that she can access. IE is for our use and this works quite well. If there is a new site she wishes to access then we vet it and then add it to her list if appropriate.

      This works for us so far and I have no qualms in this protection mindset, I even go so far as to view this as mandatory behaviour. We as a society can be over-protective and usually common sense will prevail.

      Teach your children common sense computer usage or get them on a course. Coupled with this, moderate parental guidance and monitoring and everything should work out fine.

      • #3272888

        Agreed except

        by tonythetiger ·

        In reply to False Internet Proxy

        You can’t put a concrete number on the age at which a child is ready to be, well, not trewated like a child. I’ve known kids who are responsible enough to pretty much do for themselves at age 12, and I’ve know 15-year-olds who still go down to the creek to catch frogs.

        Over-protective? Well, if something bad happens that you could have prevented but didn’t because you thought it was “over-protective”, then your thought was obviously wrong, wasn’t it?

        I think that some parents look at the world and say “There are a lot more dangers than there were when I was a kid.” That’s probably not true. You were looking at it through a child’s eyes then and adult eyes now. Likely the reason you were safer back then was your parent was on you all the time “Where are you going?”, “Who are you going to be with?”, etc.

        If you hear “Aw, mom!” or “Aw, dad!” at least once a day, you’re probably doing it right 🙂

    • #3273082

      I think it is …

      by onbliss ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      …right for the parents to watch what their kids are doing. Drawing the freedom and limits on kids’ lifestyle has to be a decision by the parents, the boundaries of which will expand and/or shrink as the children grow.

      As far as the question of when does it stop. I would’nt approach this with an arbitrary cut-off age. It depends on the child and the parent (case to case basis). For some it could be out of the house, for some it could be when they get married, for some a never ending saga.
      In my point of view, the watching/monitoring/snooping (in short Parenting) is a never ending aspect of human relationship. One can not cut it like the umblical chord in one go. Some things have to end, and some things have to continue till the death.

    • #3273065

      ethics not the question

      by tink! ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I agree it’s not a question of ethics. You being the knowledgeable tech should let the parents (who are your customers) anything that can make their computer more useful/efficient/or better for them.

      As far as monitoring the kids, I am a mother of 3 kids..ages 10, 8, and 4. My 4 year old knows more about how to play games on the computer than my husband. I installed the kids’ computer in the living room so it’s in a highly visible area. Currently it’s not connected to the internet but eventually will be as the kids need to do research for school. I do not plan on giving the kids internet access anywhere else except on this computer. Right now, if they need the internet they use our computer which is in our bedroom, and they know they’re not allowed to use it without a parent in the room.

      Education is the first tool. Good 2-way communication is the second. And responsibility by both parties is the 3rd.

      The parent cannot possibly control their child outside of the home, but if they provide good education and open communication they increase their chances that the child will not stray down the wrong paths. It’s the same principle with smoking, drinking and drugs. Internet access should be treated the same.

      • #3273055

        Agree that it is responsibility, not ethics

        by wallowamichael ·

        In reply to ethics not the question

        It’s nice to see that so many of us techies are parents, and that when we’re not talking OS, we’re all kind of on the same page.
        My three boys are 8, 5, and 2. We don’t use the Internet much at home (dialup is the only affordable access we have in our rural location), so I take my laptop to work and download things we’re interested in and look at them offline at home.
        I completely agree that it is the responsibility of parents to monitor Internet access, as well as any other media. To repeat from other posts above, you watch them play with friends, you don’t let them watch movies without first watching them yourself, and you have age appropriate discussions about all of those things.
        As a consultant, it is your responsibility to tell parents about monitoring software when you find out that children (of any age) are using the computer. What would happen if a parent found out that you knew about filtering software AFTER their child had been solicited by a 42 year old man?
        I use the white list model when people ask me about how to filter the Internet for their kids. This is similar to the IE/Firefox setup that someone else posted, where Firefox can only get to sites that are discussed and pre-approved by the parents. Of course this assumes the parents can manage this type of system, which is not always the case, but in most instances it works well.
        I also agree that CONSTANT communication and discussion of what the internet is and what it can be used for is important. Highlight the dangers, but don’t go overboard, it is still a great tool for finding information on just about anything.

    • #3273026

      “Never” Approach Works Just Fine

      by too old for it ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I took the “never” approach with my daughter, and she is turning out just fine.

      My only worry is that she will have difficulty finding a date in college, as she has a dim view of childish boys who only want to get drunk or high and make out.

      • #3087710

        Works for me, too!

        by jrh300 ·

        In reply to “Never” Approach Works Just Fine

        My daughter is now 17, and we have had ongoing discussions about internet safety since she was a pre-teen and first accessing the internet. She knows that chat rooms are off limits, and why. She DOES utilize instant messaging, which is a much safer way of communicating with her friends – she has to know the user names of those she communicates with, and add them to her ‘buddy list’.

        Also, having the computer in an open location is a wonderful idea. By not hiding what you do on the internet from your child(ren), it promotes trust in both directions, and makes it easier for them to abide by the rules.

        As an aside, we don’t watch any R rated movies, or any television (cable) programs that are not family oriented. By teaching (and trusting) your children when they are younger, you encourage good behavior as they older. My 17 year old lips off a little, but is never openly defiant. I chalk this up to the fact that we have had an open, trusting relationship her whole life (I was a single mom with her until 4 years ago). I have my values, and I stick to them no matter what society says, and she has learned to be the same way.

        • #3084654

          Some of these parents …

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to Works for me, too!

          … who treat the first signs of computer literacy by thier kids as a “concentration-camp” offense make me laugh.

          Of course I am also amused by those e-mail forwards about everyone over 40 should be dead (we stayed out until the street lights came on, we said “hi” to the old couple at the end of the block, painted the crib with shiny lead-based paint, rode in cars without safety seats, etc)

    • #3272973

      Easy One!

      by firstpeter ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      The answer is that as long as I’m responsible for my children’s activities and/or what takes place on that computer in my home I have every right to install that software and monitor their activities.

      To the extent that a child becomes legally “on their own” but still uses my computer absolutely – if I don’t want pornography in my house I have every right to monitor the activity and if I see something I don’t like – WHAM…cut off.

      • #3272960

        I agree

        by jdgretz ·

        In reply to Easy One!

        I own the DSL service to our place (by way of paying for and having it in my name) and I do put limits on what the “kids” do here.

        One of the kids is my girlfriend’s 21 year old daughter who thought it was OK to download music off the internet using one or more of the popular file sharing networks – this after there had been a family discussion about this. She now knows better (again) after I removed the software from her computer gave her a formal repremand in front of her mother and let her know that if it happened again, I would block her internet access at the router and she could go back to dialup.

        One of the boys was found to have downloaded porn on their shared computer – I have now put filters on their computer to keep that slip form re-occuring, even though it causes them some difficulty with some of the sites they want to cruise. Sorry – not as long as the static IP they use is traced back to me.

        We started out with full trust – they have earned the restrictions.


    • #3272897

      It’s Not a question of Ethics – it’s protection

      by aldiefenbach ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      If you have a 13 yr old daugther as I do may be you can understand why it’s necessary to monitor their activity. Even with letting her know I had installed certain software to track her activities, I still had problems with the people who were contacting her. The culture of today is such that “buddies” or “friends” from AIM, MS Messenger or Myspace to name a few are collected like trophies – sort of a status symble by young ones. Within one week of being on AIM, my daughter, who was 12 at the time had 75 Friends, the majority whom she had never met. So I had to painstakingly go down the list one by one to ask her who each friend was. The fact that she din’t know them all didn’t mean anything to her because that is what kids do – they accept invitations to chat with anyone and throw caution to the wind. I eventually was able to trace some of her friends to other sites like myspace where their personal pages told me more than I wanted to know – many were 17 to 18 years old. trying to explain that she nothing in common with 18 yr old boys fell on deaf ears. The fact is that screen names are traded the way phone numbers used to be – anyone can get someone elses screename and start up a chat. The fact is that most kids do not exercise proper judgement – it is more important to be popular – and having lots of buddies and friends is one way to do it. So until there is a better way to protect children from internet predators, we have to observe thier on-line habits from time to time. Like it or not.

    • #3088055

      For what it’s worth

      by gsg ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Let’s just start by saying, I’m not a parent. However, as an adult, I would put keystroke loggers, anything and everything on there that could block “bad” sites, and anything that would record what they are doing. That said, I would tell the child it’s there and explain that it’s not a matter of trusting them, but that it’s a matter of trusting the billions of other people out there.

      It reminds of something my Dad said when I got my car taken away for a week. Driving is not a right, it’s a privelege, and I reserve the right to take it away at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all.

      Kids are very trusting, and innocently will post all sorts of info on the net. As an adult, it’s you responsibility to monitor everything. After all, you bought the hardware, you’re paying for the connection, and the kid is darn lucky to have it.

      • #3088031

        neither naive nor parinoid

        by techiemikee ·

        In reply to For what it’s worth

        Mention the software and let the parents decide what is right for their kids. It is not your choice to make, your job is to present options.

        Unfortunately though, too often parents are busy building a wall in hopes that it will protect their kids from harm and they wind up placing too much faith in this facade that they neglect to prepare the kids to make difficult decisions on their own.

        As a youngster I was taught not to open the door to strangers, not tell callers when my parents were not home and at an early age was able to understand why it was important.

        I?d hate to think all those times I rode my bike to the park to meet my friends for a game of soccer, basketball or to simply be a kid that my mom was peering through the bushes with binoculars. Yeah, sometimes I rode my bike past a liquor store or a bar and knew what they were, but that didn?t mean I had an early interest in drinking or tipping dancers.

        Point is I trust my kids to be good kids and I have enough faith in my parenting that I will not let my kids do things they aren?t actually ready for. The Internet is an evolutionary process much like swimming. I don?t just throw the kids in the pool and tell them swim, I first teach them how to swim. It may not be until they are teenagers that I?d let them swim or surf the Internet without an adult present but I will gauge the situation and judge their maturity before making that decision. If I?m not comfortable letting them swim alone I?m not going to be in the house dividing my attention between TV and a Nanny Cam, I?m going to be poolside, same goes with the Internet.

    • #3089537

      Bill payers privilege

      by frip ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Just as with any corporation providing access to the internet it is the bill payer who is responsible for the users. As a parent and the bill payer you have every right to decide for yourself how to monitor all the users in your home.

      If children want un-monitored access to the internet they should be happy to wait until they have their own home, or at least pay for their own internet access. Age then isn’t an issue.

      If they don’t like it they don’t have to use it.

    • #3089535

      I’ve Found A Couple Of Things That Help…

      by rparkersec ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I have an adult daughter which I don’t have to worry so much about now… But, I do have 2 teenage nieces that for the most part are pretty straigtforward with me, when it comes to the internet useage at my house. I know it may not sound like much, but I’ve found a couple of simple solutions for at least part of the problem with the kids surfing on the internet. First, I use AOL Security Edition for my ISP with their screen names on it. It keeps them from signing online unless they use their own screen name. Then when they do, I have the Parental controls set to an appropriate level for their age. Secondly, I encrypted Yahoo Messenger and Internet Explorer so that they can’t by-pass the AOL software. They don’t like it sometimes and they may ask me to allow them to go to certain sites at times, but for the most part they understand why I do it. I have often read them articles about teen girls getting lured into a trap… So, when they complain about it, I just remind them about the girls that “didn’t think it could happen to them.”

    • #3089522

      Back to basics

      by peter hers ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Good question, should be discussed by more people, not just techs.
      Let’s compare the online situation to some other common situations.

      For example, if my child wishes to go a public library I might perceive a direct benefit. But there is also a risk that he/she will be exposed to books / magazines / people / traffic that I don’t like. I need to make a judgement call on the balance of benefits. I would also take into account the maturity of the child, and his ability to make sensible judgements for himself.
      I would NOT follow him to the library; watch what he reads; see who he talks to; etc.

      Now, what about going to a party? As a responsible parent, I would do some investigation, compare notes with other parents, etc. and then decide on whether the benefit outweighs the risks. What would be very important to me would the standards I have developed in my child, to help him/her to handle situations which may arise.

      Now enter the internet. What is different? There is tremendous value to be had, both educational and social. And also serious threats. If I am unhappy about my child’s ability to handle the threats then I have to act in a positive way. For younger children, this could mean limiting access, and using software to limit access. For older children this becomes more difficult, but I would follow the same rules. If I am worried about a particular activity, such as chat rooms, then it should be prevented until I am sure that the child can handle it responsibly. There is no easy answer, but the basic principles still apply: Equip the child to live life, make his own decisions, and provide a moral framework to guide him.

      But to monitor his activity, with or without his knowledge? Only under very abnormal circumstances would this be justified. It could destroy all the trust that you build up over the child’s lifetime – And this is your only real weapon.

    • #3089518

      The Legality is Easy…

      by mubdi ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      The legality of this issue is easy – parents have that right until their children reach the age of majority (or are emancipated, but let’s not go there).

      However, I don’t think that this is the interesting question. It’s a kin to asking for how long is it legal to put off the “birds and the bees” discussion with your kids – there’s the legal limit and then the not-so-idiotic limit. I think this is more of a case of parenting.

      I became net-savvy at an early age and far before anyone else in my family – and there were things that I was doing online at that early of an age that I know my parents would not approve of – and moreso, I don’t approve of. I think that’s what my parents did right – It wasn’t about them preventing me from acting in ways that they disapproved – it was about developing restraint from within myself from doing such things. It’s more of a question of parenting than technology.

      At the end of the day, parental protection software is only part of the entire protection system. It’s great for keeping kids that inadvertantly stumble onto adults sites away – but it does effectively nothing for kids that actively seek adult sites (for instance).

