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Household Technology Rules for Kids? 136

An anonymous reader asks: "My wife and I are in the process of adopting kids- We're hoping to adopt older boys (8 and up) from within the US. We've gone through the state mandated courses, but those courses don't really cover how to limit the kids with respect to technology (the Internet, TV content filtering, cell phones, MP3 players, etc). The latest strong potential son is a 14 year old child that is computer aware. I do not want to completely shelter the child, but I do want to establish boundaries- for example, I'm not going to install filtering software on his computer, but the computer will be in a public place in the house." How would you control a child's exposure to new technologies, especially when a few of those technologies are bundled with inherent dangers in addition to their great advantages (like the Internet)?
"I want to give him the freedom to learn and be creative, but also try to avoid the nastiness on the net (like the RIAA). I want him to have the freedom not just to play on the computer, but to truly use it. From everything I've been told about the kids in the foster system, they do best with a structured environment- something predictable and stable, so I think a set of rules for him to start with would be good. I'm asking for some ideas for appropriate rules/boundaries for kids, including things to watch for, and appropriate punishments (something akin to 'you broke the server, so you'll have to rebuild it, with dad's help')."
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Household Technology Rules for Kids?

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  • Don't bother. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by keesh ( 202812 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @06:43PM (#16117492) Homepage
    Don't bother even trying, you'll just make a fool out of yourself. Your kids already know about everything you think they shouldn't.

    Heck, my mother thinks I (who am 23 years old with long term significant other) shouldn't be using the Internet at night in case I find pornography.
    • Re:Don't bother. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by donaggie03 ( 769758 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {reyemso_d}> on Friday September 15, 2006 @06:51PM (#16117540)
      I agree. A 14 year old isn't stupid. If you should do anything, it would be education. Make sure the kid knows about the evils he could find out on the internet, so he can be truly aware of the choices he makes, and thier consequences. But don't try to block him from those choices. If you do, it'll only make a kid (who has had a pretty sucky life as it is) think you don't trust him, leading to secrets and lies and etc. If the kid wants to do something wrong, he'll figure out how to get the job done, whether you are watching over him or not, but NOT watching over him is in itself a bigger statement to convey.
      • No limits (Score:4, Insightful)

        by anomaly ( 15035 ) <> on Friday September 15, 2006 @09:12PM (#16118201)
        Why not provide booze and hookers - after all, at 14, he would probably just find those things on his own anyway. In fact, why establish any limits at all?

        Boundaries and limits for kids are like the guardrails or jersey walls on bridges across a deep chasm - they provide security and safety. Perhaps a 14 year old knows a great deal about computers - perhaps not. Setting limits, building relationship with him, and "inspecting what you expect" (aka trust but verify) will be a major boon to him.

        Not establishing limits - including protecting him from spyware and pornography - is really stupid.

        A 14 year old is a big child. Science tells us that his brain will still grow and develop for about 10 more years. He needs structure, discipline and guidance. I highly recommend the book "It's better to build boys than to mend men" by the founder of Chik-fil-a. He has built and operated foster homes for kids and knows a great deal about how to help them.
        • We have limits in my household:
          • no running with scissors
          • no fingers in the light sockets
          • no hitting

          What we don't have, are arbitrary limits, just for the sake of limits.

          Structure, discipline, and guidance are not actually required. I mean this really, earnestly, sincerely, factually, observably, empirically.

          You can confirm this for yourself by investigating your local Sudbury school. [] You will observe kids who do not have those three things, and yet are doing very well for themselves. They aren't censored,

        • by RPoet ( 20693 )
          A 14 year old is a big child. Science tells us that his brain will still grow and develop for about 10 more years. He needs structure, discipline and guidance.

          Likewise, a 19-year-old is a big child. Science tells us that his brain will still grow and develop for about 5 more years. How close to completion must the brain development be before we stop treating human beings like babies?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
          Why not provide booze and hookers - after all, at 14, he would probably just find those things on his own anyway.

