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Old 10-11-2010, 11:38 AM   #1
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Parental Controls for Internet


Apologies if this is not an appropriate topic for this forum (Mods, if not pls feel free to delete.)

I have a 5 1/2 yr old and 8 yr old who I am now introducing to the computer..and of course the internet. They are using a new desktop purchased earlier this year running Windows 7 and IE8. I am trying to get my arms around how to manage their internet access. I've set them up each with their own login to Win7. The access controls I've found in Win7 and IE8 are fairly useless. The Win7 Parental Controls allow me to specify times of day each can use the computer...would much rather have a paramater that controls maximum time per day (e.g. one hour) rather than specifying say only between 5 and 6pm.

But most importantly...there are some neat sites on the internet like www.spellingcity.com... but I find the IE8 Ratings Advisor pretty useless. Am I missing something that is avail in Win7 and/or IE8? Or is there some third party software I should get? When I do a search I find some things like this...http://parentalcontrolbar.org/ and this.. http://softforyou.com/

Is there a "leading" solution out there? Net Nanny? Very sad that Microsoft can't do better on this in this day and age than they seem to have.

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Old 10-11-2010, 12:17 PM   #2
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Parental Controls for Internet


Though I have never used any of the "nanny" software, I do have to do extensive filtering for the users on my network. This is accomplished for us via the firewall/router. Many consumer home firewalls/routers have access control to rated websites also. Check to see if yours does.

Here is a review of some software suites that do what you are looking for: http://internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com/

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Old 10-12-2010, 06:00 AM   #3
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Parental Controls for Internet


http://explore.live.com/windows-live...tials?os=other
The Windows Live Essentials package has some more advanced parental controls in it.

Also there is http://www.opendns.com
This allows you to block unsafe categories and specific websites. This is what many schools and government organizations use and it's free.
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:39 PM   #4
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Parental Controls for Internet


Thanks to you both. What a learning experience this has been. I've unexpectedly had to do quite a bit of research in the past few days to figure out the solution for my needs. When I saw the horrendously poor control capability of Win 7 and IE8 I figured I needed some third party software. Net Nanny seems to be far and away the one to get the best reviews....but I don't need a fraction of it's features and at $40 EVERY year it is both overkill and way too expensive. Some folks pointed me to use my router.....but trying to find out what linksys provides and how it works is like a needle in a haystack...and then I learned that this is a bad solution as kids could circumvent is they can find a neighbor's unprotected network...so client level protection is better. Being as my kids are 5 and 8 I've learned that my first and largest by far priority is to have "whitelist only" capability. OpenDNS does not support "whitelist only" in the free version. But Windows Live Essentials DOES. Woo hoo. So after some hassles getting that downloaded and my account figured out...I have it up and running. Seems like many of these filtering software packages offer the useless-to-me capability of controlling during which hours each day my kid uses the internet. Well who gives a crap about that? What I care about is HOW MUCH time per day they use it....and would prefer to be able to cap that...and so who cares if they use their alloted time in the morning..afternoon...whatever...but Win Live doesn't do that...but Win Live will meet my needs for at least a few years. So thatnks again for the suggestions.
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Old 10-18-2010, 11:08 AM   #5
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Parental Controls for Internet


Just wanted to add some add'l info for those who might stumble on this in the future. I find the Windows Essentials Live to be quite robust in functionality ...at least for purposes of basic controlling access for a younger child. I really like that it has "whitelist only" capability...and not only that but it's all internet driven so I can administer from any machine. When my kids get a "blocked site" message..they can easily click a button that sends me a request email which has all the details and URLs for me to click and approve, deny, whatever. Activity monitoring is pretty decent too. Includes program control as well as internet control. Best part is it did not cost me anything!!
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:56 AM   #6
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Parental Controls for Internet


I have heard that Live Essentials has one major issue. If your Live account get's logged out for some reason then your protection disappears with it. I don't run parental controls so I can't say for sure how this works, but it makes it easy to bypass the protection once it's figured out, from what I hear.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:00 AM   #7
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Parental Controls for Internet


Quote:
Originally Posted by poppameth View Post
I have heard that Live Essentials has one major issue. If your Live account get's logged out for some reason then your protection disappears with it. I don't run parental controls so I can't say for sure how this works, but it makes it easy to bypass the protection once it's figured out, from what I hear.
Thanks for the tip. I presume you don't mean account "logged out" but rather account "eliminated"? I have logged in and out of my Windows Live account from numerous computers...and the home desktop the kids use has preserved the protection. I would think the probability of my Windows Live account just vanishing would be small to infinitesimal...but if that's not correct and Windows Live has a tendency to just randomly completely eliminate accounts...then yeah that IS a major problem.
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:46 PM   #8
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Parental Controls for Internet


In my opinion, the absolute best solution for net filtering - free or otherwise - is attacking the issue from a DNS angle.

There are free services you can sign up for (OpenDNS is a good one) which enable you to build a block list of certain websites and monitor which websites are being visited over certain time intervals.

They'll give you an IP address or two to use for your DNS server. All you have to do is use that for your DNS and bam, instant impregnable filter. Sites you've blocked simply won't resolve, and everything the kids do will be logged. No cute workarounds and no goofing around with Windows accounts.

The only remotely complicated part is setting your static DNS servers at home. If you're interested in this option I'd be happy to give step-by-step instructions. (2-3 minutes of work, tops.)

Unfortunately I don't think it can limit the amount of time spent on the internet, but since everything's logged, you can just as easily verbally impose a limit and strap on the dad pants when the rules aren't followed.


Last edited by RedHelix; 10-20-2010 at 12:53 PM.
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