      From a tech standpoint – I’d go into this assuming that these packages will not work and that kids will be able to pretty much whatever they want. I’d tell concerned parents that this is simply insurance – and not very good insurance at that.

      So, when’s the right age to stop using these packages? When your child is ready to fly solo. If you don’t know when your child is at that stage, then the least of your worries should be using parental safety software.

    • #3087847

      Spying on the kids?

      by michael_orton9 ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      If they are small, its probably a good thing, but when they are teens I am sure that they will be learning from their geeky friends how to defeat it. It reminds me of when the Kinsey Report was in the Sunday papers. We had copies hidden in school and we all read the extracts!
      Yes you may be able to stop them sending an e-mail to their aunt in Scunthorpe, but *10w-*0b will still get through the filters. And of course every Physics student used to miss-pronounce the German name “KUNDT” as in Kundt’s Tube, sound wave experiment. And what about using brackets to make the naughty words look like algebra?
      I remember when I was at a minor Public School in Sussex that I learned the “naughty words” in over a dozen languages.
      When my son, who was six at the time, was in Israel, I remember him swapping “four lettered words” with Israeli kids, then he disn’t speak Ivrit and they had these words in common.

      If there had been computers when I was at school, I am sure it would have been great phun finding how2 get naughty words through the filters!

      I am sure that the only benefit to content filtering is to the makers of the software!

      Perhaps they also give parents the (false) impression that they are doing something.

    • #3087796

      They are YOUR Kids.

      by emar1000 ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I can appreciate the concern you have with this. However, sometimes it just amazes me that parents wonder if ?it?s ok? to watch their children in this respect. I watch my kids? computers and what they do on it. Some things with their knowledge and other things without. I have all emails sent to them copied to me automatically. I have explained that they are growing teens and they will be curious and that?s normal and that?s why I watch you like I do. I make no apologies and they also know that if they don?t really like it I`ll pack up the PC and stick it in my closet. So does this sound harsh? If it does then take the chance of the other option ?pedophiles?. I have a proxy server setup and I track everything. I know some wont be able to go to the extent I have but you do have other options, Why is it a question to wonder if it is ok to use them? It is YOUR responsibility to raise your kids.
      Why is it so hard for parents to take a stance with their children?

      If I pay the bills and it is in my house, it is MY rules. I dont care if they are 30 and living at home.

      • #3087559

        ARE YOU KIDDING me!!!

        by angelohl ·

        In reply to They are YOUR Kids.

        Why are you asking this question???! eric.greer said it correctly, they are “YOUR” kids… Not to sound harsh but as with mine, we set aside rules and trust is earned, NOT given, we do this by being open and honest with everything. I know who they talk to (on the phone or off), who they chat with, etc.. This is your responsiblity to raise your kids and GUIDE them, helping them steer clear of the hazzards in the road – this is a FOREVER task, but while their under your roof they have to regardless; filters, rules, triggers, etc. – every country/organization has a tip of the pyrimid that makes the final say-so – YOU ARE IT.

        • #3090424

          You owe me a nickle

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to ARE YOU KIDDING me!!!

          I already used the “trust is earned, not given” and have copyrighted it! Please send all nickles C/O TR. After they take their agreed on percentage, the rest will be forwarded on to me.

          With that remaining money, I will go out and buy more “spy” software to monitor my kids with.

          They already swollowed the tracking GPS modual I put in their breakfast, so I know WHERE they are. They noticed the tracking collars I put on them a while back, so had to go with something smaller.

    • #3087785

      YES By all means, monitor the kids.

      by tweakerxp ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I’m a computer repair tech and I have seen things on peoples computers that even surprised me. I had a single mom wanted to know what her son had downloaded on her computer. Well, at least her son wasn’t gay. There was so much stuff and some of it shocked me, the graphic violence of some pictures. I told her what I had found. She suspected something but didn’t know how to go about finding it. I showed her how.
      The internet is a dangerous place. Look at the girls that get lured away and killed. YES, by all mean monitor at all cost. The kids can get mad and later on when they look back and least you cared enough to say…”NO.”

    • #3087783

      Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      by cwa4050 ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I suppose if you do not have kids then this is a difficult question. However, if you have kids and care about them then this is a no brainer. Of course its ok to spy on your kids. With all the negative stuff on the web and harm that your kids can get into without even knowing it – Parents have to know what’s going on. Especially since they are responsible for anything the kids may do while on the net. If its against the law – like everything else it falls to the parents to know about it or face the judge. Anyone living in the house should know they can be watched if using our computers.
      Its just like employers, right?

    • #3087782

      Parents need to actually parent…

      by mr_fox_rox ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Spying on your kids is perfectly acceptable, and I believe a part of our duty as parents. For some kids, simply knowing you are watching them like a hawk will keep them in line. Lackluster parenting skills, or the absence of parental intervention, is one of the reasons corporations need to spy on their employees and monitor their activities on a computer.

      Children and teens really have no right to privacy beyond their bathroom door. Kids are human and will make bad choices, as all humans do. They should find out from their parents, while they are still at home, that someone is always watching and there can be dire consequences to making wrong choices or defying the rules.

      As long as they live under your roof, regardless of age, you are responsible for setting boundaries and defining what is acceptable behavior in your home. When they get old enough and can afford to leave the nest, they will. Birds and children fly away.

      When they are minors, breaching those boundaries should subject them to swift and meaningful, but loving discipline. Once they become an adult, refusal to abide by house rules is reason for eviction. As an adult, they will find no love in the discipline they will receive from the state.

      Leaving our kids to set their own boundaries, monitor their own behavior, and “find” themselves, is a huge cop out and a sure-fire way to ensure you are a failure at parenting. It also greatly increases the likeliness they will be social retards, perverts, self-centered or dysfunctional in other ways as an adult.

      • #3087762

        Free will.

        by pado ·

        In reply to Parents need to actually parent…

        I can see your point with younger children. I think the very
        young DO need guidance and protection, but as they get a little
        older the measure of your success as a parent will be the degree
        to which they have learnt good judgement.
        There comes a time when one has to ‘let go a little’ and allow
        ones children to excercise that good judgement. One slowly
        releases the firm grip.
        Net nannying is fine for the very young, and maybe even the
        young teenager. After then I feel it should really be eased-up on.
        Monitoring continues but less intrusively. And honesty with your
        children is a prerequisite to any degree of hosesty from them

        You seem to advocate hierarchal power to an extreme degree.
        Would you now accept your own parents monitoring YOU if they
        were to be staying and living in your household with you?If not,
        then when did this become unnacceptable? At what age were
        you? Or would you monitor them?
        Further to that – you may have no problem with the Chinese
        governmental approach over the individuals’ right to free
        expression and choice also?
        I think you are right that the very young need to EARN a sense of
        privacy in some things – very young children can accept the
        need for full supervision. But this, surely, has to be modified as
        they get older or they will never ‘learn’.
        Let them make ‘mistakes’ but monitor them just enough that
        those mistakes will never be dire…

        • #3087735

          NOT a democracy…

          by sql_joe ·

          In reply to Free will.


          Well, My home is NOT a democracy. Now, as an adult in my home, there are things I no longer monitor on my daughter…however, it has been made very clear to her that it is MY home, and therefore I am the one responsable legally and liability-wise for anything that happens in it – therefore, there are still certain rules and modes of behavior that need to be adhered to. Besides, why should anyone have to put up with behavior that they find reprehensable in their own homes? Even when I visit MY parents (and I’m in my forties) I know there are rules and modes of behvior to follow. Why? Because that’s that how adults behave, we respect others (supposedly).

          Now, all of this comes naturally to kids if you’ve been parenting them all along. In other words, its never even been an issue in my home! Yes, I make mistakes as a parent, and yes I admit them to my child when I do. But by being involved all along with her, now that shes an adult it goes without saying to respect my feelings, my beliefs, my protperty, and to not do anything that would get me in trouble.

          So, if you’ve been parenting all along, their is no issue of heirarchical power, or monitoring, or establishing rules for adult children, or anyting. Hopefull by the time your child reaches adulthood, they’ve become the kind of adult that you want them to be, and those thigns are no longer an issue. If you have to monitor your adult child in your home, then there is REALLY a problem going on….


        • #3087590


          by pado ·

          In reply to NOT a democracy…

          I agree with you whole heartedly, Joe.
          My children grew up knowing that I expected the level of
          maturity from them to increase as they grew up. I treated (treat)
          them with respect and I get that same respect back.

          There’s only a problem if children treat their parents as ‘the
          enemy’ or ‘the boss’ – when they’re at a level of understanding
          that allows them to make their own, well-nurtured, decisions.

          Doesn’t mean you don’t keap an eye out for anything untoward –
          but reading kids diaries and closely observing every internet site
          they choose to visit is intrusive and degrading. Children may not
          behave irresponsibly AT HOME when treated this way, but will
          pander to their curiosities elsewhere – outside parent’s nurturing
          I kinda agree with your approach – and it has enabled my own
          children into responsible adulthood too.

    • #3087776

      KWBK Kids Will Be Kids

      by lobster-man ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I believe that if you instill high morals into your children they will know what is right to do. I have two daughters who both access the Internet have done so for years. I have complete faith in their judgement to view what is right and not view what is questionable. I hae occassionally monitored their visited sites and found nothing that was questionable. I do believe that you must be close to your kids. Talk to them and let them know what you expect. Communication is sometimes lost with teens at a time when it is most important. If you communicate with them, they will know what you expect. When all of the publicity about came up, they both removed their information from that site…. without me saying anything.

    • #3087770

      It’s my house, my rules

      by dr. tarr ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I haven’t read the other comments yet, but basically I treat the internet access in my home the same way my employer treats the internet access at work: My wife and I pay for it, we are legally responsible for it, and we reserve the right to monitor any and all traffice that is passed on it. I have five children, 4 daughters, three of whom have moved out and are either married or on their own, ong girl still living at home while going to college, and a son who has not yet graduated from high school. I explained all of this to everyone in my family, and that’s the just the way it is. It’s called being a parent.

      I gave up on the nanny software early on: one, because I can’t see the sense in posing an artificial challenge for my kids to overcome, and two, because I got tired of being called to the computer to OK research on the Bikini Atoll and teenage drug use prevention (two examples of topics that the protection software would not allow to be viewed with the filters set to teens.) My son is a pretty smart cookie, and he sees programs like that as a challenge to be overcome of and by themselves. He hasn’t learned enough IOS to be able to hack the router and firewall yet, and by the time he can, he’ll be on his own with the ability and judgement to decide what is and isn’t appropriate for him.

      I’ve chosen instead to stay involdes with my kids, try to teach them how to make good decisions, and them trust them to go out and make mistakes, and ask for help when they need it. I also provide that help as non judgementally as I can, (after all, they are MY children) and occasionally have to be the heavy when the boundaries of common sense and intelligence fail. For instance, when my son has friends over for LAN parties, I kill the publis internet access to that part of the network. That way my son doesn’t have to be the cop for his friends, and I dont have to explain how Bubba came to be in possion of those pictures of (insert name of whatever it is that ticks you off).

      I don’t pretend that I am smart enough to prevent my son, who started using the computer at two, from looking at pictures of unclothed young women, and I think I am happy about that. I chose instead to try to give him the tools to make good decisions, and the trust and support to allow him to develop the ability. After all, he has access to all of that same information in places like the public library, so he needs to learn how to use his judgement rather than rely on an arbitrary crutch imposed from outside. “Well Dad, I thought if the blocking software let it through it must be OK.” isn’t an excuse I’m prepared to accept. In just a few years he will be another hardworking citizen and I won’t be there to hold his hand. I believe that my most important job it to prepare him for that day. If I don’t, I have failed him, myself, and the future of our way of life.

      I know I’m a little ‘soap boxy’ on this topic, but it is one of my core principles. When my children were young, when they were in the net, so was I, right there beside them. Now that they are teens and adults, I give them their space and privacy where appropriate, and intrude on that privacy wheen necessary. I make a point of asking my son about web sites that he has visited from time to time, and I have added some of those sites to the black ACL. I have also forwarded chat logs tot the local polict that have resulted in arrests and at least one conviction for an internet predator. BTW, my son brought those logs to me, i didn’t have to find them myself. I guess maybe it’s working.

      • #3087749

        Right there with you

        by tantor ·

        In reply to It’s my house, my rules

        Just like you said, my house, my rules.

        I will not allow my kids to have computers in their rooms behind closed doors. Not because I don’t trust them, it’s because I don’t trust what’s out there. And I get involved with my kids (if you read the fine print of the job description for “Parent” it’s in there). They clearly know what’s expected.

        The Internet is a privilige not a right. Food, clothing, shelter are rights.

        I also think it’s important to teach my kids safe practices. Like not using your real name (not even your first name) in any login or email address. Not answering gender or age questions when possible. Teaching them how to use white lists for email and blocking in IM.

        You hear all these parents who want to shut down myspace because their kids are getting harassed. It’s not the website’s fault that some idiot kid put their real name and cell phone number on their profile along with pictures of them. If they would just teach their kids how to be smart online, a lot of it wouldn’t happen.

        Would you send your kid to a mall in a bikini with their cell phone number written on the butt?

        Simple. If it’s stupid to do in the physical world, it’s stupid to do it in cyberspace. And you should probably, I don’t know, be a parent and teach them instead of spying on them and blowing up when you catch them doing something wrong.

        • #3087747


          by sql_joe ·

          In reply to Right there with you

          And….if the parents were involved, do you think those kids would have posted sexually suggestive pictures of themselves on the web?….

          Myspace is not the parent….we are….

          Your points are great!