          No hookers, but I was allowed a glass of wine with a meal and during celebrations by the time I was fourteen. It doesn't seem to have affected me too badly; in general I drink less than my peers these days.

          • by Parsec ( 1702 )
            My parents let me taste beer and wine but they had bad taste in both, so I grew up thinking they were awful. Let your kids taste the nastiest, bitterest stuff you can find. ;^)
        • Booze is not sold to kids and providing it to them is a crime. In some European families it was considered ok to give a young adult a little taste of wine during dinner. Indeed,my grandfather used to let me sample his wine now and then. If anything it taught me the concept of moderation and not drinking to excess and not every day. Hookers ? Most hookers won't service a minor and most minors are not out looking for them. If he needs a hooker when he comes of age he's going to find one regardless. Porn
    • If you don't want to resort to a technilogical solution, try an oral agreement with them

      They can look at all of the porn they want, but only on Bea Arther. (See also: The Golden Girls)

    • IMO, just give him a week without a filter, then check the history after that week, and if there's anything questionable just talk to him and say "you really shouldn't go on porn sites, it is just plain low, and it's illegal" or something like that, and he will listen. My parents told me the same thing and if you looked at my history you'd find nothing questionable.
  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @06:44PM (#16117494) Journal
    Putting all PCs in a common room will strongly limit a child's desire to download dubious material. Do this both ways: use your own PC only in family areas of the house.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jazman_777 ( 44742 )
      Mod parent up. Pun intended.
    • Rule 2: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Do not try to find Daddy's stash of porn."
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by jascat ( 602034 )
      That's where the difference between parent and child comes in. Parents get priveleges because they are the adults. They have greater responsibilities and know better the differences between right and wrong. I personally would not do this for the fact that I think it is okay to download porn for my wife and I to enjoy in the privacy of our bedroom. The kids (though we don't have any yet), don't have the privelege of downloading porn because they are underage and it may harm their development. They have not h
      • by nko321 ( 788903 )
        The mentality of adults having priviledges that kids don't have makes kids curious. You always want something you can't have.

        The policy makes sense on paper and a lot of kids will be fine with this. The majority will end up with an overgrown sense of curiosity.

        The real world is way, way less structured / just once you get there. Becoming a parent makes a person acutely aware of this. Parenting isn't about right and wrong. It's way more of a head game than that. Not to say it's all about psychology, I'm just
    • by drcagn ( 715012 )
      Perhaps, but when I was 14, the PC was in my dad's office only, and only really knows how many times I snuck on the PC at night and beat off right there in my dad's chair.
      • by drcagn ( 715012 )
        That was supposed to be "whatever deity you believe in" only really knows how many times..."
    • I really think it is a great idea to limit the locations of PCs in a house. My wife and I will have one each in our offices... but when we have kids some day there will be a central location as well. Obviously it would be impossible for us to have all of our computers inthe same room (as seperate offices), but we will make te environment less of a double standard by always keeping our office doors open so that they can see that we follow our own rules.

      I've known people that have allowed kids to have their o
      • by dosius ( 230542 )
        Fully agree with you there. Though if I had kids, I might keep a computer and a moron box in my own room in case I want to watch something not appropriate for the kids late at night while they're down, I'd never think of putting either thing in their rooms. They would have to watch TV and use the computer with their parents' eyes on them. I don't believe in arbitrary limits myself but you do have to set some kind of limit. There's just stuff that's not good to expose a budding young mind to.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Robot Randy ( 982296 )
      Actually, I have no problem with putting a PC in the kids room.

      I password protected the startup so they couldn't get past BIOS, put a security screw in the case so they couldn't get the side open, and pull the ethernet cable from the switch as I only get that PC on the web when I download patches and updates.

      I let them surf on the "common" computer.
    • by Parsec ( 1702 )
      That's a good one: no tv/videogames/computer in the bedroom. But there really isn't any replacement for just being there, talking to them and knowing what's going on in their life.
  • Don't do anything. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by drcagn ( 715012 )
    Your child will have to grow up someday.
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) *
      Oh, I don't know. I think perhaps that he should do just enough to make the kid think he's really hiding his porn. That sort of thing is a part of the maturation process and 14 is the right age to start doing it. 'Bout the right time to start learning how to deal with real, live perverts on his own as well.