    • #3087769


      by sql_joe ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      How as a parent can you NOT monitor your child’s activity in a place that’s been proven to be as dangerous to children as the Internet is?

      The Internet is a great tool, and like most tools, there are unsafe ways to use it. It is the responsability of every parent to teach their children the safe ways to use tools AND TO ENSURE THEY AREN’T USING THE TOOLS UNSAFELY. Yes, this could also mean monitoring.

      My daughter has her own room, and from day one we’ve made it very clear that her room is subject to search by us at any time for any reason (or no reason) with her there or not. Now, her mother and I have only did this once or twice in 18 years BUT she did not know that. Instead she did not know if we were checking or not, and therefore had to act as if we were there – in other words, behave the way she would if she were in front of us.

      We handled the Internet the same way. She had a PC in her own room, but was not allowed to access the internet with the door closed. She was told that she ever closed a browser window when we walked by or in, we would assume she had something to hide, and she would lose the priveledge. In fact, it always been made clear that the Internet is a priveledge NOT a right and whenever she got grounded it was always one fo the first things to go (if she needed it for homework at these times, it was supervised). She was also notified that while I may have taught her all the tricks she knew, I did not teach her all the tricks I knew on PC’s and that her PC was subject to search at any time for no reason – so again, she generally had to behave in a way that mimicked constant observation.

      Did she still try and get away with stuff? Yes, what kid doesn’t, and when she did, the priviledge was lost for a time and other appropriate punishements administered – like the time she appropriated my credit card and used it on the net – she had to repay me thrice what she charged. At times that I perceived she was trying to get away with stuff after hours, I just reset the router to lock her PC out from internet access after bedtime.

      Now that she’s 19 and in college, I do not do these things. She’s an adult and I’ve spent the last decade teaching her how to be safe on the net. She has either gotten by now, or she hasn’t. However, she still lives in my house, so there are still some restrictions.

      Yes, all of this does take time, but when one becomes a parent, this is the responsability they have agreed to accept. When parents stop paying attention, we get tragedies such as Columbine, where those boys had been charging thousands of dollars of equipment needed to make explosives to the parent’s credit cards and the parent’s never checked. Was the child’s right to privacy worth theirs (and many others) deaths? Would the parent checking on what was going on have possibly revealed there were problems and let them seek help? Probably so! You know, sometimes there isn’t anything we can do – but it is our job to try and try and try and never give up. We shape the future of our world by the kinds of adults we let loose into it.

      My wife and I made a huge effort to introduce our child to the things we enjoyed, and we got her very involved. Now we have a great friendship with her as an adult because we all do things together we enjoy doing. Yes, we are her parents and that came first, but we also discovered we could be her friends without sacraficing being parents by never letting friendship get in the way of parenting.

      So, when I am asked by non-computer savvy parents how to protect their children on the internet, I tell them about every tool I know about, including monitoring because it is my ethical and moral obligation as a parent to do no less.


    • #3087756

      Changed World

      by sjeffreys ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      It is important that those of us with information, inform those without. Education should be a daily part of life, whether it’s children or adults. I believe very strongly in educating my clients – home or business users. Many, many people still do not have clue about the pervasive dangers lurking on the internet! Yes, I believe that they should be up front with the fact that usage is being monitored whether at home or at work, unless specific issues dictate drastic measures.

      It takes only one session of inappropriate viewing on the internet to begin rewriting the moral code and values we try to instill in our children. Why shouldn’t that be avoided at all costs? Yes, they will be exposed to foul language, etc. through other sources, but that’s not okay with me either and I let my children know that. And when I find out about it, I deal with it and that may involve letting other parents know what their children are doing.

      Children and teens are bombarded with so many messages – I make sure that mine is very clear and very consistent. Children/teens want boundaries. They want to know that a “no” is always a “no”. Yesterday, today and tomorrow and that it’s a “no” for everyone in the family. My 13 year old wants IM and his computer connected to the internet – “no” was my reply with a lengthy conversation (he can connect with mine if needed). I explained that it was not him that I don’t trust, but the millions of other people out there. It is my job to protect him, and protect him I will from anyone who wants to fill his mind with garbage.

      One of our frequent conversations is about viewing your actions and decisions with regard to the results that you want to achieve. What does it add to your life? I’m a “mean mom” sometimes, but my children know that I love them completely. They point out examples to me of children that are left to do whatever they want and surf the internet viewing porn, etc. Even my 8 year old understands that these parents aren’t setting them up to succeed.

      I don’t make all the decisions for my children and don’t want to cripple them like that(no parent could do it and children need to be able to make mistakes, but there are some mistakes they can make these days that they can’t possibly be prepared for). Every day they walk out the door and go to school or activities. It is then that have to filter things using the moral education they were given at home. Home should be the safest place on earth for a child and if I can give a parent the tools to help achieve that then I should. Kids need to be kids for as long as they can be.

    • #3087754

      18 and Beyond

      by rahammers ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Parents have a responsiblity to watch over their children under the age of 18. Watching over them protects them AND helps guide their development into upstanding members of the community.

      Over the age of 18 you have a responsiblity to the community in how a resource you have is being used. If you have a child in the house over the age of 18 and suspect a problem, it is your right and responsibility to monitor how YOUR resource is being used. My computer, My ISP, My right to monitor. Should the child be paying for the computer and the connection, your responsibility and rights are and should be limited. Now it is their computer, their ISP, their right and responsibilty to use it appropriately.

      • #3087614

        so close to being right, but missed one spot

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to 18 and Beyond

        even if they are using their computer with their ISP, if it is in YOUR house you are still responsible for what happens.

        When they are out on their own, then and ONLY then do they have the “right” to all the privacy they want.

      • #3090150


        by steve-nyeoka ·

        In reply to 18 and Beyond

        Our son still lives with us, and his PC is in the living room where we can still keep an eye on it.

        If he don’t like it there are plenty of appartments in the paper….

    • #3087745

      DO IT! IT’S ETHICAL! Your the parent aren’t you?

      by steven.berher ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      As a parent of a teenager and in the SW development, I know there are just too many chances for kids to get into trouble on the web. Even the most innocent search of white house using .com vs .gov for a kids research can get too much.

      In my house, my kids know that I have software watching them. If they don’t want me to know what their doing, then they’d had better have the good sense not to do it or to put it into words. I have good kids, but continually have to watch and help govern how they use the PC– a fantastic tool but full of hidden adult only areas and/or a needed maturity factor. With instance message, e-mail, blogs, multiple accounts, etc. kids can assume any idenity.. this is true for the others they may be communicating (perv’s and others).

      There is also the need to govern the time spend in cyberspace — limiting access so that on a school night your child doesn’t stay up until 2am chat’ing with other kids. You really don’t believe a child can govern themselves. It’s like drugs, it’s addictive.

      I may give latitude as a child matures… truely matures whereby you trust their judgement and they become more responsible. It’s just like putting a large sack of candy in front of a 10-12 year old, they’ll eat it all gone. Whereas a 16/17 year old would still have the same bag a week or two later. Each kids going to be different. Or another example would be driving. At age 15, kids get a learns permit cause they have to learn sometime. Kids are just not handed the keys to the car at 15 without supervision. When they do get the keys to the car, do you still not supervise by setting down initial rules for a period of time (e.g., no driving at night, or curfew, etc.). Just like a car, the internets has A LOT of stuff; most good, some bad–needing governing, and some that just needs supervision until their old enough.

      For providing tools to “spy” on internet activity for other parents, I help all my friends understand there are tools available. If they want my help, I will help them load and understand how to use them. I’m seeing that more of my friends take me up on the request when their kid gets around 12 -13yrs old.

      They need to have access for all the good reasons, you want them to have access for all the good reasons. As a parent I feel you must govern/supervise them like you do anything else, providing more freedoms as they mature.

      Anyway… my opinion!

    • #3087743

      Its my Computer, and I am responsible for all communications

      by 35rjt ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I take full responsibility for all internet activity on my computer, and as such it is not spying!

    • #3087742

      We are Parents and…

      by issinho ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      the network administrators. We have broadband (like most families nowadays) and we have our computers networked to go to the internet. When my daughter is old enough to play on the computer, You can bet that her system (or account) will be locked down as tight as possible. After all, it is my wife’s and mine responsibility to protect her, whether she agrees with it or not.

      Furthermore, that is MY network! I pay for it, I administer it! It is also my responsibility to guard it against any threats, to the best of my ability. I have a firewall installed with Proxy services that has a very extensive set of blacklists. It automatically blocks certain content from being viewed, plus it logs it whenever content is requested that it blocks!

      I think that the software used to view what your kids are viewing is just fine to use. I feel, however, that there SHOULD come a time where that needs to stop. 18 at the latest as they are considered an adult, I would say. They will, however, subject themselves to my network administration rules as long as they are connected to it, regardless of age. Hey, if we can’t view some of that content at work (and it is of questionable moral content) and we don’t want younger audiences viewing that stuff by accident, then our children, 18 or otherwise, won’t see it. I will not have that stuff in my home.

      “That’s [my] opinion, [I]’d like to hear yours”

    • #3087737

      Much more of a responsibility really…

      by el guapo ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Face it, regardless of how much you ‘talk’ to children about the hidden dangers of the internet, there’s no real guarentee that they won’t visit inappropriate sites whn you’re not looking.

      My take is as long as your children is living under your roof, you have every right and responsibility to maintain their well being, even if it means spying to protect them.

      Your kids are using YOUR PC’s, you have every right to install these types of software. They’re living under your household, you have every right to monitor their activities online.

      Parents just have to be more assertive enough to do these things.

      BTW, who has heard of parents involving ‘ethics’ to teenagers in regards to where to go in the internet??

    • #3087734

      Kids aren’t human, they are Convicts

      by mek804 ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      You should see more “Bernie Mac”. He explains child care to his
      wife in simple terms: “these are children, not human beings. You
      have to treat them like CONVICTS or they will take over!”

      If your child knew up front that impropriety on the PC or telly
      would result in much unpleasantness, they wouldn’t do it.

      They’re curious. They’ll do it at least once. But live up to your
      threats and then some, and it won’t happen again. If that proves
      to be wrong, well, no more computer access. Pretty simple, eh?

    • #3087733

      Are You F’n Retarded

      by kaptkos ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I can’t believe anyone would even reply to your stupid @ss post.

      • #3087711

        Perfect Demonstration

        by sql_joe ·

        In reply to Are You F’n Retarded

        I think you just demonstrated exactly why this is a relevant discussion.

        • #3087604

          Mr. Kosmicki is EXACTLY the type of person

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Perfect Demonstration

          we are protecting our children from in the first place.

          Good call Joe, and thanks for being a timely example kkosmicki.

          Glad you don’t work with me. I have a low tolerance for id10t’s such as yourself.

          First, this twit refers to himself in third person in his profile, then his web site loaded even slower than TR while viewing the EL thread! On top of that, it is all ADs! Once the Java started loading up (after a minute or so) I had enough and closed the window. Because of the dozen or so ads, I strongly recommend NOT going there yourself. X-(
          Note, if you are a working professional AND want to be a foul mouthed punk, don’t post as much personal information, “Mr. Kosmicki”. :O

        • #3084724

          I would agree….

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to Mr. Kosmicki is EXACTLY the type of person

          KaptKozmicki or whatever you call yourself, I don’t understand where you get the idea that your response offers any type of productive input to the discussion at hand. If you don’t feel like participating then please refrain from posting remarks of a questionable nature as your current remarks say more about your character than the discussion itself.

          Plus your website, needs a bit a tweaking, I’m no expert but hey it’s 2006, get a clue, your website has an early 90’s feel to it, like it hasn’t been updated in the past 15 years. Aside from all the advertising & pop-up windows (thanks again, appreciate the workout you gave my pop-up blocker – at least I know it’s working), you advertise for a, why don’t you place an ad for someone to revitalize your website, I would suggest that it needs a bit of sprucing up. And if you can’t do that, how about using a spellchecker before posting to the web, I’m pretty sure you have one hidden on your ‘puter somewhere, tends to make a website look more professional than a wavy header banner at the top of a page. Use some current world apps when designing your site, if you’re going to use a website space provider like, don’t put up a crap site with 100% advertising, clean it up, if you have to list ad sponsors on your site, dedicate a page for them and for goodness sake get them off your main page, what a turn off, since you’re in the “k”onsultin’ biz, you should have a clue about websites, something like the first 10seconds of looking at a website determines whether or not a “k”ustomer will continue looking at the site or move on to another, I gave your site more than 10 seconds to give you the benefit of the doubt, unfortunately it appeared to be a waste of time.

          … just my 0.02 cents cdn, feel free to agree or disagree.

      • #3087653

        All serve, some by providing bad examples

        by dr. tarr ·

        In reply to Are You F’n Retarded

        Wow, what originality. You created your own personal substitution code for a socially unacceptable word, not once but twice! I am so impressed – not. Perhaps a ten year old would be, which is what the original poster realized. You have provided a prime example of the type of random, uncouth, uncalled for behavior that permeates much of modern society.

        For the sake of discussion, did you mean the original post that started the discussion thread, the post that is immediately in front of yours chronilogically, or another post that appeared earlier in the thread but is not immediately in front of yours because of the timestamp order in which the replies were received at the blog site?

      • #3090371

        Open Mouth Stick Foot in..

        by inknpaper ·

        In reply to Are You F’n Retarded

        What a mess.. You can’t believe anyone would reply to this post,
        yet you yourself posted a reply. Then you reply with that kind of
        I visited your website, If I were a business looking for help, I
        would most likly avoid your company for the simple fact that it
        looks very messy and unorganized. Too many ad’s.. very bad for
        business. I would recommend getting a “REAL” host for your site.
        I wouldn’t recommend your services to anyone unless they were
        enemies !
        I would think twice about replying to a post in that way and
        claim to be a professional. You will save yourself the humility!