      Ha, ha, only serious.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 15, 2006 @06:56PM (#16117576)
    Every time the kid uses vi instead of emacs, he has to go stand in the corner for an hour!
    • by Kesch ( 943326 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @07:21PM (#16117695)
      FATHER: Son what is that your looking at on the Internet?

      KID(startled): Dad, it's uhh... it's not what it looks like. I clicked on a link by accident, I didn't mean to go there.

      FATHER: I'm not talking about the site; I don't care about that. I'm talking about your browser. How could you? How could you use IE? I thought I had raised you properly to surf porn with a secure browser, but I see where I've failed. This is the last straw; I'm putting Linux on the machine.

      KID: But, what about my video games?

      FATHER: You'll just have to spend all your time signing petitions for Linux ports or sacrifice a virgin to get them to run with Wine.
  • No sliderule until they've mastered the abacus!
  • Its called parenting (Score:3, Informative)

    by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @07:10PM (#16117654) Journal

    It's called parenting. It involves spending lots of time with your kids. Every day. Talking to them. Listening to them. And enforcing and adjusting the limits and boundaries based on that.

    There is no other solution.


  • by InsurgentGeek ( 926646 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @07:13PM (#16117666)
    I hate the idea of filters, key stroke loggers, etc. What are you going to do with the results? Telling the kid you caught them doing "x" also reveals the fact that you are monitoring them. My geeky answer has worked for me. I run a squid proxy server in the house. I showed my son how cool it was that I could generate reports on all websites visited, etc. He got the message. Twice in four years I've had to sit him down and say "x" is not OK and no - normal people don't do "a", "b" or "c" - especially with barnyard animals.
    • by 4D6963 ( 933028 )

      Twice in four years I've had to sit him down and say "x" is not OK and no - normal people don't do "a", "b" or "c" - especially with barnyard animals.

      Agreed with the other AC poster, it's pretty 1984-esque, by doing this you're creating a mini-dictature of the right-thought. When I hear stuff like this I feel glad that my father couldn't even turn a computer on.

      Once I spent three weeks in America in a host family, and one night the father of the family who just came back from the computer right after I le

      • I'm quite disappointed. I would expect the offspring of a slashdotter to have learned how to bypass a proxy. It will turn out to be a useful life skill. The first time this became apparent to me was when I was trying to use a school machine to look up some things about how to configure XFree86 on Linux, and the proxy decided that any page which had more than a threshold number of 'x's in it was pornography.
  • You seem like you are going to be a involved parent, so you can take the steps you have already taken and just apply good parenting in general. Since the computer is in a public place, that will help a good deal - I would do the same. Then, just be attentive to what he is doing on the computer. Check the history and programs he has installed. Poke around every now and then and you should be fine. If is able to hide things from you, even when you are looking for them, then that is a good thing I guess. He is
  • Any suggestions on what would be the best operating system to start a kid out on? I figure if a kid has to start out on something that is less friendly than Windows, it will give him or her less time to do risky things on the Net, if you know what I mean.
    • OS? Linux. Distro? Slack. Of course, if they _do_ figure that one out, you may end up wishing you stuck with a dumbed-down OS. *g*
    • Just go with Windows XP. It is the most common OS for the average user. Assuming the kid is not a computer geek, he is not going to be incredibly interested in how to do *neat stuff* on the computer. He will most likely be using it for web browsing, email, chatting, and the occasional paper for school. Let him learn to use (or stick to) what he is most likely going to use any other place. If the kid is a geek and wants to toy with something else, then maybe linux or something else will be worth it. But it w
    • What OS exists that is less friendly than Windows? Having used MacOS, Linux, FreeBSD and Windows in various capacities over the last 15 years, Windows takes the cake at being the biggest, least friendly pain in the ass I've had the displeasure to deal with. And this includes ex-bosses I've had deported for their crimes.
  • by nosredna ( 672587 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @07:24PM (#16117708)
    Since you're adopting a teenager, you're going to have a radically different experience than everyone else here. I don't have kids, but I have two nieces, one foster and one adopted (14 and 7), and there are a lot of things different from what my parents had to deal with from my brother and I.