        Just my 2 cents

    • #3087731

      Ethics or education of Parents

      by toddah ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      The internet is not a good or bad place. there are good and bad people in every situation your children are going to experience in life and it’s your job as a parent to teach them the values that will guide them through this thing called life.
      Installing this type of software has some value if you are going to monitor the outcome and use it as a teachable moment, however I have seen this tool used more and more as a tool to stage an attack on an unruly teen (thus widening the parent/ child gap)than to truly teach them a value lesson in life.
      I have two fully grown children and three grand children all of whom are very active internet citizens and I am truly tired of listening to these parents of 3 year olds pontificate on the facts of rearing children when they are still in basic training for the job.
      You cannot effectivly monitor your children from a position of ignorance. The average parent I deal with has a hard time getting their email let alone trying to interpet the outcome of thousands of incidents of captured information.
      I think this is alot like virus scanners in that uneducated parents think the sum of the game is to buy this software and install it and then their children are safe on the internet. Now we can go on with life safe in the knowledge we have done our job and spent money to safegard our children.
      Your children will never be safe anywhere in life and the only thing you can teach them is the age old fight or flight response that all living things have used as survival tools for eons.
      Take the time to educate the parents and the children not shopping for the turnkey solution.

    • #3087729


      by longennamer ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Anybody seen the dateline on this? It’s scary what sick people are out there, and kids are naive. Dateline even caught a rabbi coming to the house with the bad intents. crazy. As a parent, you have to do everything possible to protect your kids.

    • #3087721

      a parents responsibility

      by fsirmons ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      As a parent you are responsible for your child/children until they are 18. I inform my clients and friends of all of the alternatives but I start with the simple fact that they should not have internet access in a childs room, this eliminates several issues. Beyond this they should closely monitor all activity, logs etc as anything else is abdicating their responsibility. In other words, you get what you ask for.

    • #3087719

      IMHO …

      by tnunetworksupport ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I believe it is an act of service to inform others of such solutions, although they are not foolproof. I believe the child will act on their own free will when no one’s around. However, we all have consequences for our actions, whether negative or positive. In my experience, part of being a parent is to teach about consequences. In my opinion, there’s not a black & white rule as to “how old is child when we stop monitoring”. I believe that depends a lot upon the child.

      I believe that if we, as parents (and adults in general), model accountability by being accountable to others ourselves, be willing to help others (when asked) to be accountable, it becomes natural for our children to learn about accountability first-hand.

      [Warning! I don’t do this perfectly!] I share this to give an example of accountability. Several weeks back, I’d left my favorite water bottle at a friend’s house one weekend. When I realized this, I took my daughter’s pink water bottle from the cupboard and proceeded to use it for the week. Sometime around Friday or Saturday, my daughter (who’s 3 yrs old) asked me “Daddy, did you ask if you could borrow my water bottle?” My knee-jerk reaction was to think “I’m the dad here. I paid for water bottle. Therefore, I don’t have to ask YOU to borrow it.” I didn’t say anything to her. A few days later, this had been bothering me. A friend and I were talking about this, when she asked me “Did you make an amends for not asking?” I immediately went to my daughter and made an amends for not asking her if I could borrow her water bottle. Her response … “Daddy, it’s okay. All you have to do is ask.” We try to practice things of this nature in our home regularly, teaching that we need to be accountable for our actions (or inactions).

    • #3087713

      I can and will monitor my child

      by kj7gs ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I’m a ham operator, and the assumptions are the same as with my radio equipment. You have to assume that the entire world as listening to what you’re doing. It’s not private. Also, when anyone uses my equipment, it’s my license to operate that they’re using, which basically means that my responsibility for the proper operation of the station has not gone away. My stuff, I will know when they use it and how they use it. They are not “licensed” to just turn the equipment on and operate whenever they like. And that doesn’t just go for my child; anyone in my house gets the same treatment. They are my guest, but the computer equipment is mine, and mine only. It’s password-protected, and I monitor her activity on a regular basis. If she doesn’t like it, she may wait four more years until she’s 18, move out, purchase her own computer, and live her life as she pleases, without my protections. For now, she doesn’t have to realize that I’m doing this because I love her.

      • #3087661

        Finally, someone with common sense!

        by wacker42 ·

        In reply to I can and will monitor my child

        My equipment to do with what I want. If that’s not acceptable then buy your own and by the way, pay for your own internet connection too.

        • #3087640

          Well, almost…

          by dr. tarr ·

          In reply to Finally, someone with common sense!

          IMHO, (as if I’ve ever had a humble anything of my own volition) it should read something along the lines of “It’s our home, and when you have become an adult and have the maturity and wherewithal to own your own home and accept those responsibilities, it’s my equipment to use as I see fit” As long as my children are living in my home they must accept that I will exert my power as parent. My twenty-one year old daughter is not my tennant, she is my child, and she follows my rules. I will discuss those rules, and modify them based on age, maturity, experiance, and occasionally whim, but the bottom line is it runs my way. All of the girls have, and all but one have exercised the option of “or the highway.”

          “If that’s not acceptable then buy your own and by the way, pay for your own internet connection too.” assumes, at least for me, that you have already chosen the highway option, since the children bringing their own anything into my home and my not having veto authority just isn’t going to happen.

    • #3087654

      Mark 1 Eyeball

      by professorcurt ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Nothing – no technology or software or legislative action – beats the Mark 1 Eyeball of a concerned parent.

      When my 2 kids were growing up, the only computer in the house was in the living room where I could see it while watching TV. I KNEW what the kids were looking at when they were on-line, and I got to recognize the “names” of their on-line friends. If I didn’t recognize a name – I’d ask. The system was powered-off and blocked at the boot level when I wasn’t home, and we had no hesitancy in checking the history, cookies, and temp files from the kids on-line activities.

      In the debate over childrens privacy versus on-line security there is no argument; safety for the children wins every time. As to when they should have full unmonitored access, my 2 children finally got their unrestricted access when they went away to college.

    • #3087647

      No software is required.

      by rstachelrodt ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I work as a network administrator at the local high school. I get to see kids trying all sorts of crap with the computers and the Internet every day. We have filtering software, per CIPA, yet the best way to ‘protect’ the kids here is the simplest: put the computer and, more importantly, the monitor where they are always visible. I have more problems in classrooms where teachers have the monitor facing a corner than anywhere else. The teachers who listen and re-arrange the furniture so that the monitor is visible to someone at the front of the classroom have no problems. At home, the answer is equally simple.Take the computers out of the kids room. Put the computer in the same room as the TV, and position it so that you can see the monitor from the same place where you watch the TV. By putting the computer in a ‘public’ place, you take away the presumtion of privacy. After all, if the Secret Service comes to your door with a warrant, it’s your butt on the line, and all of your computing equipment as well.

    • #3087645

      It’s MY computer

      by goodolepop ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      For me it is not a question of controlling children’s behavior. There are some things I do not allow in my home. Pornography being one of those things. I don’t filter just my children (all 4 of whom are over 18) on my home network. I filter ANYONE on my home network. I provide the computers, I provide the internet service and aDSL line. I control who uses them and what comes in on it. It has nothing to do with children, per se. It has everything to do with what I will allow in my home. I find the Simpson’s, King of the Hill, etc. not only to be mostly Pablum for the brain (like most network television) but generally offensive as well. They are not watched on the TV’s in my home. No one watches porn on my computers. You can’t set a double standard. If porn is bad for the kids, it is bad for the parents. When raising children you can not say “Do as I say, not as I do.” The kids will always do as you do.

    • #3087638

      prepareing kids for the real world

      by vtassone ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      We are supposed to be preparing kids for the real world aren’t we? At the last place I worked we were told the computers were company property and that they were monitored. That means email, Chat and every other thing you could do with a computer. The company also owns the phone system. Conversations are also monitored to assure customer satisfaction. Kids, GET USED TO IT!!!!! This is the world we live in. We were told in advance and people still tryed to get around it. Shopping online during work hours and such. How about the parents that are getting big bills from the music industry because The children wanted to get free tunes? How about the virus or trojan they downloaded while getting those free tunes? You know, the one that logged YOUR key strokes and stole YOUR passwords and credit card numbers and identity. What about the day YOUR daughter turned up missing, Whould you like to have the chat logs of who she was online with to show the police?

      Keep the computer in the family room.

      Install the software and tell them it’s installed.

      Talk TO your kids, not AT them.

      I realize they can still go to their friends house and use the computer. I was not the perfect child either. My parents thought they caught me at everything I did wrong. If they only knew!!!!!!!

    • #3087633

      Show your interest in their on-line activities

      by microrub ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      You need to show that you are interested in their on-line activities the same way you show interest in their school work, sports and what they do when they go out. This serves two purposes 1) that they know you are watching – all children need to know this, call it their conscious. That little person telling them this could be wrong and questions them whether to do something or not; and 2) as with other activities your interest tells them you care about them. This is very important. It tells the child or teenager they are important to you and in so doing you will protect them if necessary. Show them how to browse the Internet safely, how to deal with Pop-ups, and how to spot the scams. This is true with teenagers on down. I have used the Net since its early days with Chat Rooms on Compuserve. I have reviewed AIM?s logs to see who and what the kids were talking about. I don?t do this often and I do install tracking software. Show them you are interested and that you care ? this can go a long way. Who knows you both might learn something from each other and that could be very valuable.

    • #3087630

      Discuss with them and Watch them

      by ludedude25 ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Even if you are to sit down and have a chat with them I would still keep my eyes on them. Let them know that there are programs out there to both monitor and recover where they have been and what they are doing and if you have a suspision there into things they shouldn’t be you will use those programs.

      I wouldn’t be sneaking around with the subject. If you sneak, and catch them they will just try to sneak harder.

    • #3087613

      Parents please monitor/control kids internet!

      by roskonet ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Here?s the way it is at our house: I am the parent, you are the children. You may be my best friend but you?ll never be my peer. I want you to grow up to be a healthy, happy, productive citizen because I love you. There are many things on the internet that will prevent you from becoming a good person. I wouldn?t drop you off alone at a street corner in a bad part of town, and I?m not going to do essentially the same thing on the internet. You can whine and complain all you like and it won?t stop me from loving you. It will be this way until you graduate high school or if I suspect wrongdoing.

      I have installed Spector 5.0 on the kids? machines and I regularly tell them I can see everything they type and receive. Nobody connects to the internet behind a closed door. I have programmed a list of banned words in URLs and banned websites into our router. They have an hour on the internet unless they have schoolwork. I nag them to talk to their friends in person instead of through faceless IM conversations. We have a good relationship because everybody knows the rules of engagement.

      You have an obligation to ensure that parents are more equipped than their children. I strongly recommend Spector as it logs internet activity, screen shots, email and IM conversations. I watched over my toddlers in the bathtub, and I watch over my teens on the internet – both are in dangerous places for their age. Parents need to stop being manipulated and start being caretakers. Turn off the television and get to know your kids.

    • #3087609

      Reply to Ethics of Watching Children’s computer screens

      by kovalj ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I am the father of 5 children ranging in age from 15 down to 6. It is absolutely my responsibility as a parent to protect my children from harm, including from cyberspace. This includes setting clear limits on what, when, and how my children use the Internet. If my wife and I felt that current limits were insufficient, then it would be not only our right, but our responsibility to use software that would allow us to see what our children view on the Internet. This right and responsibility would extend right up to adulthood. Currently, none of my children are allowed to enter a chat room, and the parental controls on our ISP are set accordingly. Now, if my belief is naive that this barrier is sufficient to prevent them from entering a chat room, then I will investigate other options.

      The bottom line for me, as a parent, is that I may use any means at my disposal that is moral or legal to protect my children from harm in cyberspace or any other environment.

    • #3087594

      What is appropriate?

      by techrep.2.send-me-no-spam@ ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Is it not okay to keep your children from playing in the middle of a busy highway? It takes more than just suggesting behavior and limits. Children will always test those limits. Its just human nature. Sometimes, even adults test limits, (and get speeding tickets, parking tickets, etc.)

      I don’t consider monitoring my children’s activities to be spying. They know that we keep tabs on their activities. Not just online, but in life. You can’t just give a child a stack of books and say get yourself educated in the next 12 years. They need guidance and teachers, and yes – tests!

      As for the internet, even adults get scammed or worse. Sometimes it is very difficult even for an adult to pick stay safe from online preditors, so do you expect your children to be smarter than most adults without any help from you?

      But you don’t just install spyware on the computer and walk away. You observe and make use of anything unusual that might require intervention.

      I had a recent situation with our 16-yr old daughter, because any emails to her that were not from approved list of people I know would also be sent to my inbox. I have told her many times that I could find out anything she does online, so it should not have been a shock when I had to talk to her about the dangers of what she was doing – even just giving out private information about herself & our family online. She did not know there was anything wrong with it because “all her friends were doing it”. Even though we have talked many times about dangers of visiting bad websites or “chatting” with people you don’t know, still she was tricked by a website that looked ok. Without monitoring, I would not have known. It wasn’t just a matter of restricting her, but in this case, filing reports with proper authorities, especially when I contacted the source and informed them she was a child and to stop sending her the adult content emails, but they continued to send them even 2 months later. I didn’t contact them by email, I called on the phone to be sure I spoke with a person and that they fully understood my intent.

      We always tell her that the restrictions and rules are there because we love her and care what happens to her. If we didn’t love her, she could just do whatever and we wouln’t care.

      Too many parents are afraid of a little 2-letter word “NO”. As much as we’d like to be their friends, they have friends, what the need are parents!