    Since you aren't starting with a child from birth, you have to go through a period of actually getting to know them before you can really decide what kind of rules there need to be. Talk to them, and find out what they know already, and what they're used to, and work from there. A 14 year old new to your family isn't going to react well to arbitrary rules, especially if they're radically different from what he's used to. Anything that's much different from his normal should be explained. You don't have to explain everything, obviously, but you need to be open with them on the reasons for things that they may not agree with.

    I recommend keeping the electronic entertainment in common areas, but that's more of a spending time together thing. The last thing you want to do with a newly adopted kid is to encourage them to spend time away from the rest of the family. Give them space, but make sure that they've got some draw to be out and about with everyone else.
  • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @07:51PM (#16117876) Homepage
    1. Don't take a bath with a plugged in toaster.
    2. Don't stand behind a car when it's backing down the driveway.
    3. Don't use my electric razor on the cat (or dog, or gerbils, or ...).
    4. When the stove has that jumpy stuff coming out of the cooking part, don't stick your hand in it.
    5. Do not put the cat in the freezer because it seems warm. THe cat likes it warm.
    6. Even if the cat likes it warm, don't put it in the microwave.
    7. Don't put your little brother in the dryer to give him a ride.
    8. Even if they're called *safety* pins, you still can't stick them in electrical sockets.
    9. Do not take pictures of mommy or daddy in the shower.
    10. Television will kill you. Really.
  • Then they'll really learn how to use it.
    • Then they'll really learn how to use it.

      The parent is joking-- but that's not a bad idea. I mean, how many of us learned to use computers by slogging through the command lines of our C64/Apple IIe/XT-PCs?

  • Squid, and log reviews. Let the kid have his/her privacy, but monitor the logs for bad things, and correct as needed. For bonus points, don't lock bad sites out of the proxy the first time - but do so for repeat violations.
  • and a carton of smokes.
  • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @08:30PM (#16118039) Homepage Journal
    he calls it "bad guys"

    (he'll ask, "can I bad guys")

    I know I'll burn in bad parent hell, but he can type iddqd and idkfa by rote, and has a jolly good time.
    he launches it, randomly selects a level, and starts it from the windows wrapper..

    his favorite really is the chainsaw, he laughs and laughs..

    I don't intend to set limits, but his only computer where he plays is two feet to the right of my main computer & rig

    I watch what he does, and he watches what I do- and he hates to play deathmatch mode with me.... he dies a lot...

    he can finish the first three levels all on his own..

    the little bugger is three... so- my tolerance is probabbly too high, and not at all helpful...

    • by PMuse ( 320639 )
      I know I'll burn in bad parent hell, . . .
      he hates to play deathmatch mode with me.... he dies a lot...

      For that, if for nothing else, you deserve to burn. Let the kid win some, already!
  • by drt1245 ( 994583 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @09:05PM (#16118184)
    As a 16 yr old, I feel compelled to answer.

    By putting restrictions or limitations on computer/internet/etc usage, you will accomplish nothing. It will signify your lack of trust, which is a bad way to start. Additionally, with even a small amount of computer knowledge, such restrictions are generally easily bypassed.

    The same applies to TV filtering. By doing so, right off the bat, you are basically saying there is _no_ trust, and that is a very bad way to go.

    That said, it would be a good idea to make sure that he understands what you allow and what you don't, however, long discussions are a bad idea, especially on topics he probably isn't comfortable discussing with you. Remember that he probably knows you won't be happy to catch him downloading illegal music, so repeating it is just annoying. Short and sweet is your best friend.

    As for rules/boundaries, several things should be kept in mind. If he spends a lot of time on the computer, so be it. Remind him and encourage him to do other things, but forcing him to not use the computer will just piss him off, and who knows, maybe he'll end up as a computer science major. If he seems to be switching windows every time you walk by, he's probably doing something he shouldn't be doing.

    As for punishment, remember that there are a lot worse things that he could be doing than illegally downloading music or watching porn. If you see him downloading music, at least you know he isn't out doing drugs. And if you catch him watching porn, the embarrassment he goes through would be far worse than any punishment you could give.
    • by Shados ( 741919 )
      I both agree and disagree with you.
      I definately see where you're coming from here, and honestly, it makes sense. There are few gotchas around though

      For example, while you as a slashdot reader are probably slightly more understanding of the technological world than the average, a lot of teens are flat out retarded when it comes to it (like older folks, really).
      That causes an issue, where the things thay you tell them are out of bounds, simply don't compute. Remember a large amount (the majority?) of teen
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I've registered three /. accounts so far, but it's always months between uses, so the UN's are well and truly gone from AC it is. As another 16 year old, I'll chip in here too....

        Monitoring is probably wasting your time. A 16 year old will always find a way...if you set up a proxy and monitor everything coming in through the net, he'll find another way...get a mate to burn him a few DVD's a week, perhaps. In my opinion, this leaves protection and education as your options.

        Education isn't easy.
    • By putting restrictions or limitations on computer/internet/etc usage, you will accomplish nothing. It will signify your lack of trust,

      So what? No parent with a smidgen of sense trusts kids. (Except with in an extremely limited domain.) I wouldn't trust a kid with matches, power tools... or unfettered acess to the internet. Using all these things takes experience and judgement - which children lack, and must be taught.

      As for rules/boundaries, several things should be kept in mind. If h

    • As a 10th grader, I'm sure you can understand that there is a world of difference between a 10th grader and an 8th grader. For the usual 14 year old, I would argue that restriction and basic monitoring are certainly valid parenting. For the usual 16 year old, I would argue that it's important to discuss the differences between good and bad behavior online, but beginning at 16, and more so at 17+, "All I can do is teach you right from wrong--the rest is up to you," kicks in very solidly. Monitoring a 16 y
    • Sorry - you have no clue at all. When I was 16 I could have written that. My brother and I *did* pretty much grow up doing whatever with not too much supervision. Now we have kinds and we both agree it was an utterly insane way to raise kids. We didn't do too much, but what some of our friends did was pretty crazy. Some of them are lucky to be alive. Actually a couple aren't alive.
  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @09:19PM (#16118223) Homepage
    This isn't a technology question; it's a sociology and psychology question. What on earth makes you think that we're qualified to help with it? While there are certainly some people on /. who have some applicable parenting experience (and they'll probably post it), the apparent demographics of the /. population suggests they're a small minority. In fact, I'd anticpate that the majority of people responding are closer in age, experience, and attitude to that 14-year-old than they are to the parents of one. Hell, I'm biologically old enough to have a kid that age, but I don't... which gives me just enough wisdom to understand that I don't know a thing about how to parent one. The college students and twentysomethings her don't even have that. If you want parenting advice, better to ask Doctor Spock, than Mister Spock.
    • by ShmuelP ( 5675 )
      In fact, I'd anticpate that the majority of people responding are closer in age, experience, and attitude to that 14-year-old than they are to the parents of one.
      Which actually makes this discussion even more valuable, assuming that you know how to watch for bias in the advice you receive. Hopefully, anyone taking on a responsibility such as parenting will already understand that.
  • Supervision and limitation are the most important points. I would say that making your monitoring twofold would be the best approach. Let him know that you will be able to trace his footprints online without you having to look over his shoulder, as well as letting him know the boundaries. Also, being physically present in the room when the computer is being used a good portion of the time will discourage the _innapropriate_ behavior. Don't give the message that you are going to be sitting next to him whene
  • We have a teen that likes to fart around late into the night being distracted by various technology items instead of sleeping and/or doing homework, so we use technology to control technology:

    1) The TV is plugged into an ordinary lamp timer (7-day programmable). It kicks in at 35 minutes after curfew, so that she can not watch TV late into the evening. If she finds the timer, my next step will be to lock the timer in a box.