      Now if you still feel a need to monitor them at 20 or older, then it’s time for them to get out and pay they’re own bills and be responsible for themselves. As long as my children live in my house, I will have some control of what goes on in my house. My kids will not be bringing drugs, etc, in my house even if they’re 30, and they won’t be going out the door looking like hoodlums or worse as long as they live in my house.

    • #3087593


      by purecoffee ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      As a parent you have the right to deploy such software but I also feel you have the responsibility to tell them you do this. This is a trust issue. As they mature and understand more and have gained your trust, then each parent can decide to “loosen” the reigns a little. If they screw up, the screws come down again.

      Telling other parents about KeyLogging software is o.k. Why wouldn’t you want your friends to know about it? I am all for protecting our kids. Has anyone seen some of the recent DateLine investigations?

    • #3087585

      as long as you are under my roof…

      by tjfarley ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      If my offspring is using a computer I paid for, under my roof, there is no question. I have a right to know what they are up to. When they are mature enough to move out and get their own computer then they can do whatever they like.

    • #3087571

      Your kidding right?

      by it pro. ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      You are responsible for that child until he/she is 18yo. If they are residing in your home and you are taking care of he/she, it is your moral duty to ensure that as much negative information as possible is shielded from young eyes. Society today is sick enough…it’s our duty as parents to try and protect our children as long as possible. It’s not called spying, it?s called caring, and if you consider this spying do you consider spending the day with your kids babysitting? No, they are your children. I have 3 boys that live in this house. The rules that govern this house are followed by ALL OF US not just them. Those rule stay for as long as you reside in this house. So if your 21 and going to college, you need to find somewhere else to view or surf negative material.

    • #3087565

      Kids, Parents, and the Internet

      by robbi_ia ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I got about halfway through all of the posts already on this thread when I decided enough was enough and it was time for my viewpoint. My apologies in advance to those whose posts I have yet to read – for duplicating anything you might already have said.

      Monitoring our children’s access to the internet is a necessary task in this day of the modern pedophile. This has little to do with kids’ ability to access inappropriate material, and everything to do with what information they put forth about themselves on the internet and with whom they chat.

      Take a look at websites like MySpace and Xanga… even though those sites specifically restrict personal information by policy, the information is still there. Even if the kids don’t post their own personal information, their information could wind up on a friend’s page – as they blog information about going places and hanging out with this friend or that friend. MySpace has become the pedophile’s newest shopping ground. They gather information off the site about a kid, then approach that kid either through leaving messages on their space or through other contact information the kid has left. This doesn’t just affect girls – boys make easier targets than girls because they are less likely to tell…

      I teach courses for parents in how to protect their children from online predators. I also have helped create some online learning tools for organizations such as and am currently working on a project specifically for the folks at Perverted Justice. At parent presentations, I’ve been approached many times about the possibilities of using keyloggers and other spying software. I tell parents that when it comes to keeping their kids safe from predators, as far as I’m concerned, anything goes! We have a duty to protect our children and keep them safe just as long as we possibly can.

      Many parents are not as technologically savvy as those of us who frequent this site. They need all the help they can to stay one step ahead of their kids. Personally… I got into the IT business because I was learning all I could to stay ahead of my teen and preteen children. They are now grown – and I have a new generation of children to protect – my grandchildren. I will do so as fiercely as I protected my own children. Maybe more so since I’ve been involved in this work and have seen the dark side of the internet.

      • #3089388

        Parents seem to be rather stupid

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to Kids, Parents, and the Internet

        I see parents that refuse to discipline their children, at home or in public. Don’t they see what HORRIBLE people their little angel is going to turn into? Don’t they see all the future problems they will face when the get out of the house into the “real world” and discover suddenly that they can’t get away with doing anything they want, and the gravy train has ended?

        These kids are being hung out to dry, just because a pathectic parent won’t say “no” when it is needed.

        We have an obligation to know what our children are doing, and to correct them when they go out of acceptable bounds.

        At least SOME people are doing something to help the problem (robbi), instead of be the problem.

        EVERYONE OF YOU that said this was NOT ethical to do, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

    • #3087564


      by jcolon ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I think being a techie you should give your client every option out there. You have to realize that they rely on you to inform them because they dont know what options are out there. The internet is a wonderful place filled with great information on the world, hobbies news etc. They provide games and other fun things to do. BUT, it also has dangerous information that can be harmful and dangerous. Yes kids have rights, great, but parents have the right to protect their kids from harm this is more important than whatever rights a child has. Yes this is pretty much spying on your kids so what it is better to know what is going on than not know and have that chance to step in before it is too late. Stepping in can maybe save the kids life. When do you stop doing so, it is hard to ever stop being a parent and to stop worrying about them? But I go by this expression …… as long as you are living in my house …….
      Suffice to say i think that answers that question!!!!!

    • #3087561

      When to stop?

      by pete1978 ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Too many parents make one of two mistakes. The First is NOT monitoring. It is essential for the safety of the child. Also, since you own the PC, you have an interest in seeing that it isn’t visiting places prone to problems. The second common mistake is monitoring without telling the child. Tell them and tell them why. If you don’t tell them, you really are spying! A child doesn’t call it spying when you go to the park with them “to watch” because they know you are watching. Don’t treat computer monitoring any differently. Tell them you are watching and tell them what you are watching for. If they know up front, it isn’t spying and they’ll tend to avoid the activites you don’t want — they’ll tend to behave more.

      When to stop, when the child has demonstrated that you don’t need to monitor anymore, or when she/he moves out and get her/his own set of bills paying for her/his own PC and PC activity. Never any sooner.

      That’s when my wife and I will stop monitoring our son’s PC activity (and, yes, he knows we are watching).

    • #3087558

      When to tell parents about software

      by pete1978 ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Your question “When is it appropriate, or is it ever, to tell parents that software exists that would allow them to observe what their children do on their computer?”

      I think that the better question is “is it ever appropriate to NOT tell the parents about the software?” The answer I would give to this question is “No!” You said they are friends. Then treat them as friends and show you care by telling them about the software.

      Just by telling them about the software doesn’t force the parent to actually use the software. You are simply giving them an option based on experience and education in computers.

      When is appropriate for your doctor to tell you you need to exercise? Every time you visit your doctor, it is appropriate.

      When is it appropriate to tell parents that software exists that would allow them to observe what their children do on their computer? Every time you see them, tell them or remind them about the software. Since you addressed this as being friends, they’ll tell you when/if they don’t want to hear about it anymore. But they will respect that you cared enough to tell them.

    • #3087541

      Keeping log in information secret

      by snlsm ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      My nieces frequently IM me at work. One day the younger one, 11 at the time was logged in at a friends house when she contacted me. In the following days when she IM’d me something seemed off. As I talked I started a line of questions that she would skirt the answers and then say she needed to go. The third time this happened I immediately called my sister to see if my niece had been online. She had not. The next day I was IM’d again, and this time I immediately contacted my sister while chatting with “my niece”. However, she was not who I was chatting with. What had happened was, when my niece logged into her friends machine, the save ID and password was checked. Now her friend was logging as her and contacting me pretending to be my niece. I copied the text of the dialog and emailed it to my sister, who then went to the friends house. Initially the girl denied doing it, but as soon as the brother saw the wording of the chat, he knew it was his sister. Eventually the girl broke down crying and admitted to the ruse. Both girls where giving a strict talk about keeping the contact information secret and the potential for real danger on chat sites when you don’t know who you’re talking to. The friend was told how lucky she was that it was “her friends” uncle and not some sicko on the other end.
      So make sure that your children aren’t leaving behind IDs and password on systems outside your home that would allow someone else to assume their identity and get them in trouble.

    • #3087529

      The Internet is no different to any other situation

      by tharmagon ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Any responsible parent would not let their child play somewhere potentially dangerous without being present to keep an eye on them. Most parents will stop their children from going to very dangerous places at all. The Internet is the same. You have to watch them and even better stop them going there in the first place. I’m not advocating spying. Just like you wouldn’t peak around a fence when your child is playing. You take them and sit in the open watching them. Same with the Internet. You tell them their computers are being monitored and some areas blocked. That is waht being a parent is about ensuring they are safe. Anything else is not being a parent.

    • #3090527

      Parents Have Responsibility to Protect Children

      by thestorys ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Parents have the responsibility to protect their children morally and spirtually from the many dangers and evils that exist.

      Kids still living at home should respect their parents’ wishes in terms of what they do and view. If they don’t like it, they are free to move out, work, get a place and live as they please (although all will give an account before God some day).

      Parents shouldn’t want their kids to be hitting porn sites or talking to child molesters unaware, etc. and surely shouldn’t have to allow it on their dime, and in under their roof.

      Child training and communication ahead of time would seem to be the key issue here.

    • #3090525


      by carljschueler ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I work for a school district and part of my job is to watch where students go. It is a double edged sword. Being under protective can result in bad things happening to children who are nieve. Being over protective results in a child who will not be able to appreciatte what you are doing until they are parents themselves. The choice is yours. The results will probably be some place in the middle


    • #3090497

      Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      by tomacelli ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      First and formost.IF You have establist an communication dialogue with your child and built up trust and instilled worth while character building blocks . No There wont be a need to do so.For your own children.
      for your friends children
      You wrote
      their parents were concerned, and that it was only to keep them as safe as possible from predators?
      my response seek assistance from your local police dept. on this issue . IT is a nationl problem. (pedophile)+ there are parental [ CONTROLS]from your INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER. RESEARCH THEM.

      my answer to the question ….NO NEVER.

      DO parents have rights yes but …
      As for helping your neighbor… think twice . its called liability.

    • #3090481

      It is called “Parenting”….

      by geekchic ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      not intrusion, not being nosy, not spying….PARENTING! Sorry don’t mean to yell but recently a friend of mine had a teenage daughter that got talked into meeting one of her “online friends” from her My Space site at the local mall. The next thing you know, she is missing for over two weeks and the police found her in another town about 200 miles from where we live. She wasn’t sure how she got there, how long she had been there or even why she was there….

      I say…spy, get nosy, install sneaky software whatever it takes because talking just doesn’t do. This could have been so much worse…what happened to her was bad enough but at least she is safely back home having learned a very hard lesson.

      As for how long you keep this up…as my daddy used to say “as long as you are under my roof, you’ll do as I say” of course he never really stuck to that but it was tough talk!

      Once you have children, you must take responsibilty for them and their welfare.

      • #3090443

        What a WOMAN!

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to It is called “Parenting”….

        It really does my heart good to see someone more concerned with the well being of kids than of being politically correct.

        Well done. 😡

        • #3089405

          thank you….

          by geekchic ·

          In reply to What a WOMAN!

          I love my children more then my own life and if they hated me for a little while when I was “in their business” so be it. They got over it and they are both wonderful young adults. My daughter has a little pin on her purse that says “I am the product of parental supervision” and my son just recently sent me a text message on my cell that said “I couldn’t have been raised by better parents”.

          They make me proud to say that I am their mother!

      • #3090427

        I tell my kids that I’m watching them

        by dmambo ·

        In reply to It is called “Parenting”….

        I’m like Saanta Claus. I see them while they’re at school, I see them when they’re at friends’ homes or when they’re knocking around in the woods behind the house. Then I pull this little number on them: “I see you because part of me is inside you and always will be for as long as you live. And part of my dad is in you because he’s in me. And a part of you will be in your kids.” It’s amazing how they react to that. It’s kind of my version of a mother’s guilt trip.

        Oh, and I tell them that they’re stuck with the parental control software until they’re on their own.

        • #3090379


          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to I tell my kids that I’m watching them

          do you monitor, block, or both?
          What do you use?

          Girls you have to watch for different reasons. Boys are drawn to porn (we can’t help it!) no matter how “well they are raised”.
          Girls do the chat room and have crazy fantasies (they can’t help it!) and go off to mean this “really nice guy”.

          I have done just the monitor, and after tripping the one up, they have done real good.

          They now know that there is NOTHING going on that computer that I don’t know about.

          Back in 4th grade a nasty site was floating around the school. I found this out when it trashed my system with malware.

          Since then, they only trash their mothers computer as she doesn’t know how to monitor a computer, and doesn’t have the benifit of the software I purchased to find out about her being an adulterousWhore. :O She STILL doesn’t know just how much I really found out. Helps to keep HER in line! B-)

        • #3090372

          Girls vs. boys

          by robbi_ia ·

          In reply to software

          JD – boys can be lured into a predator’s clutches just as easily as girls. And there are quite a few predators who target boys because “boys don’t tell”.

          you didn’t spy on your ex, did you? for shame!

        • #3089478

          of course I did

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Girls vs. boys

          and having the few things I DID show her are all that kept me from having to pay child support.

          We have joint physical custody, meaning I have them physically half the time.

          I informed her I would not give her lovers wife a “care package” if she just walked away and let me carry on with my life.

          I won’t stand in the way of her “happiness” and she stays out of my pocket. Sounds like a deal to me! B-)

          [i]readers digest version, hard cover edition was in the divorce discussion last summer that you probably missed. After all, it was only the second largest discussion in the history of TR. ;\

        • #3090375

          Parental Control Software

          by robbi_ia ·

          In reply to I tell my kids that I’m watching them

          Just remember – as they get older and smarter, they will figure out how to circumvent that parental control software. That’s why so many parents ask me to teach them how to use keyloggers and why it is so important to use every means possible, not just software, not just education, and not just trying to keep an eye on them.

          Just as we use a multilayered approach to protect our networks on the job, we must also use a multilayered approach when it comes to protecting our kids.

    • #3090461

      Spying? How about “responsible parenting”

      by ibitguy ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      When it comes to something like the wonderful no-holds-barred, anything-goes realm of the Internet, I don’t think the question is “if” to monitor, but “how often”. I Have three boys from 10-18 in age, and they access the Internet with firm and enforced guidelines.

      I have monitoring software which I use occasionally to check on their compliance to the rules, but do not monitor absolutely every second. Of course, they
      A) don’t access the Internet when we are not around… ever (they have to log in to a server and it is set for allowable logon times, and group policies are in effect, but prior to that I had the DSL router on a simple electrical timer in a locked toolbox). The computer they use is also centrally located, and they know that we can at any time walk by and see what they’re doing
      B) they have to clear all new websites with us in order to have access to them. Once we have cleared it with a password, they are able to access it from that point on. (You wouldn’t take them to a bookstore and let them wander around in the porn section would you?)

      They also have a set of rules about what they are allowed and not allowed to give out in the way of information about themselves and where they live, and we have explained the possible consequences (including a few rather vivid new stories as examples). For the younger boys, chatting online is limited to IM, and only to approved persons. The older boy is not limited because he has earned our trust through his actions.

      To some, our rules/actions may seem “draconian”, but the key we’ve found is to explain to them *why* the rules are what they are, and that thought out, intelligent, reasonable requests for increased/relaxed access are considered. The more maturity and responsibility they demontrate, the more access they get, and the more trust they earn from us.

      The bottom line is that they know that we are responsible for their wellbeing and safety, but also for guiding their development until such time as they are experienced and mature enough to warrant appropriate freedoms and privileges. Children are not born knowing everything (even though sometimes they think they do…) and our children understand that until they are of legal adult age our responsibilities will remain, and as *they* mature and become more responsible, we will decrease our hold/control. We’ve always taken great pains to explain in detail the reasons behind our actions, and the things that they could do to modify those actions on an ongoing basis.

      Our children are polite, well balanced, good students, drug free, and thoughtful, and it’s *because* we monitored and controlled and made them demonstrate appropriate behaviours to us in order to earn the freedoms that they enjoy. They also feel good about themselves because they’ve *earned* these freedoms.

      Our children were never bothered about their initial levels of monitoring and access, as they knew right up front that *they* were responsible for the controls we put on them through their actions… The faster they became responsible the faster they got the freedom. Yet they know that we *still* monitor their access occasionally to verify their adherance to the current rules… and they’re OK with that…

    • #3090395

      It’s not an ethical dilemma

      by dr_zinj ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      1. Parents are 100% legally responsible for conditions a child is raised in, and for the actions the child takes, up until the child reaches adulthood.

      2. Children have no ownership in a household beyond their personal belongings (and even that is arguable). Therefore, parents have the right to dictate how any household resources are utilized.

      3. Parents are the executive branch in a household. as such, they have ‘law’ enforcement authority. Which means they have to have the ability to observe their children’s behavior. Computer-usage of any kind is a behavior.

      4. You start to lose that option when the kids start renting their rooms, buying their own equipment, paying for their electrical use, and paying for the connection fees.

      5. And it does become unethical when you start using it to observe other adults in the household (like your spouse).

      • #3090382

        I completely agree!

        by rboucher ·

        In reply to It’s not an ethical dilemma

        I am the parent of an 18 year old who when 16 was involved in explicit conversations with young ladies. After finding this out from another horrified parent, I added “In The Know” to his system and told him about it. This was enough to stop the problem from happening again. We parents must monitor the online activities of our kids. Even if you believe that your kid won’t do it, another might be sending disturbing messages/content to them.

    • #3090386

      Net Nanny plus 007 Spy Software

      by charles ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      We have our computer (shared by family of six) in the laundry room just off a hallway and next to the kitchen. It is a very central part of our home since our house is only 1080 sq.ft. in size. My oldest son started to dabble in pornography and that was a real wake up call to me that teaching a child to avoid such things, trust, etc. was not going to work. I installed Net Nanny and that brought a great amount of relief. I now could see where they have been (to some extent) and prevent them from being bombarded by porn. As we all know, porn and questionable material still seems to find them. We have talked till we are blue in the face and constantly had to deal with our oldest boy who developed an addiction to hardcore pornography. I since have installed 007 Spy Software, let it operate for several days and held a family council in front of the computer with the entire family. I then showed each of the children the various logging functions of the software, in great detail so they would know that I am watching them and I do spend time seeing where they have been and what they spend their time on while on the computer. I was discrete and made sure not to embarrass anyone. I told them if they did not like the software then tough! They do not get computer time, school or no school. The greatest complement I received was when I was checking through the screen shot log of a period of time when my oldest son was on the computer, he had opened the Windows Paint Program and wrote, “DAD I KNOW YOUR WATCHING, LOVE YA”. From that point on I knew I had done the right thing.

    • #3090376

      It’s about balance

      by j_s_d ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      As a parents my wifer & I are 100% responsible for my childrens safety and for raising them to be good citizens. The Internet is a very dangerous place – and they are children.

      From our childrens perspective (2 boys aged 9 & 5) our home is a benevolent dictatorship, not a democracy. We ask their opinion when making some decisions but are often not concerned with their opinion. If we have sought their opinion, we take it into account. We explain our decisions but they are not up for negotiation. We constantly move the line as they mature.

      We want my 9 year old to grow & learn, but in a safe constructive way. With this in mind we participate in some of his ‘on-line’ time and allow him some unsupervised Internet access. We have explained some of the dangers but at 9 there are still subjects that our eldest is not yet equipped to grapple with.

      We put him on trust to follow the rules we have set down for unsupervised Internet time. We have also explained that I have installed software on this computer that allows me to see EVERYTHING that he does – all emails, all web sites, all IMs, everything.

      One of the non negotiable rules for Iinternet access is that we can see anything he does on the computer – no secrets. Had he not agreed to these terms, there would have been no Internet access – simple.

      Thus we have rules and trust and limits. If he abuses our trust, we will know and there will be consequences. Likewise, if we abuse his trust (by abusing our ability to monitor his activity) we will suffer consequences. This arrangement is working well.

    • #3090345

      It’s unethical NOT to monitor your children

      by jeff the project manager ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      What is the definition of a parent? Someone who makes the hard choices and helps the child become an adult. That means making the important choices for your child until they are ready to.

      That means until my children are out of the house, I will monitor all of their computer activity. It’s a dangerous world, and I will make sure that I am helping shape their values, and not a stranger to my house. And that includes anyone who puts up a web site.

      But it’s not just about installing monitoring software. Our computers are out in the open, where anyone can walk by and see what’s going on at any time. Evil loves darkness (out of sight), and keeping everything out in the open is the best policy.

      That’s my job as a parent, and to do any less would be a violation of my responsibilities.

      • #3090137

        Reply To: Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

        by matthew.persico ·

        In reply to It’s unethical NOT to monitor your children

        I sum it up like this:

        Would you let your child out of your car in Times Square (plug in your home-town downtown section here) unsurpervised for any length of time? Then why would you let your child loose on the Internet without supervision?

    • #3090262


      by mrironleg ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Until the child is out of the house, the parent is completely within there rights spying on them.

    • #3090258

      If it is your computer & network…

      by richard ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      then I agree to using “spy ware” to monitor what is going on. After all, this is your system and they are only users. Besides, we owe it to our kids to protect them.

      The predators are out there and they are getting slicker everyday.

      This is no different than checking up on the kids a few years back by asking neighbors and friends if they had seen the kids while they were out on a date.

      I remember when I was the kid and mom found out things that I thought she would never find out about. Thank goodness she did.

      With the profileration of web blogs today it is easy for them to get in up over their necks in trouble by not adhearing to the basic principles of safe practice on the web.

      Just my view point…take it or disagree with it.

    • #3090230

      Until You Can Trust Their Judgement

      by mholdcraft ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      If you have concerns, then yes you should monitor your children’s internet use. How long? Until you feel they are mature enough and have the good judgement to protect themselves. The threat is not just from internet predators, but also from easily available pornography on the internet. Age doesn’t matter. If they live under your roof and they are still naive, curious or rebellious, then you should watch what they do. If after a while you see that they are not misusing the computer, then you can back off of the monitoring.

    • #3090195

      Depending on the severity

      by dbucyk ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I had a stepson who decided to go on the computer one day. We had trusted him that he could go on the internet and do some research for his schoolwork.

      Low and behold. I had Windows’s 98 on the hard disk drive and I still have the same copy on it today.

      When I went to do regular maintenance to the computer, I found out that there was a explicit link embedded on the startup menu. Also, after checking the temporary internet files the stepson who was the only person home at the time was searching on the internet by typing in explicit words to check it out. I caught him red handed and he still denied it!

      At that point I spent countless hours researching registry tweaks, security tweaks, patches, and enabling content advisor, adding popup toolbar 3.0 to internet explorer, zonealarm, and adaware se and other tools to fight this problem.

      Now I realise kids are getting smarter and smarter and it’s up to the parents to decide when is enough because, I feel if they still live in your household, they still have to comply with all the rules.

      It is also the responsibility of the parent to look into the problem and take appropriate action.

    • #3090126

      No Good will come of it.

      by anom_amos1 ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Over protecting children only causes them greater harm.
      Spying on a childs web habits won’t help you protect them from preditors. You’d need to spend twice as many hours reading and studying every detail of there activity as they spend on the net. Then there are text messages on phones and many other ways they can avoid being noticed by you.
      The best approach would be to simple teach the childern what may be harmful to them than try to hide it from them. A couple of nightmares is far less harmful than what may befall them if they are taken by a predator.
      What I suggest in the way of technological monitoring if you still want to do that, is a modified spam filter that instead of blocking the dangerous sites and emails flashes a warning to the child and sepreately to the parent a Stranger Danger Alert! If a child knows that the 13 year old girl / boy they are chatting to is really or likely to be a 40 year old peadaphile they will probably seek help to identify the person as genuine or bogus instead of defying their aprents and continuing to talk to the preadator thinking they have a friend that understands them etc.
      There is a line from the bible “god helps those who help them selves” this applies to children if you help them to protect them selves they are far less likely to fall prey to a peadaphile than if you try to block all knowledge of such creatures from them.

    • #3089996

      Would you give them a dictionary with all the swear words crossed out?

      by andy ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      If there’s one question guaranteed to get people all fired up its this one. Thats because there is no right or wrong answer to it. Little Johnny could be the curious type who’s going to look at all kinds of things his parent dont want him to see because thats the kind of kid he is. Little Jimmy isnt like that and never goes beyond his favourite comic site. Little Joanie is naive to the ways of the world and has a could chance of being taken advantage of by others incyber space.

      My point is people are different. What works for one doesnt work for another. You have to remember that computers are everywhere and what they done look at at home they could easily peruse elsewhere. SO saying no just means “not here”.

      The simplest solution is to have the computer in a central place, like a family room where everyone hangs out. Its unlikely little johnny is gonna go look at while the family are sat around watching tv. In his own room away from casual glances Little Johnny can get away with whatever he wants.

      Chances are if your kids dont want you to see what they are doing its because you wouldnt approve, and they would probably be right. So dont play into their hands, keep the PC where everyone can see whats going on and your problems, at home at least, will be resolved.

      I take great exception to those that think spying on your kids is ok. You dont follow them to school, you dont follow them when they go out and you dont read their diaries. You give them trust, you teach them responsibility. Yet because its a computer and YOU dont understand it you think it gives you the right to monitor their every keystroke. In the same way that the courts allow kids to divorce their parents its only a matter of time until a child brings an invasion of privacy type lawsuit against an adult for installing “spyware for your kids” on a PC.

      Trust your children, reduce the risks by keeping the family PC where the famly can see it, lay down the rules on what is and isnt acceptable and the penalties if those rules are broken and if having a computer in the house is making you that paranoid, get rid of it.

      Would you let your children play with anything else that gave YOU this much angst?

      • #3089977


        by lemeilleurdumonde ·

        In reply to Would you give them a dictionary with all the swear words crossed out?

        This kind of reflexion should be more exposed.

        very nice post.

      • #3089416

        You can take as much great exception as you like…

        by unclerob ·

        In reply to Would you give them a dictionary with all the swear words crossed out?

        You can take as much great exception as you like, I don’t call paying attention to what my kids do as spying, I call it parenting. Maybe it’s just me but I happen to take great interest in my kid’s lives and take great pride in their growth & development.

        When a kid divorces his parents, do you really believe it’s because of spying, or is it maybe because of some form of child abuse, either mental, emotional, sexual or physical. Let’s get real here, I don’t see kids divorcing their parents at such a great rate for any other reason. A privacy lawsuit especially one concerning spyware (yes I know this was just an example) against a parent from his child isn’t going to make it anytime soon, I haven’t heard of anything similar to this myself lately – have you?

        Another thing, FYI – If I don’t drop them off at school, I know the bus is taking them there. I don’t read their diaries but I do speak to their teachers, monitor absences & lates, review their report cards, help with homework and ensure they’re succeeding and growing up properly. Religion in all it’s forms, ie. christianity, muslim, hebrew, etc. (something I won’t bring up for discussion in this forum) also helps with another facet of their development, their spirituality and all the benefits that it provides those that follow a faith.

        Trusting your children and being absent in their daily lives are two different things, don’t compare the two as it doesn’t work. You’re either a parent or a housemate, which are you? Being friends with my kids is important but being a parent is ultimately more important as I’m responsible for seeing them grow up,develop & mature into adulthood.

        Just to give you an example of what happens when parents don’t take an active role in their kid’s lives: How about those kids that brought firearms to school and hurt/killed several classmates (ex. Columbine anyone?). I’m sure their parents “trusted” them enough to not take any type of involvement in their kids daily lives, that means school work, friends, internet & pc use, what’s in their rooms, finding out if their kids smoke, drink or do drugs, so on & so forth. Was this type of problem commonplace 30 years ago – I think not, unfortunately it seems to be almost commonplace nowadays in school systems across the U.S. – maybe explain that to me if you can because I’m at a loss to explain it any other way. Consider the type of difference that could have been made if the parents of these troubled teens took a more active role in their kids lives and had a clue as to what they were doing.

        If I have to agree with you on one point just to show that I was listening to your argument, I would wholeheartedly agree with your solution on having a computer in a common place, ex. family room where everyone does hang out and it’s much harder to hide your online activity that way & I also agree on implementing penalties for illicit use of the computer (ie. revoking use privileges for a set period of time or maybe indefinitely, depends on what they did).

        Don’t make kids out to be mysterious enigma’s, although kids are different, rules & routines work with all kids – that isn’t a question, it’s pretty much a fact. The only thing that is questionable, is the amount of effort a parent puts into their children, this is definitely the ‘X’ Factor in a child’s development and it is something that definitely changes from household to household.

        – just my 0.02 cents cdn, feel free to agree or disagree.

      • #3089302

        You forgot one …

        by too old for it ·

        In reply to Would you give them a dictionary with all the swear words crossed out?

        You forgot little Lolita, who thinks her parents don’t give a d@mn, and is also of the opinion that any guy under 35 is a child.

        Scary kids are out there …

    • #3089903

      Biblical Responsibility

      by ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Whether you believe it or not, God clearly outlines in His word (the bible) that we are responsible, and will be judged based on how our children turn out. I’m not saying you rule with an iron fist, no, that would be wrong. I’m saying that you should be involved in their lives, and help them to build their own integrity and ability to make valid choices. Monitor them, and tell them they are being monitored and tell them it’s not easy so you’re going to do everything in your ability to help them turn out to be productive members of society. If more parents cared about their children and became an active part of their lives, right from birth, we wouldn’t have near the problems in this world that we have now. Love them first…

      • #3089419

        You’re exactly right

        by blueknight ·

        In reply to Biblical Responsibility

        “Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
        [i]Proverbs 22:6 (Amplified version)[/i]

      • #3089403

        A different view…

        by geekchic ·

        In reply to Biblical Responsibility

        I agree that love and giving some attention is the most important part in raising children. However, I attended a Woman’s Conference in Texas recently and started up a conversation with a young lady that was about to give birth to her first child. We were discussing things like reading to/with them at an early age, rocking them to sleep, cuddling and playing games, the importance of regular bed times, doing homework together, long walks to hunt for cool stuff, etc.

        Another woman came up and started talking about what she felt was important in the “raising up” of children. Her opinion was that “God told her” that she should use a stick that she “lovingly” called “Mr. Stick” to “rule over” her children. In fact she was very proud to say that even though her son was in his middle 20’s and married with children of his own, if she called for him come to her across the baseball field where he coached children, he would be there in about 10 seconds…still to this day! Out of fear….I really don’t think that is what God had in mind. Discipline yes…scare tactics and physical abuse no. Not that I am against an ocassional pop on the rear but I am not a big fan of using sticks…even if God came down and personally told me too!

        • #3089310

          I could have used that stick

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to A different view…

          on your nutcase mother there! 😀

          a weapon should never be needed by a parent to discipline a child. If the flat of your hand across the bottom isn’t enough, then you have much bigger problems to worry about.

    • #3089440

      I don’t understand the problem…

      by unclerob ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Parents are responsible for the safety, well being & ultimate development of their children until they become adults. Ethics are not even a factor when it comes to what their children are doing on computers inside their own home. Who provided the computer to the children, I’m sure they didn’t go out & purchase it themselves (unless Daddy Warbucks is handing out unreal allowances to his kids – that’s another topic of discussion altogether).

      If we implement strict firewall restrictions, usage monitoring & logging along with internet & email content/spam filters along with antivirus & antispyware real-time protection at work without any fear of ethics infractions why should it be any different at home. Of course you should definitely restrict what they do on their computers & monitor what they do on their computers – anything less would make you a lazy & irresponsible parent in my eyes.

      Definitely talk to your kids about computer & internet usage, explain to them that aside from the many positive aspects a computer offers, it also allows access to content that isn’t suitable for children and that they shouldn’t attempt to access that type of material at all regardless of the reason or circumstance. I would also talk to them and let them know that you would be monitoring their computer usage to ensure that they aren’t using this resource that you’ve provided to them for anything that would be considered immoral, unethical, irresponsible or illegal. For example, explain the dangers that chat rooms can pose, that the internet grants a type of anonymity to it’s users, they may think that they’re talking to another young person when in fact they could be communicating with some type of child predator or worse. You should always explain both the positive & negative aspects of using a computer & the internet. We have tv & radio commercials sponsored by the local police that talk about this very situation and how parents should take an active (not reactive) role in monitoring their kid’s computer usage.

      In fact you should be more restrictive in your home. You shouldn’t allow your kids to do whatever they want until they are adults who understand what real responsibilities are and have a good idea of where they’re moral obligations lie.

      Let me tell you something, my immediate moral obligation to my kids is to ensure that they don’t access any type of content on their pc’s/internet that would be considered questionable even for someone who is legally considered to be an adult. That means they won’t illegally download software, music any any other content which would constitute some form of software/music piracy or copyright infringement. They won’t access access inappropriate adult sites containing content not suitable for children (or adults for that matter).

      Just like it’s my responsibility to ensure that my kids don’t view any type of tv program that may contain questionable content, implement any type of v-chip controls in my tv’s if possible to ensure that when I’m not around that they can’t access that type of content even if they try to. Viewer’s discretion is always advised, that means parents should always make sure that the content being accessed is age appropriate and suitable for their children, the same rules apply to computer/internet usage – User’s discretion if you want to call it that, is ALWAYS advised.

      What kind of parent would give their kid ‘carte blanche’ to do whatever they wanted. Kids learn best by rules & routine, if you don’t believe me speak to the best parents, teachers, doctors, child psychologists/psychiatrists & even Dr.Phil himself. Who in the world would ever think that their kid (or any kid for that matter) should be allowed to do what they want on their computer? What’s next, hand the keys to the SUV to the kid when he turns 16?

      If you are a parent, you’re responsibility is to make sure your kid grows & develops into a responsible adult and reaches adulthood. Being the kid’s best friend although admirable, is not even 2nd on the list. If you’re a parent and don’t already know that, you may have some problems, pick up a few books on good parenting skills, speak to a family therapist, do something but get a clue. Giving your kid everything they want without installing some sense of right & wrong & responsibility will lead to a lazy kid without any type of moral identity and at that point, you have kissed any type of ethics out the window.

      When does this monitoring stop? Good question, even when the kids leave home one day when they’re adults, you’ll always be a parent to them but obviously at that point, you have to rely on the fact that the upbringing you’ve provided to them will carry them throughout the rest of their life.

      If you have to pin an age number on it, how about until they stop living at home or up until 18. At that point, you have to assume they’re old enough to make the right decisions, if you haven’t done your parenting job & raised a responsible person, nothing else you do after that age will matter a whole lot. Just remember, nobody is asking you to be a totalitarian nazi about this but you shouldn’t be non-existent either, your presence should always be known and if you’ve raised them right, they’ll be able to come to you and discuss anything with you and you’ll be able to do the same with them.

      …. just my 0.02 cents cdn, feel free to agree or disagree.

      • #3089417

        Well said Rob

        by blueknight ·

        In reply to I don’t understand the problem…

        I totally agree with you. Your comments are worth much more than 0.0176376 USD (exchange rate sucks) 😉

        • #3089415

          thank you….

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to Well said Rob

          it’s awesome to hear that someone else values their children and understands that active parenting makes a real difference in their lives.

          I tend to be verbose sometimes (even I get tired of reading my posts), I’m surprised someone actually read my post, let alone replied to it.

          Thanks for listening, I appreciate the feedback.

    • #3089426

      To spy or not to spy, that is the question

      by blueknight ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      In today’s society it is very definitely appropriate to let parents know about any tools that can help them keep their children safe.

      Give them the information and let them decide whether to install and use it.

      My thinking is that if you install such a tool, you also need to sit down with your kids and tell them about it and that the only reason you have it is to make sure they stay safe. Explain to them the perils of the Internet. If you don’t know about what can happen to your kids online, go talk to Investigators at your local police department. I knew there was a lot of bad stuff out there, but after taking a computer forensics and internet crimes class at the police academy, I was amazed at how much potential there is or kids to be exploited. [b]You need to stay involved with your kids.[/b] If you don’t have the time, don’t even think about having kids.

      Being one who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, I would be inclined to limit computer use for general surfing to certain hours each evening. Surfing to do research for homework assignments wouldn’t apply to the “quota.”

      I would also make sure I spent time with my kids to stay involved with them. If you spend quality time with them (even show them some cool web sites you’ve found) they will appreciate you for it. You also need to let them have some time for themselves. By staying involved, you show them that you love them and you also [b]foster mutual trust.[/b] That trust is worth its weight in gold because if they trust you, they’ll be much more likely to talk to you about problems as well as good times.

      Now, back to the spy software. If you plan to use it, tell your kids and be very clear. If you find that they don’t visit questionable web sites and are responsible in their use of the Internet, you can cut down on your spying activities – or even stop. Remember that trust thing? Be honest with them. They’ll trust you, and you’ll find you can trust them. But it all starts with your staying involved and interacting with them. They are family, not objects or possessions.

      Do it right, and I won’t have to help locate your missing child.

      • #3089409

        I agree 100%…

        by unclerob ·

        In reply to To spy or not to spy, that is the question

        … and I couldn’t have said it better myself, I’m assuming since it would seem that you’re professionally involved in helping keep people safe & help in maintaining law & order , I would say you have alot more than a educated clue or hunch on this topic.

        I hope other people read your post and get a clue as to how serious this topic really is.

    • #3089408

      Ethics of watching the children’s tv screens?

      by mlayton ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      What are the ethics of watching the children’s tv screen? Of course you monitor what they watch. That’s why you are the parent. Of course you implement appropriate controls, even if your version of appropriate controls is you sitting in the room when they watch tv. Why is it different if the screen is connected to the Internet?

      • #3089407


        by unclerob ·

        In reply to Ethics of watching the children’s tv screens?

        You’re absolutely right,
        I don’t see how why some people can’t make the same association. If some tv programs contain adult material which may not be suitable for children and advise that Parental/Viewer discretion is advised, why wouldn’t you apply the same type of thinking when it comes to computer/internet usage?

        I guess some parents are content to let their children raise themselves and then wonder why they turn out the way they do when something goes wrong.

        My question is this, if people are not willing to take an active parenting role in their kid’s lives, why did they become parents to begin with? If some would blame it on unplanned pregnancies, they would only be making my argument for me as it would still lead back to the original question of why parents aren’t actively involved in their kids lives – irresponsible parenting leads to irresponsible children who become parents & repeat the cycle.

    • #3089380

      It is not spying!

      by dboxman7 ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      These are children unless they are emancipated and on their own. This country has warped the concept of parental rights and the “rights” of children. If the need exists: “spy” away. The parent/adult should, again SHOULD, be the better judge of what is appropriate. No, I am not a parent, but I am a teacher and have too often seen the results of hands-off parenting.

    • #3089202

      A parent with the ‘Eye’

      by steve ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Ok, first yes I trust my kids. I do not trust anyone else out there on the internet. I have told the kids since they have been using the PC that everything they do is recorded. Everything they type, they read or see. Every webpage (either they type in, or popup) is recorded. There is a screen shot every 10 seconds. It also looks for keywords. Does not matter if it is typed, viewed or copied to the clip board. Do I look at them? Yes. Every day? No. I look at them if I get alerts from the software. I think is vital to have that on every pc that a child has access to. I will stop the day they move out and get their own PC. If that PC is on my network in my house, it is monitored.

    • #3088957


      by asimmons13 ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      The idea that looking in on childrens computer activities is the equivalent of spying is in the same category of believing that changing a babies diaper and wiping their bottom is pedophilia. Children are NOT small adults. Medical science can show anyone that the brain does not reach maturity until 22 or 23 and lets not forget the hormonal rages of puberty which can vary as much as 5 years in onset and duration. If you cannot monitor your childs activities, computer related or otherwise, you have no business having children. It is a responsibility not a right.

    • #3085792

      JMHO – Based on my own experience

      by ali40961 ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I think that if the parents are going to use any logging sw, the kids should be told. Straight up.
      Secondly, the kids of today have been raised using computers -at school or at home, and many are more technologically savy than their parents -especially teens. So this kind of sw is pretty useless if u have teens.

      For younger children, parents must periodically (meaning FREQUENTLY)check out what their young children are doing while on the computer/internet.
      BE ESPECIALLY wary of chat rooms, whatever the site.

      I have two teenage sons, 17 and 13. They both have their own pcs, and have had them since they were very little. (Mom is a geek) While I did not use Net Nanny or any of the others, I did check their histories and temp files to see what they were viewing. We discussed chat rooms (esp the dangers)as soon as they were at the age to enter them. TALK to your kids. If you are open minded and non judgemental, you will learn a lot. They think they are invincible. You are the parent. You have a responsibility to TRY to keep them safe. My youngest chatted with a possible predator but because I FREQUENTLY checked what he was doing, I caught the suspect and was able to report him. I took control of the conversation immediately, without the suspect knowing I did. MONITOR your kids as much as you possibly can. If you can’t be there, limit their access to the internet. There are many ways this can be done without software.

      Yes my boys went to porn sites. Their pcs became infected very rarely as I use several spyware, etc protection programs. I would rather have spyware/trojan/pest protection than monitoring sw.
      And we talked about the dangers of that. But kids will be kids. And if they want to do something badly enough, they will find a way.

      Lastly, never underestimate your kids. The world they are growing up in is filled with much more information, both good and bad, than the world we were raised in.

    • #3085599

      Why the double standard?

      by techiewayne ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Why is this such a moral issue when it IS the SAFTEY of our children we are talking about? Business do this on a regular basis every day 24/7 for the so called data integrity and to make sure employee’s are productive during business hours. There are absolute horror stories of all kinds of after affects of chat and my space encounters that go bad. So why do we monitor and block tv and internet content we dont want our kids exposed to, to protect them. So why take the most proactive approach possible, utalize the resources/programs available to you. Protect your children whatever it takes.

      • #3085099

        Double standard

        by bsb_lib ·

        In reply to Why the double standard?

        I don’t think it is a double standard at all…I think the problem is far more complex than this. As an example of the difference, I choose where to work and what level of personal information etc to give to that employer. If I don’t mind being drug tested I work in one area. If I do, I limit my career to areas not yet testing. Obviously, kids can’t make that decision. I think, personally, that I come down pretty heavily on observation and transparency for everyone…but I can hear many kids in the background (depending on their age) saying “is it okay then if I have the ability to watch what you do?” And I would have to say, at least up until an age that would be determined by each child, that it’s my job as a parent to “know best”. I DO think that transparency and communication are so important because I think that overall this really does make sense, but that it also could create serious psychological issues. Many of us know an intrusive parent. What is healthy to them may not be to us. How will their kids be affected by these issues?

    • #3085127

      Up to the parent

      by nicknielsen ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I agree with you that an active involved parent is the best approach. However, events conspire and we can’t always be there for our kids. Would I install tracking software for those occasions? I don’t know. But I would defenitely install NetNanny or some other screening software.

      What age to stop? When you determine they are old enough to browse & surf responsibly.

      If they complain? Your house, your rules.

    • #3085048

      Reasons to Monitor your children…

      by steve ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      First we have a 7 year old girl, 11 year old boy and a 13 year old girl. Second, I have told the kids that everything they do is recorded. A screen does pop up when ever they log in and reminds them.

      OK I have posted on this topic a few days ago. I have come back and looked and seen a portion of the people are against it. I just sat down with our 11 year old boy and asked him about the monitoring. He is aware that I monitor everything they do on ALL (7) PC’s in our house. The software that I use is installed on their computer. This software will search all text on a page, as well as text that is typed or received via email or chat. If certain ‘Keywords’ are found, then an alert is sent to me via email. At that time when I get an alert, I will look into their logs. The alert tells me what time certain words were detected, so I look at only the logs around that time. If the keywords are bad (example the word SEX is one of the key words. Sometimes I get an alert and I look at the word Sex Scandal is on then I will step in and either talk to them or if the situation warrants pull their PC access.

      Example- A few months ago I got an alert that the 13 year old girl typed our address. I looked into this and found she was talking to a college boy and lied to him about her age. She told him she was 17 years old. Luckily I was at my PC when this alert came in. I went to her and talked to her about it. I then showed her on the internet about the danger of doing that. My question is, what would have happened if I had no clue. If she talked to him for awhile and then one day they agreed to meet? Was he really a college student? Was he some older man/women that was looking for young girls? I will never know what could have happened, but I can lay my head down on my pillow each night knowing that I have helped to keep my child safe.
      I also know this is not fool proof. The younger we start our kids on PC, the more knowledgeable they get.
      I can not really say at what age I will stop monitoring them. I think I will keep doing this as long as they have access to any computers in my house.

      In a perfect world we would never have to do this. In a perfect world you would never have to lock your car our your house. In a perfect world we would never need to worry about anybody harming us or stealing from us. We insure our cars, boats, bike, houses etc.., why not have piece of mind insurance on our kids? Just a little bit that helps.

      These are my thoughts on this. Agree if you want or disagree. That is your choice. Do understand that if any of your kids come over and use my computers, they will be monitored.

    • #3085034

      Until the Age of Maturity

      by aaron a baker ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      It is not only ok.
      In today’s hyped up and crazy “Sick” world, its mandatory.
      If you don’t know what your child is up to, how can you steer him/her from wrong to right? How can we defend them?
      We all know of the pit falls on the web, not to mention the attractive traps that the unsuspecting teens fall for or perhaps worse all that “wonderful” Porn that is so freely handed out to entice and attract.
      Then what about the part where the chat rooms come in and you meet some really strange and seriously deranged types on there, who will protect you child if you don’t?
      These then are only some of the questions that must be answered.
      When does it end?
      It ends when the “Child” has reached an age where he/she knows the difference and “acts accordingly”.
      It ends when the parent feels that the child is no longer bait for the creeps.
      The numbers don’t matter, being thirteen or eighteen, doesn’t make a person dumb or brilliant.
      If he’s Eighteen and still going to sick porn sites, something is very wrong and as a parent we have a clear duty to determine the level of danger to our child regardless of age. If we are doing our jobs, that is.
      It finally ends when the kid is observed to be using the Net, “A Very Dangerous thing” Wisely.
      That’s where it ends.
      This isn’t about invasion of privacy.
      In your parent’s home, the only privacy that you are entitled to is the privacy that your Parents grant you, that’s it, that’s all.
      This is about “Protection”.
      Protection of the children that we love above life and the means to defend them, even if it means defending them against themselves.
      When they finally grow up, they usually see the light, and then, it ends.
      Thank God 🙂
      Warmest Regards
      Aaron 😉

    • #3084580

      Unethical not to monitor your children!

      by don’tquityourdayjob ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      It’s unethical not to monitor your children – and I’m not just talking about their Internet usage either! Parents that do not monitor their children should be held accountable for said child’s actions.

      Anyone who would not want you monitoring your child’s Internet usage is probably up to something that a parent wouldn?t like one of their children being involved in.

      I monitor who my children “hang out” with, what they watch on TV, what they say, what they do, what they eat. I tell them when to go to bed, when to wake up, when they are allowed to talk (little hard sometimes). We even tell them what to wear!

      What in the wide world of sports would make someone think I (or my spouse) shouldn?t be allowed to monitor what they do on the Internet?

    • #3084575

      child neglect?

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      There are people here that think that paying attention to what their children do is “spying”.

      These are people that are poor parents, or have never been parents themselves.

      Shame on you. Hope your kids survive the experience DISPITE you and your poor parental skills.

    • #3086132

      Until They Understand

      by steelehawke ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I think that it’s ok to spy on your kids in any manner until they are 16! After 16 it’s just an invasion of their privacy! Just don’t let them find out about it!! At the same time teach them right from wrong- combined with the spying, you could determine, dynamically, how much more or less spying is necessary. All parents, who care, never stop spying on their kids (34-year olds often get the odd phone call to “find out how they’re doing”) but the clever ones make sure that it does not become intrusive!

      • #3085217

        Right there with you!

        by marketingtutor. ·

        In reply to Until They Understand

        Yes!!! The spying must never be told, except in the most extreme circumstances. I do, however, believe like you said, that its a really great way to see how you as a parent are doing in your guidance of your child. The sad part is that I believe that most parents are using it as a last resort to find out what thier children are up to (cause the children are already clamming up and not communicating).

        In my experience, as well as the cumulative experience of others, spying has not been necessary, but when indulged in it really did provide a stellar review of the parents in how they had created a morality within the child, by sheer example alone, with a little loving direction.

        From my understanding of the sexuality of young children, there are different forms of spying needed for boys vs. girls. Boys usually are headed for a web page with bad content, and girls for the IM, IRC, or some form of chat room. Guys want the nude pics, bomb making specs, and just general naughtiness. Girls, well, they like relationships, interaction with people, feelings, *connection*. And while boys do get into the chat rooms, and in many cases need monitoring too, must more of the the male time is spent serving the testosterone in thier veins.

    • #3085932

      Monitoring Kids

      by ydesrosiers ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      Okay, I am responding as both a parent, grandparent, teacher and tech liaison at our high school. In these roles it is your duty to protect and monitor your kids or charges. Assuming that kids have the rights and privilages of adults is, in my opinion, a mistake and irresponsible. You are correct in assuming that most kids “out-knowledge” their parents when it comes to technology. As a result, they have assumed a position of power over the adult supervisor. They have the expertise but in many cases, not the savvy to stay safe. Do parents have a right to enter their kids rooms and search for contraband etc? I say yes, they have the right and whether or not they use it is up to the parent and the level of trust developed. The same goes for the use of monitoring software. Who wants that knock on the door by the Feds because your kid has been scamming, downloading, threatening, or participating in other illegal activity? Worse yet who wants the horror of a child gone missing because some predator laid a trap. If that child is a minor, who will ultimately be blame? Face it, many kids are great, altruristic and wise beyond their years, but many are also out of control and spend more effort towards negative activities than positive. As far as age is concerned, if they are minors you have the right and responsibility to control their behaviors. Will the kids like it? Heck no, at least not now. In retrospect perhaps they will. Parents need to parent. Since monitoring software is a new tool for the digital age, parents need that tool to even the playing ground. Should you help that parent set up the software and teach them how to use it? If you choose not to help, how would you feel if their unmonitored kid did something illegal or became a victim of a predator and you could have provided the power to potentially prevent the situation?

      • #3085867

        No privacy on the net

        by porttech ·

        In reply to Monitoring Kids

        I am a parent of small children and I intend to make it clear that any site they visit or anything they write on the web is public. Either their parents can install spyware, or a peer could make it public. I will probably install spyware and monitior it if I think there is a need to, or randomly. They shouldn’t do anything that would make them uncomfortable if thier parents or their entire school knew about. I used to work in real estate and would see other realtors dissing someone’s house or badmouthing the owners during an open house. I always went on the assumption that I should act as if a nannycam was installed in every house I visited. Occassionally the owners did install nannycams to see what the prospective buyers had to say. Now I work in IT and try never to write anything that I wouldn’t want to see in the local newspaper or my bosses desk the next day. Just as at work, the computer belongs to the parents or the company who are responsible for its security. I consider any online activity to be public. As other’s stated it is a parents duty to keep their children safe. Would you let your child walk down to the corner porn shop with a bunch of 50 year old guys? The virtual world is real, with real people and real danger.

    • #3086932

      Have you dealt with a molested child?

      by silversidhe ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I remember being young and I would have hated some adult spying on or watching or trying to control me. Now I am the enemy a “Grump” and along with this time spent being alive I have seen many ugly things – PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN. Once the damage has been done you cannot go back. I don’t think there is much worse than trying to deal with or even look in the eyes of an innocent that has been abused, damaged, beaten or otherwise destroyed and I have heard that the damage is permanent. I have friends who were molested as children and known others who lived through this and from what I have learned from them I don’t think it ever goes away or fades or what the rest of us would like to believe – that such a person can be healed – they survive some of them but I think they are forever damaged. If I thought a child or even a teenager was behaving in a dangerous manner on the internet I would cut them off without a second thought. But then I will never forget the private investigator I used to know trying to drink himself to death and telling me about how he finally found a missing child but was too late (usually the case) but this time the child was found in a laundromat dryer. I wont give you the rest of the details – they are truly horrible. This child had been sucked into a precarious game that could not end well and didn’t. Predators know how to manipulate and control children – this is what they do and unfortunately the internet has opened up a world of opportunity for them that could have never been imagined in the past and parents are cluless of the danger until they lose a child. This situation is out of control and as adults we are all responsible for the safety of any child that crosses our path. So I say YES!

    • #3086870

      Clearly you don’t have kids

      by bschaettle ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      bsb_lib, you don’t have children of your own, do you? One of the few rights that children have is the right to expect that their parents will protect them. This starts with good prenatal care and car seats and typically never ends, although after about age 20 or so most parents will back off a little. Monitoring and correcting childrens’ behavior is what good parents DO.

      “A parent’s job is to raise adults, not children.”

    • #3086638

      My house my rules

      by skingan ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      I have a simple opinion as a parent, my house, my rules. As long as my children live under my roof they are subject to my rules. As for internet use, I do not consider it spying to keep track of what they are doing on the internet. The internet can be a dangerous place for anyone. It is not just teens that are putting way too much personal data out there for others to see. I make it simple. If you use a computer that I own then you can expect it to be monitored. If you go where you don’t belong then shame on you. Too many people today act as though they owe their children the world. Sure we would like to give them every advantage possible but everything beyond a safe loving home is a privilege. There is a difference between the right to something and having the privilege to it.

    • #3086609

      Parenting and protecting

      by phatdragonlady ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      My kids have had their own computers since they were 3 years old, with internet access, with supervision. We talk about predators on “My Space” and surfing accidentally onto porn sites. I’m sure they’re no angels but talking to them and letting them know that we can an will track their usage and chats. So far, so good. Mommy and Daddy giveth and Mommy and Daddy will taketh away if need be!

    • #3086499

      If they live under the parents house, they have to follow the parent’s rule

      by dbucyk ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      If you own the internet and the computer, and you do not live with your parents, then when they move out and are on their own, what they do is their business. You can only guide them.

    • #3084221

      A site for your friend …

      by tnunetworksupport ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      The FAQ answers some basic questions and (IMHO) provides a general overview for non-IT folks.

    • #3074756

      Ethics of watching computer screens

      by duraman ·

      In reply to Ethics of watching children’s computer screens

      In my view parents have all the rights to snoop on their children. The internet is a good thing but considering the dangers froth with and the vulnerability of some children it is very fair to know what they are up to when using the internet. After all it is you that feed,clothe and take care of their needs. And in any case, should something happen to them by using the internet, it is you that would suffer the consequence. A child is a child and not an adult. Children must be protected and it is not about children’s rights, it is all about responsibility. Protecting your child certainly does not mean infringing their rights.

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