    2) I bought commputers for everyone in the house (that is old enough to use one).
    • Wow. I am very, very glad that I was not your child. I had a computer in my room from about the age of 10. First it was an 8086 machine that I learned the basics of programming on. I also managed to hose the OS a few times, but since it was my machine it was my responsibility to fix it (no ghost images floating around), although my father did help out when asked.

      When I was 15 (I think - maybe 14), I got a 'phone line installed in my room. This was my parents' idea, so I could use the Internet while

  • I really want to adopt an 18 year old Korean girl. My plan is PERFECT!
  • Public (Score:1, Redundant)

    by zackeller ( 653801 )
    Simple: Put the computer in a public room. No computers in the bedroom. Same with television. Have only one, MAYBE two.

    This eliminates 90% of the problems you're likely to face.
  • My approach (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 )
    My girlfriend has a 13 year old daughter. We debated endlessly about whether or not to allow her to have internet access in her bedroom. In the end what we decided to do was to let her with the admonition that as the network admin, I have the ability and the right to watch and dissect any traffic going across my network. We showed her that I can do it at my leisure. We also told her that we'd respect her privacy unless she gave us a reason not to.

    What this comes down to is randomly sniffing traffic to see w
    • by 4D6963 ( 933028 )

      Using WireShark, and originally Ethereal, I can see who she's talking to without taking the extra step of seeing what's being said

      Without seing what's being said? You must look away from what's being said then, because no matter whether she's using MSN or AIM, you'll see her messages in clear in WireShark.

      Anyways, I can tell from my personnal experience, the worst part about having a computer in your bedroom when you're a teen is not to watch porn or to have paedophiles who might cyber-rape you (lol, seri

      • Without seing what's being said? You must look away from what's being said then, because no matter whether she's using MSN or AIM, you'll see her messages in clear in WireShark.

        There are different levels of detail that are plainly visible. Some of them are collapsed by default. It takes only a single click of the mouse to read them, but unless I have a reason to, I don't.

  • Well, my parents got my little sister (7) a computer last christmas (socket A goodness, you can figure out the rest of the approximate specs), and while they want to make sure that nothing bad happens, they honestly know nothing about computers (to the point where before that, I had the only computer in the house, and was the only user). So, it was tasked upon me to try to bring my sis up right as far as tech is concerned. The computer is in her closet (something I most assuredly think is a bad idea, maybe
  • Basically I think that the web is not that much more dangerous than a reasonably stocked public library. TV is more dangerous. Expecially the news. Take an interest in what they are doing and respect that they might not want to share everything. Just make sure they can come to you with any kind of question and need not have any fear of being punished, ridiculed or embarassed by you. Of course they still will not talk to you about everything. But if something really disturbes them there is a good chance they
  • especially when a few of those technologies have are bundled with inherent dangers in addition to their great advantages (like the Internet)?

    I don't mean to sound like a troll, but where on internet is the danger for a 14 year old boy? I can understand that we consider it's not safe for an 8-year old because the sight of porn could disturb him, but not a 14 year old I mean, when you're 14 usually the porn you see is what you want to see, so where's the danger? Chatting with "predators"? Again, I fail to g

  • Ok, my credentials: I am a 23 year old person, have been married, almost father, against "bad things" like RIAA, had very restrictive and religious parents and I have a very big problem with any authority thus being a white hat hacker was kinda cool and turned black hat against certain authority (school). As of my 16 I have been drinking alcohol, never smoked or did drugs though, had a bunch of girlfriends without parents consent or knowledge. I have been working as sysadmin and computer tech in different
    • So what exactly are the ip ranges of the government, the RIAA, and the MPAA? More importantly, would blocking these IP ranges prevent you from being detected on BitTorrent by the **AA?
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Get aquainted with your kid's music.
      I must be old - I see it as swearing to elevator music instead of the decent swearing to thrashy guitar we had way back when.
  • by mqduck ( 232646 )
    Quick answer:

    I'm 21 now. The generation gap worked in my favor so that I had no effective supervision on my computering, and I had access to the Net since I was... 9, i think. Maybe 10. Point is: it didn't harm me. "Oh teh noes, my son/daughter might talk to just about anyone!" "Oh teh noes, he/she might look at dirty pictures!" I think most people really need to sit down for a moment and consider why these things seem so damaging to them.

    (Side note: a whole generation - mine - is growing up with access to
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      I had no effective supervision on my computering

      Neither did I - and my first experience on the net was getting information on how to brew a high alcohol beer and looking up some information on a high explosive. It's hardly relevant though, I was on gopher looking up the MSDN on picric acid because I did not wish to blow my head off with the stuff in the lab.

  • More than likely as a kid in the system he knows far more than you do about how much the world can suck and already knows pretty much everything there is to know about sex, drugs, and perverts. Theres nothing you can say that he probably hasn't heard already.

    Set him up with a really low-end computer and firefox in his room and stick a badass machine out in the family room. If he wants to have a private convo he can do it in his room, otherwise 90% of his time will be spent outside with you.

    Just tell him tha
  • Being a member of the first generation to grow up with the internet myself, I'll tell you that the greatest danger is pornography or MySpace predators. Rather, it is that computer/cellphones/iPods etc. can replace normal human social interaction and take the place of healthy habits. Don't restrict your kid's use of the internet, just make sure they have other options. Find a way for them to get excercise, make sure they join clubs at school and encourage them to [gasp] get together with friends that they
  • rig things so that his only network connection goes through a proxy box and copy all files that go across the wire (and block outright all ports not attached to known 'approved services")
    cell phone get him a prepaid phone and chip in a base amount every month he chips in for the "extra"
  • I am the odd /. demographic and the one with extensive experience in this area. The only rule I would institute is a time limit of so many hours per day. Other than that they can use the computer however they see fit, the catch of course being that they know up front that I am a computer professional and when I sit down and use the computer I will know everything they have done. I am not spying on them but they will leave a trail that I can easily follow. This teaches them an important lesson about comput
  • I have a 10 year old son, and an 8 year old daughter. I got them matching computers. (Old Compaq P III 500, that I got from work for $1 each) I have them setup in our office, where my PC is also located. Mom's PC is in the next room, with a view through French doors. The kids are behind a proxy (tiny proxy on the Coyote firewall box), which is setup with a white list of approved sites. They haven't yet gotten into IMing, and they don't have their own email addresses yet. When they want their own email
  • In my view, its not really monitoring as much as communication with the kid that is key. When I was 14, I had virtually unlimited access to the internet. I did do my fair share of surfing for porn (come on..what 14 year old isn't a little curious), but for the most part, the internet was a learning tool I used to learn about things that I was curious about but never had any exposure to. What was important in my life was the communication from my parents about ethics, responsibilities, and safety. I had a co
  • A few fundamental points:
    1) The entire range of human behavior, from the most inspired to the most depraved, is available on the Internet.
    2) Two fundamentals of your job as a parent are to:
    • Teach your children well, to be responsible and accountable for their actions and make good judgments
    • Provide a safe environment in which they can learn.

    Many of the preceding responses reflect on the range of issues - privacy, restrictions, freedom, trust, etc.

    I offer some simple questions:

    • Are there ele
  • Speaking as a 20-year-old, who grew up with technologically illiterate but deeply suspicious parents, I find myself really perplexed with parents who try and rigorously control their children's internet access. How did I learn about online pedophiles? I had a guy try to solicit me in a chatroom. I learned what to look out for, and started acting accordingly.

    There's no teacher like experience, and as long as you keep control on a few things (ie, don't turn him loose with both the Internet and a credit

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears