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Policing your child's Internet access

By kovacsp in Culture
Fri May 12, 2000 at 02:07:14 AM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

In this brief feature I want to outline a new method of policing your childrens internet access without resorting to censorware.

[editor's note, by rusty] I was just talking about this possibility with my girlfriend yesterday. This is a great idea, I think; effective in the panoptic style, yet flexible enough to not be threatening or restrictive.

How it works.
For those of us running a GNU/Linux environment or a heterogenous environment, it seems as though there is an alternative and obvious way to police your child's internet access without resorting to censorware or looking directly over their shoulder at all times.

It basically boils down to using a proxy to access websites. A home network could be configured to only allow all incoming and outgoing traffic through a single point of entry: a router or a firewall. Simply record every URL and POST data that travels out. Produce digests daily and look for any "suspcicious activity." If you notice your child viewing unacceptable sites make sure he knows that this is improper behavior, and educate them as to why. (Presumably you've already done this ahead of time as well).

Why will this work?
Like everything, there has to be an implied threat, some reason for a child not to engage in a certain behavior. Think of how you prevent your kids from getting involved in smoking, alcohol or drugs. Apply those same methods here. There is one difference though: you will have a record of every internet site your child has accessed. I would imagine that this itself would be deterrent enough for 99% of kids. In fact, you probably won't ever have to look at the logs!

Why this is important?
Well, maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think it's especially important for parents to show that they trust their kids by not installing censorware and the like. By relying on implied threats and perfect knowledge you can safely deter your children into what we consider "proper" behavior! As an added bonus, you get to decide what you're child can and cannot see, rather than rely on a list which is encrypted and protected by "trade secret" laws!

What do you all think? Is this feasible? Is it any better than censorware, or unrestricted internet access?


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Policing your child's Internet access | 76 comments (76 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Interesting idea. ... (1.00 / 1) (#19)
by genehack on Thu May 11, 2000 at 07:41:31 PM EST

genehack voted 1 on this story.

Interesting idea.

Sounds good, but you will have to l... (1.50 / 2) (#8)
by kroah on Thu May 11, 2000 at 07:44:31 PM EST

kroah voted 1 on this story.

Sounds good, but you will have to look at the logs. Any child will test to see if you actually _are_ looking at the logs. Then, if they soon realize that you aren't, they will have free reign. Now I guess you can lull them into a nice sense of complaciency before confronting them with the evidence :) But the best meathod, is to just keep the computer in a public place, like the living room. That is a great deterrant right there.

Re: Sounds good, but you will have to l... (none / 0) (#31)
by paranoidfish on Fri May 12, 2000 at 09:29:08 AM EST

But the best meathod, is to just keep the computer in a public place, like the living room. That is a great deterrant right there.

You stay in your living room 24/7? You never leave your thirteen year old son in the house alone for a few hours?

seriously, this (like censorware or logging) isn't a total solution, and you are kidding yourself if you think it is.

2p (oh, and I am only 21 with no kids, but I was thirteen once ;-)

[ Parent ]
Nah. Won't work, being based on co... (2.00 / 1) (#13)
by homer on Thu May 11, 2000 at 08:02:39 PM EST

homer voted 1 on this story.

Nah. Won't work, being based on common sense and all.

Seems like a fairly obvious strateg... (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by robin on Thu May 11, 2000 at 08:13:57 PM EST

robin voted 0 on this story.

Seems like a fairly obvious strategy to me (and saves bandwidth too!). I think it'd be important to let them know they were being monitored; one of the funniest things I've seen in server logs was when an NFS root squash let me watch the news server logs a few jobs ago -- one unfortunate cow-orker was a regular reader of alt.sex.fetish.amputees... Get them used to Big Brother young -- perhaps they'll kick up less of a fuss later. I'm being somewhat sarcastic, but you don't exactly sound the heavy-handed type. Personally I'd be more concerned about IRC sessions and POST chat rooms than I would about web sites per se -- there's much more chance of unsavoury personal interactions there, to my mind. But then I don't have children, so I'd have to say unless you're going to turn out some kind of crazed international jet-setting serial killer: `I don't care: 0'.
W.A.S.T.E. (do not antagonise the Horn)

Many moons ago (before the portman/... (4.70 / 3) (#6)
by analog on Thu May 11, 2000 at 08:59:59 PM EST

analog voted 1 on this story.

Many moons ago (before the portman/grits crowd) there was a story on Slashdot about high schools getting wired. Quite a few students from around the country posted about their experiences; most of them boiled down to "we have filtering software installed, but we know how to get around it". There were a couple of posts from students whose schools didn't allow use of their computers, because the faculty knew less about them than the students did and were afraid of what the kids might do.

There was one post from a kid who was in a school with this policy, and talked them into letting him administer the network. He did just as is described above; left everything wide open access wise, and logged all traffic. If someone went to a questionable site, he printed out the relevant log entries and mailed them to the offender's parents. He reported that after an initial burst of 'illicit' activity, it dropped to zero and stayed there.

The one problem with this method is that it means that someone takes responsibility for what happens. If parents in this country were willing to do that, we wouldn't be having this conversation (and btw, I am a parent; the unwillingness to watch our own children that is so common in this country is a serious pet peeve).

As well, the 'authorities' won't like this methodology because it leaves all the decision making and enforcement power with the parents, who will invariably have different ideas than the current government officials who wish to be the moral police force.

So. It's easy, it's effective, and it requires no government intervention; naah, it'll never fly. ;)

Filtering Software at School (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by feline on Fri May 12, 2000 at 09:40:40 AM EST

We _probably_ have some kinda filtering software at school, but I'm too afraid of someone walking behind me and seeing what the hell I'm looking at.

I'm more afraid of posting to k5 or slashdot and someone walking behind me and asking what the hell I'm doing (no personaly e-mail at school, most of the major web-based people are filtered out, though) and then telling me to get off without me having time to log off. It's nearly happened a few times. (the interfaces of k5 and slashdot are somewhat similar to web-based mail, with all the forms)

'Hello sir, you don't look like someone who satisfies his wife.'
[ Parent ]

I've recommended this approach for ... (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by adamsc on Thu May 11, 2000 at 09:07:35 PM EST

adamsc voted 1 on this story.

I've recommended this approach for years. It allows a parent to exercise caution but also allows the child to develop a sense of responsibility. They're welcome to go where they want but, as in the rest of life, there may be consequences if they do something stupid.

I was just visiting my sister, she ... (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by Wah on Thu May 11, 2000 at 09:22:12 PM EST

Wah voted 1 on this story.

I was just visiting my sister, she has 3 young kids. I want them to be able to use the Net as soon as they can read. (I'd want my own, but I don't have any yet). EDUCATION is the best way to do it, for both the parents and the kids. The world's a scary place, and the Net no less, they need to know how to get around without getting hurt. To take it even further, you could put together a database with each URL or IP ranked on "badness". Then when one of them comes through past a certain threshhold it triggers an alarm. Or an e-mail with a URL ;-). Basically like censorware, but more of a sense ware. The database should be open and shared, kinda like DNS, maybe.
Fail to Obey?

A good idea, IMO. Of course, too m... (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by skim123 on Thu May 11, 2000 at 09:31:54 PM EST

skim123 voted 1 on this story.

A good idea, IMO. Of course, too many parents today are "too busy" to take the time to examine logs to see what sites their kids visited.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

Re: A good idea, IMO. Of course, too m... (3.50 / 2) (#42)
by Stormbringer on Fri May 12, 2000 at 11:36:08 AM EST

I frequently run iptraf and other monitors on the gateway machine so I can see what my network is doing when ppp is up (yeah, I'm paranoid about getting cracked before I know enough to stop it), and have hollered "Who's hitting site-such-and-so?" enough times that it's an accepted part of my kids' network use that the Daddymonster has an eye on things, without my having to pore through lots of logs.
Logs are mandatory here, but then I apply that to myself too; it was S.O.P. when I was opping in a lightning-rod IRC channel (DALnet's #wicca) and I still often find the backtrail helpful. My 8 yr old has had logging come in handy a couple of times, being able to point to what wasn't said, to clear himself in a troublesome situation.
The key points I've found to work with my kids are honesty and openness, which derive from respect. I draw the line at hardcore porn stuff ("anything that makes sex look degrading or dirty"); my sons know that if they ask me to check whether a site is permitted, I'll look and give em an honest answer explainable on principles. I've explained a few times, by going through his IRC logs with him, why the older's behavior got him k/b'd from a channel, without getting preachy on him, merely pointing out to him the lesson which reality has presented for his enlightenment. I've explained why I don't like XEVIL and will remove it from local systems if it's overused (continuous gratuitous violence to others as the only offered method of interacting, it teaches the wrong way to deal with other people), but left it with that warning, and the point seems to have sunk in, since my older son recently deleted it from his machine to make room for more interesting stuff... lesson learned, I hope.
If you can see the child as a person who, though under your authority and responsibility, has a mind of their own, and aim your serious conversation at the mind, not the role, it seems to work better than arbitrary rules and mechanisms... that's my experience.

[ Parent ]
Re: A good idea, IMO. Of course, too m... (none / 0) (#72)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon May 15, 2000 at 01:09:01 PM EST

Of course, too many parents today are "too busy" to take the time to examine logs to see what sites their kids visited.

Hmm, parents too busy? They have plenty of spare time after dealing with jobs, bills, homework, paperwork, school conferences, insurance, college savings, retirement, car maintenance, home repairs, children's doctor and dentist visits, house cleaning, laundry, and pet care. They must just be too lazy to read logs.

[ Parent ]

Hey, you got your tech in my cultur... (3.00 / 1) (#1)
by Demona on Thu May 11, 2000 at 09:33:58 PM EST

Demona voted 1 on this story.

Hey, you got your tech in my culture...

Some parents may choose to offer unfettered access, the extreme alternative to no access or heavily censored/monitored access. I'm most inclined toward sensible limits which are clearly defined, the object of parenting being to enable your child to eventually become independent.

I like the thinking process at work... (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by scorpion on Thu May 11, 2000 at 09:42:03 PM EST

scorpion voted 1 on this story.

I like the thinking process at work in this article. It is interesting to see someone actual feel that individuals should take responsibility for themselves. Rather than as demonstrated by our (notice small letters) presidential leader. Nice to see family values showing up.. :-)

Great idea! At least until your chi... (3.80 / 4) (#3)
by Skippy on Thu May 11, 2000 at 09:43:13 PM EST

Skippy voted 1 on this story.

Great idea! At least until your child goes through a script kiddie phase (these days at age 4) roots your firewall and disables your password :-) I mean, we all know how good rusty is at security :-)
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #

Policing youth inet access is bulls... (3.20 / 4) (#20)
by feline on Thu May 11, 2000 at 10:27:47 PM EST

feline voted 1 on this story.

Policing youth inet access is bullshit. As a fifteen-year-old computer enthusiest, I cannot immagine being limited in what internet sites I could visit and not visit. I mean, what's the big deal, there is hardly anyway that pornography can hurt anyone at all. It's just for fun. I hardly think comparing the internet to smoking, drug use or drinking is fair at all.

Shall I mention that one of the first things the

'Hello sir, you don't look like someone who satisfies his wife.'

But being involved and aware isn't. (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by error 404 on Fri May 12, 2000 at 11:24:58 AM EST

I let my kids use the net without any filters. But they know I can (and do) look at what they are doing, and I consider cyberspace part of the real world.

Looking at what they are doing includes skimming the history files on browsers and looking at the screen from time to time.

So I know how my kids are using the computer. I use that information mostly to help them. We talk about computer use. Most of the time, those conversations are either technical or about where to find good stuff, and the information flows both ways. Sometimes the conversations get into ethics. I've had to remind my 13 year old that there is a real person at the other end of the line (he was flaming somebody on Diablo, and not in the context of combat) and that if his little brother (who is just learning to read) is in the room, he should keep it clean.

And by following the logs, I have a better picture of other things in their lives. For example, my son's history files indicate that he's even more into skateboarding than I would otherwise realize. And that board art is important to him, which I wouldn't know by looking at the board he has now.

The main point is that things that we do on the net are not seperate from real life, and that as a family, we pay attention to each other's joy and pain, and do what we can for each other. Sometimes that involves restrictions, but the restrictions aren't real tight, and they aren't the main point.

We have areas of privacy in our family, but the computer - particualrly when used as a communication device - isn't one of them.

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Re: Policing youth inet access is bulls... (1.67 / 3) (#41)
by Wah on Fri May 12, 2000 at 11:30:07 AM EST

"I mean, what's the big deal, there is hardly anyway that pornography can hurt anyone at all."

Outside of the girls in the videos you mean. Your demand creates their supply. Not that I don't know about some good sites, but to ignore the effects of your actions is dangerous.
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]
Most people only have one machine a... (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by sergent on Thu May 11, 2000 at 10:30:04 PM EST

sergent voted 1 on this story.

Most people only have one machine and they use dialup or similar. Could build this feature into ethernet-connected cable-modem or DSL boxes and it would be fairly effective... but that's not most people. Does not help if they use something like anonymizer... you can't tell what they actually did at some point. But that is hopefully not an issue for this particular usage.

Re: Most people only have one machine a... (none / 0) (#46)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:11:05 PM EST

Well, even with just one machine, you can still do this. Nothing wrong with multitasking. The only drawback is that it makes it harder to keep them from bypassing the proxy. (Can you set up a local firewall to allow Squid to make outbound connections to port 80 while not allowing Netscape? Hmm. I sure don't know how.)

[ Parent ]
I thought this was what smart peopl... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by Marcin on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:43:36 PM EST

Marcin voted 1 on this story.

I thought this was what smart people would have already been doing? :) Err, that is using a proxy on a non-Windows box.

You could use squirm (an url director for squid) to, for example, put in the sites you don't want your kids re-visitng (ie. www.playboy.com, www.microsoft.com), after they've visited them once and learnt their lesson, and redirect it to a local page that says "Um um ar! You're dobbed on!". Hehe.

Maybe even have it play that 'famous' (at least amongst cow-okers that swap all these dodgy 'prank' programs) "Heeeey Everybody, i'm looking at porno over here!". Heh.

Anyway, that's my foolishnes for the day. Well, for this story.

Personally, I think that too many p... (4.00 / 3) (#10)
by buzzbomb on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:55:09 PM EST

buzzbomb voted 1 on this story.

Personally, I think that too many parents shelter their children from the real world. In the real world, there's pr0n. In the real world, there are people that use foul-mouthed language. (Like me!) In the real world, there are people that will tell you how to make bombs and such. The internet is no different. If parent's taught their kids what was right and wrong, they'd understand. Of course, too many parents today DON'T do that. RANT When I showed my ass at a restaurant (or whatever) when I was a kid, I'd get warned and then I'd get an ass-whipping. This is not abuse. I understood that I had fucked up. I didn't repeat that mistake very often. Too many parents (thanks to the schools) are afraid of having social services pay them a visit because they spank their kids and the kids either call a hotline or tell a counseler out of spite or miseducation. /RANT Ok...maybe I went too far, but it's not just me that thinks kids today don't have the morals that I did. And I'm only 23 and have noticed this difference. Ok...I'm done now and I went severely OT. :)

Whatever happened to the good old f... (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by haiku san on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:11:34 AM EST

haiku san voted -1 on this story.

Whatever happened to the good old fashioned "you don't use the computer unless I'm with you" until they're old enough that you trust them?

Re: Whatever happened to the good old f... (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by stripes on Sat May 13, 2000 at 04:18:37 PM EST

Whatever happened to the good old fashioned "you don't use the computer unless I'm with you" until they're old enough that you trust them?

I think that at some point the computer stopped being something kids might play a game on for a few hours, and started being a homework research tool, a way to talk to their freinds (esp. ones that have left for collage, or moved out of the area), find movie showtimes, get a map, see reviews of a product, check the weather, find a recipie, read the local newspaper, read the not so local newspaper, check out a little music, and probbably a few other things.

In other words, if you want to monitor your kid's computer use personally, you either have to restrict it greatly (beyond "don't look at bad stuff"), or spend a whole lot of time on it. Time that might be better used teaching your kid how to drive, or surf (in the sea, not the computer), fix a flat tire, apply makeup, take care of a pet, or the million other things a parent teaches a child.

Besides, I think this works as a "trust but verify" thing. For web pages. It does nothing for ICQ, e-mail, or other social uses.

[ Parent ]

personally i don't think there's an... (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by pope nihil on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:17:23 AM EST

pope nihil voted 1 on this story.

personally i don't think there's anything wrong with kids exploring the big bad net if they are old enough to think for themselves (like, over 12). when i was a kid i used to get on bbs's and download pr0n. i don't really feel like that "damaged" me in any real way... good topic to discuss.

I voted.

Re: personally i don't think there's an... (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 03:29:26 AM EST

when i was a kid i used to get on bbs's and download pr0n

Ditto. I also used to make (small) homemade explosives. In my mid-teens, I and a group of my friends were seriously into the whole "lets make illegal drugs and get rich quick!" thing.

Today, I am a 100% certified bore and I have been one for a lot longer than I really like to think about. The same goes for all of my old "wild and crazy" friends. They are all now respectable, middle-aged members of society.

By it's very nature, youth is rebelious. It's part of a process whereby young people establish their own identity as something seperate and independent from their parents.

If young people actually do illegal/dangerous things ( rather than just thinking and talking about them ), it's probably because their parents haven't set a very good example.

You might be strangling my chicken, but you don't want to know what I'm doing to your hampster.

[ Parent ]

sounds very sensible... i especiall... (2.00 / 1) (#15)
by thelaw on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:21:34 AM EST

thelaw voted 1 on this story.

sounds very sensible... i especially like the fact that with this system you actually have to sit down and /talk/ with your kids, instead of trusting an electronic babysitter.

Hear, here. ... (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by warpeightbot on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:44:31 AM EST

warpeightbot voted 1 on this story.

Hear, here.

My kids-to-be will have their machines filtered by a slightly hacked version (may not be necessary by then) of Junkbuster; the ads will be filtered by default, and the rest initially subject to whitelist only, then as the need arises, switched to logged-and-watched-like-a-hawk, then to logged-and-checked-cursorily. When s/he gets to be 18, I'll can the logging, but the ads will remain Busted 'cause it's my damn network :-) (If they want a totally uncensored, with-the-ads feed, they can pay for their own damn ISP.)

Subject, of course, to the advice and consent of The Mom... :)

Define clue here. :) Hopefully the ... (2.00 / 1) (#16)
by Saint Zero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 01:19:12 AM EST

Saint Zero voted 1 on this story.

Define clue here. :) Hopefully the kids can't wipe the logs themselves, or connect to annoymizer.com all the time, tho. Tho if your kids can do that, they need to be watched, not logged. :)
---------- Patron Saint of Nothing, really.

Re: Define clue here. :) Hopefully the ... (none / 0) (#34)
by kovacsp on Fri May 12, 2000 at 09:45:19 AM EST

Actually I thought of that. Anonymizer stores the URL of the site you're going to visit in the URL itself, so that's not too hard to get around. (At least as far as I recall). And if they set up their own little proxy, just collect the post data that's going out. Of course, I didn't mean this as a 100% 24x7 surveillance type of thing. I think I mentioned in the essay that most of the time you wouldn't even ahve to look at the logs. The mere threat that it's possible is enough. I know that a significant motivation for me when I was growing up was to try to not disappoint my parents. That is the source of motivation here for a lot of kids.

[ Parent ]
I think it's a great idea for users... (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by FlinkDelDinky on Fri May 12, 2000 at 01:58:22 AM EST

FlinkDelDinky voted 1 on this story.

I think it's a great idea for users like me and you (K5'ers). We're a rather sophisticated crowd. Some of us are admin's, others could be with a bit of work.

However most parents aren't admin's, most parents are to lazy to care about their children let alone check web sights listed in a log file, nor is the method preemptive. You only get them after they've watched "Debbie does Bill AND Hillary and the Dallas Cowboys!XXX!"

What about ICQ, Usenet, e-mail, freenet, jabber, etc. I'm actually for this idea, but in general I wonder if we're looking at things in the wrong way.

If you've got a young kid it may not be good to leave them alone. Not in front of a TV, not in front of an Internet computer, not even in front of a Gun };]! But when their older it's not so important.

I think it'd be better to have a family computer were all accounts on the machine are public and a business computer for Mom and Dad. Locate the family computer in the living room so everybody gets to watch when it's being used.

Re: I think it's a great idea for users... (none / 0) (#22)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 02:15:12 AM EST

How's this for an idea:

Put together a cheap linux box. Set it up with squid/junkbuster, and set up a nice web-based admin app on it. The sell it as a "parent helper". You plug your phone line in one end, and the computer in the other, and shazam-- "You've got Proxy". Your nice frontend would provide a running log of all accessed sites, etc etc.

Granted there'd need to be a bunch of work done to make it really that easy, but what a great little device that'd be, if it was easy enough to use that your average "power user" dad could set it up.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: I think it's a great idea for users... (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by gaudior on Fri May 12, 2000 at 01:30:35 PM EST

The only computer with a phone line is located in our family room. Internat access is passworded. We see all of our kids email, and they must ask us to go online. The kids that get into trouble are the ones who go online in thier bedrooms, any time they like, with no supervision. The same rule applies to television. It's out in public, not in their rooms.

Chat rooms, IRC, Usenet are strictly forbidden. There is nothing of value in those venues, and way too many opportunities for trouble.

The key is communicating with your kids, and looking out for them. That's part of your responsibility as a parent. Our kids understand our rules, and we have made certain we explain WHY we have these rules. When they leave our responsibility and are thniking for themselves, they will be operating from the same value base.

[ Parent ]

Re: I think it's a great idea for users... (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by scheme on Fri May 12, 2000 at 02:16:17 PM EST

Chat rooms, IRC, Usenet are strictly forbidden. There is nothing of value in those venues, and way too many opportunities for trouble.

I would disagree with this statement but that's more a matter of opinon. Quite a few newsgroups have real and useful discussion. A lot of the sci newsgroups are like this. And quite a few of the comp newsgroups also. For example, comp.arch regularly has people like Andy Glew (he designed the P6 scheduler and other features) posting and has quite intelligent and informative discussion on computer architectures.

On the other hand, there are news groups that are heavily oriented to objectionable materials or are filled with blithering idiots whose sole purpose in life is to flame anyone and everyone.

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." --Albert Einstein

[ Parent ]
Re: I think it's a great idea for users... (none / 0) (#73)
by gaudior on Mon May 15, 2000 at 02:27:46 PM EST

What you say about some of usenet is true. There may also be some useful chat channels. However, hanging out in chatrooms is easily as destructive as hanging out on the street corner. And being allowed to go anywhere, without preemptive supervision is a deriliction of parental responsibility. You MUST know who your kid's friends are, and where they go when you are not watching.

The point I was making is that for children, we have the responsibility to be their guides, until they can make judgements for themselves. Kids do dumb stuff. That is why parents are needed. Each time they make a mistake, we correct them, explain why it was wrong, and move on. When the same mistake is made, that becomes a matter for discipline.

We have a rule that the kids can go to certain sites they are interested in. We look at them together, and then leave them be. The kids know that they are not to fill out any personal information, or registration forms without us checking them. Kids are easily 'social-engineered'.

[ Parent ]

You may have made a serious error. (4.80 / 4) (#24)
by Nyarlathotep on Fri May 12, 2000 at 03:30:08 AM EST

You may have made a serious error by assuming that it is good for kids to be "watched like a hawk." You really should look up the relevent psychological research into child development before assuing any such thing. Personally, I would gues that it helps kids up to a specific (young) age, but then starts to hurt their psychological development. Also, it will depend on your parenting style. If you have athoritarian tendencies it may be best to remove/suppres/eliminate some of your athoritarian tendincies when you deal with your child.. and not filtering or monitoring may be a reasonable step to make yourself take. Anyway, this is something where Joe average parent who knows Linux is pretty ignorant unless they sit down and read the research. Actually, the best thing you can do for your shild is run Junkbuster to kill the ads and cookies. Also, buy a TiVo like VCR with a commercial skipping feature. The advertisments are probable more dangerous then porn. Remember, you kid will not really care too much about porn and will not see too much of it, but they will see craploads of ads.
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
Sorry, you are wrong about the porn (none / 0) (#36)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 10:19:15 AM EST

It is vital that my children NOT see ANY porn. Even the accidental viewing of an inappropriate image causes a scar. You cannot wipe out the memory, and such mental images are the source of heartache for many years down the road. My children do not access the internet unless I am watching them. They do not randomly browse, but go only to specific places that I have checked previously. When they become adults, they can choose for themselves.

We discuss this with them on many occasions. They understand, and as they have grown up, agree with us. I do not have to lock out MTV or Comdey Central anymore. They don't WANT to look at rubbish.

[ Parent ]

Re: Sorry, you are wrong about the porn (none / 0) (#43)
by Field Marshall Stack on Fri May 12, 2000 at 11:41:52 AM EST

It is vital that my children NOT see ANY porn. Even the accidental viewing of an inappropriate image causes a scar. You cannot wipe out the memory, and such mental images are the source of heartache for many years down the road.
You're good at asserting, but I really don't see anything here to back it up. Why do you think that "viewing of an inappropriate image" causes a "scar"? I know it seems like a silly question, but what is the nature of this scar? In what fashion does the possession of a scar change the state of the posessee?

Ben Allen, hiway@speakeasy.org
"Nobody ever lends money to a man with a sense of humor"
-Peter Tork
[ Parent ]

Re: Sorry, you are wrong about the porn (none / 0) (#49)
by ToastyKen on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:56:30 PM EST

Okay, I won't ask you for research evidence since I don't have ready access to any either, but I have a great deal of anecdotal evidence of many many people who have seen porn and are perfectly fine people.

What kind of "scars" are you talking about, anyway? I mean, how exactly are these people you claim are "permanently scarred" actually scarred?

Sex is a perfectly normal and reasonable thing for human beings to do, and kids are going to have to know about it sooner or later. Excessive viewing to the degree that it interferes with the rest of your life is obviously bad, but aside from that, I know of no actual evidence of someone getting "screwed up" by porn.

[ Parent ]

Re: Sorry, you are wrong about the porn (none / 0) (#75)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon May 15, 2000 at 09:07:23 PM EST

I do not see how viewing any porn would create a scar... I think it only does if the parents have a oh-no-its-evil attitude about it and the children are then hurt by this attitude because they do not really understand it. My mother tried to talk about sex and relationships with me when I was a teenager but when she did so she talked like if I was a 5 year old, so it did more harm than good... I think it DID create scars in me, because at that time I could not understand why she could not speak about it like about everything else. Now that I'm grown up I understand that my grandmother never talked about this with her and told her that boyfriends-are-evil and she was hurt too, so she tried to talk with me but failed. Oh well. I also several examples, including my girlfriend, who once wanted to be a nun, where a strict education actually created a lot of scars. What happened is that after a while she realized that her parent's values were not of any help to her in the real world, so she had to figure out her own values. Getting thru this is a long and painfull process... She was highly confused about her sexuality, and she could not understand it. I think it would really have helped if she had been able to talk with her mother and get a response other than sex-is-evil-dont-even-think-about-it. Also one practical result of this is that as she has thrown up most of her parent's values, she ends up beeing, say, more pervert than an average person :) Actually most people that I know that have had a too-strict education have ended up throwing it and thus not having the limits that most people have. In the case of my girlfriend, I dont complain about it ;-) but sometimes I still feel bad because I feel like she could do just about everything out of love for me and I'm not really comfortable with having that much power over her. OK enough spilling of my personal life in this forum but my point was, that in my experience parents should not have taboo subjects with their childs. Taboos only make the childs uncomfortable, they will have to deal with the issues eventually, and then they will be alone and unprepared.

[ Parent ]
Re: You may have made a serious error. (none / 0) (#37)
by DemiGodez on Fri May 12, 2000 at 10:43:59 AM EST

You honestly believe that monitoring what kids are doing hurts their psychological development? Children need to be monitored. That doesn't mean never trusting them or letting them out of the house, but it does mean that any responsible paretn must be aware of what they are doing.

Forget the ethical considerations. What if your kid is downloaing pirated software/MPs/etc and the feds actually crack down on it? There is a very good chance you (the parent) could be held legally responsible. Don't you at least have the obligation to know what they are doing?

Regardless of any relevent psychological research (and there are studies all over the board on this topic), a parent has to know their kid. You know your kid in part by knowing what they are doing. I know it is a very extreme example, but look at the two shooters in Columbine. They were stockpiling weapons and their parents didn't know. I guess they thought they shouldn't "watch them like a hawk" lest it "hurt their psychological development." I am absolutely not saying that any kid not monitored will do that type of way over the top thing, but I think the parents in that case were negligent for not monitoring their kids better.

[ Parent ]

Re: You may have made a serious error. (none / 0) (#39)
by mattdm on Fri May 12, 2000 at 11:24:30 AM EST

There's a difference between "monitoring" and "logging everything they do".

[ Parent ]
Re: You may have made a serious error. (none / 0) (#74)
by orcslicer on Mon May 15, 2000 at 06:38:00 PM EST

You know your kid in part by knowing what they are doing. I know it is a very extreme example, but look at the two shooters in Columbine. They were stockpiling weapons and their parents didn't know. I guess they thought they shouldn't "watch them like a hawk" lest it "hurt their psychological development." I am absolutely not saying that any kid not monitored will do that type of way over the top thing, but I think the parents in that case were negligent for not monitoring their kids better.


Once you have kids in the mid to late years of high school, you aren't going to know everything that goes on in their lives, unless you inspect their room daily, give them piss tests, and follow them wherever they go. Talking to your children to see if they're going over the edge can't be substituted for. Communication with your children might be the only way to save them.

BTW, The parents knew the had weapons, but the kids explained it away as a BB gun. Do you think the parents should have a had an inspection of their bags when they walked through the door, or had open communications with their sons? OrcSlicer
I vill break you.
[ Parent ]

Children need reasonable boundries. (none / 0) (#54)
by crossetj on Fri May 12, 2000 at 02:07:06 PM EST

Now, I'm not a parent but I have picked up a fair bit of developmental psychology from my girlfriend (a student teacher) and through traing as a volunteer for various youth organisations. The one thing that needs to be relaised is that children need reasonable boundries and these boundries need to be fairly administered.

Children are not fully independent entities. They're kids. You're not spying on them you are monitering. The difference is crucial. As rusty points out in his response spying is a clandestine activity while this is out in the open.

You can compare this to allowing you kids to go outside to play. You want to know where they are playing - back yard good, open pit mine bad - and you want to peek out the window from time to time and ensure they have not wandered into traffic or are playing with a dirt needle they found in the yard.

This is the kind of monitoring rusty is suggesting (at least that's how I'm reading it.) The other key point in the article is the education. The entire system is worthless without it. Of course a parent must be prepared to answer the "Why?" question fairly and honestly. "Because I say so" is not good enough!

This does not seem to be a system of authoritarian control as the responder suggests but rather a tool for caring parents to guide their childrens development. It's certainly a lot more work then buying an electronic baby sitter at the local computer store, and a lot more humane than allowing a child to grow without rules.

[ Parent ]
Re: Children need reasonable boundries. (none / 0) (#63)
by Nyarlathotep on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:53:44 PM EST

I was not suggesting that children should not have boundaries. I was just suggesting that these bounderies are not like "watching your kids while they play in the yard" which is a physical safty issue. This issue is more like knowing the friends who they talk to at school. This means parents should be involved, but the levels of involvment differ greatly with age and situation.

There may be psychological issues regarding the use of technology instead of parent child interaction to create these boundaries, i.e. the technology is very absolute but it is fragil (kids could hack it). I would not be surprised to see this combination of fragility and power bring out authoritarian tendencies in a parent. Example: parent uses this system instead of a netscape cache since the kid could easily delete the netscae cache, so the parent feals obligated t justify to themselves that their really is risk that the kid would delete the netscape cache.

There may also be psychological issues related to spending some much effort on preventing porn and no effort on preventing things like violence.

Anywho, my poing is that parents should really read the psychological research before using a system like this. I'm not tring to say that this is a bad solution, just that I would want more scientific evidence before I would implement any such system. I would be much more concerned about my kids interactions with people in chat rooms. I think I would ignore the "risk from pornography" and just try to get my kid to show me the stuf they did online. You know talk to the people they talk to etc. I think people like this solution because it's an easy out (it's pretty easy to scan some logs instead of tlaking to you kid), but it really dose not do what parents need to do in the physcal world.
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]

Apache works on Windows, too... (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by PrettyBoyTim on Fri May 12, 2000 at 04:35:49 AM EST

Yup, you could set this up on Windows quite easily as well...

Another easy thing to do if on Windows is to look through the history file. I think it's possible with IE to only allow passworded access to parts of the settings, so you could ensure that the history is never turned off.

Re: Apache works on Windows, too... (none / 0) (#27)
by Lionfire on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:10:19 AM EST


Erm... maybe I'm missing something, but I thought we were talking about using a proxy here... not a webserver....

Okay, sure... it's *possible* to use Apache as kind of a proxy... but compared to something like squid, it's just laughable...

[ blog | cute ]
[ Parent ]
Re: Apache works on Windows, too... (3.00 / 1) (#48)
by PrettyBoyTim on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:28:04 PM EST

Well, Apache works fine as a proxy, especially if you don't have particularly big requirements. I don't know what other proxy software is avaliable for Windows, but then I've never looked ;)

[ Parent ]
Only a part of education (4.70 / 3) (#26)
by rafael on Fri May 12, 2000 at 04:55:18 AM EST

Education of childs on the internet is not only about protecting them from viewing questionable sites (porn, sites that promote racism, etc.) Education should build their independance and help them distinguish good from evil. Learn them the netiquette. Protect them from spam and other emailed violence and explain them what it is. Explain why DDoS attacks are bad. Explain what is privacy on internet and why it's important. Explain them what is warez, what is free software, and why it's important. We're speaking about the next generation!

A proxy? (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by Strange Charmed One on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:28:47 AM EST

My parents administer a proxy? ROFLOL! I consider this to be a nice idea- but as it stands, m parents had to ask me how to download attatchments a week ago (for at least the third time) when using Outlook Express (This was after I had set up OE for them (please don't flame :-) ) so they could check their mail more easily). This might work when I have kids, but at the moment the chances of my parents stopping my sisters by this method are almost non existant. They are diligent enough to look at the logs, should this be set up but the chances of them suceeding at setting one up are almost negligible. Also, they do not I suspect want an extra computer in that room to serve as a firewall/ proxy. It is an idea only for certain groups of people (like the posters on this site).
Feel the urge to put excessively cute little quotes into your .sig?


If you or one of your friends is frequently plagued by this tendency, Help IS available- Ask me how.

spying (4.50 / 2) (#29)
by mattdm on Fri May 12, 2000 at 08:45:04 AM EST

I don't see how snooping is any better than just plain blocking up front. It certainly wouldn't make ME feel trusted.

How would you like it if your boss set up a similar scheme at work?

The part about talking with your kids is great -- why not just leave it at that?

Re: spying (4.70 / 3) (#30)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 09:26:27 AM EST

The point of this idea though is that it is almost the exact opposite of spying. Spying is gathering information in a clandestine manner. If you do this wrong, it could become that. But dome right, it is a panoptic system, which is a totally different thing.

The classic panopticon is the prison designed by Jeremy Bentham. Imagine a prison which is in the form of a large outer ring of cells, one layer deep, encircling an open inner space. In the middle of that space is a circular tower, with windows all around it. The windows are dark-tinted, so you cannot see into the tower from the outside. The point of this arrangement is that there are guards in the tower, who watch all the prisoners. Obviously the guards can't watch every prisoner every second, but they *could* be watching any of them at any time, and the prisoners never know if they're being watched or not, but they are aware that at any moment, they could be under surveillance. What happens is, you end up with a self-policing population. Prisoners are on their best behavior all the time, because for all they know, they are always being guarded.

Now, that sounds creepy, and it is the exact same system "Big Brother" uses in Orwell's 1984. Taken to these extremes, and used to control supposedly free individuals, it can be a horrifyingly effective tool of totalitarianism.

But children are not free, self-determining members of society, and they shouldn't be treated as such. Your job as a parent is to socialize them, so that they may become responsible members of your society. In that light, a tool for teaching them to be self-disciplining is a fantastic thing. What you have to do is sit down with them, explain the way the system works, and set some ground rules for appropriate content. They need to know that you expect them to behave and regulate themselves, because this is what they'll have to do for the rest of their lives-- they're supposed to be learning this in childhood. They also need to know that you're not giving them a list of prohibitions, and they will have to make decisions for themselves. If they decide to visit a site, they better be prepared to defend their actions. Another crucial lesson to learn in childhood. The point is that it needs to be clear they are being trusted, but they are also being supervised. The two are not mutually exclusive, despite popular opinion.

Your point about the boss at work doing this is a different matter. First, many businesses do use systems like this. They are paying you to do a job, and if they feel that your internet use is interfering with that, I see no reason they shouldn't use a system like this.

Second, as adults, we're expected to have already learned what is appropriate behavior. When do we learn that? When we're kids, and our parents teach us. Like it or not, teaching this requires that parents actually *do* something. Kids don't just learn responsibility all on their own, for the most part.

Hopefully this long-winded explication of my short comment in the story helps to clarify what I meant. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: spying (none / 0) (#32)
by kovacsp on Fri May 12, 2000 at 09:40:08 AM EST

Yeah, what he said!

[ Parent ]
Re: spying (none / 0) (#35)
by thelaw on Fri May 12, 2000 at 09:51:11 AM EST

excellent exposition... i couldn't agree more.

[ Parent ]
Re: spying (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by mattdm on Fri May 12, 2000 at 11:22:12 AM EST

The comparison of children to prisoners pretty nicely sums up what I feel is wrong with this approach. It's true that children are not "free, self-determining members of society", but they need to learn to be. Growing up under a scenario you describe as Orwellian doesn't seem to be a good way to that end.

[ Parent ]
read through that again... (none / 0) (#44)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 11:46:44 AM EST

Argh. Did you get to the part where I went out of my way to contrast responsible use of this technique with repressive use? There's a clear difference, and it falls where the child knows she is being supervised but not explicitly restricted, but the prisoner is being held captive. Just because a technique *can* be used wrong doesn't mean it has no place at all.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: read through that again... (none / 0) (#53)
by mattdm on Fri May 12, 2000 at 02:03:50 PM EST

Sorry, didn't mean to make you "argh". I'm just failing to see the clarity of the distinction.

If the technology existed, would you want a floating robotic video camera following your children wherever they go? If not, what's the difference? I'm asking seriously, not trying to be facetious.

[ Parent ]
Re: spying (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 11:53:17 AM EST

Exactly right. I can't believe people are getting all bent out of shape over this. These are your children, who else should police their activites other than you, the parents???? If I walk down the street and notice my kid doing something wrong, am I supposed to walk away and forget what happened, hell no, ass-beating is in order. If my parents wouldn't have policed me when I was younger, I might not even be alive today. I did a lot of dumb shit when I was younger and got in a lot of trouble for it. If I wouldn't have, no telling what I would have been doing now instead of programming and busting my ass at work and making a good life for my wife and son.

No Hillary, it doesn't take a village, it takes your family.

[ Parent ]
anonymizing web proxy? (4.50 / 2) (#47)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:22:10 PM EST

I use it all the time at work: https://lm.lcs.mit.edu/px.html

I don't like to be snooped on. I trust that any of my offspring would also be so clever.

I agree with a previous post; teach your children between right and wrong at an early age, before allowing them to be taken hold of by the television and the internet. Then, in their teen years, stand back and allow them to develop their own personalities.

Re: anonymizing web proxy? (none / 0) (#52)
by jovlinger on Fri May 12, 2000 at 01:56:32 PM EST

I was my understanding that the anonymising proxy made you anonymous to the remote site -- the local logs kept by the parent's web proxy would still contain a list of all the pr0n sites you visited using the anonymiser. The difference being that the references would be in the POST/GET you sent to the anonymiser, not to the pr0n site.

[ Parent ]
Re: anonymizing web proxy? (none / 0) (#56)
by jovlinger on Fri May 12, 2000 at 02:28:59 PM EST

Eh. forgot about the encryption thingie. So I take it back. That would be one way to circumvent it.

[ Parent ]
The One Right Way (3.50 / 4) (#50)
by FFFish on Fri May 12, 2000 at 01:26:57 PM EST

One of the responsibilities of being a parent is that you must *parent* your children. And that means that you must teach them, train them, brainwash them, program them -- however you wish to call it -- to hold values that are compatible with your own.

The best way to do this is to actually *communicate* with your children.

A shocking notion, to be sure: most so-called parents these days seem more interested in the permanent-press sort of children. They somehow figure that, hey, the little buggers take care of themselves, no need to iron out any wrinkles.

But there are parents who are interested in the job, and hope to do a good job of it. They're the ones who'll talk with their kids about *any* sort of thing.

So when a news item comes on about VBS worms, they'll talk with their kids about it: how the author might have been experimenting with the security hole, how the author might have been trying to get revenge or attention, how the worm has hurt people, what it's like to receive something like that and end up with your files trashed, and what a person needs to do to avoid that problem.

When a news item comes on about ThE InTeRnEt Is PoRn!!, they won't be afraid to talk with their kids about it. About the vicious circle of viewing kiddie porn creates a demand for kiddie porn creates kids raped and abused creates kiddie porn creates people viewing kiddie porn... an endless circle.

About the wonderful variety of freaks, like shitluvr, and how that sort of behaviour is well beyond the normal range of human sexual expression. And, if they hold views similar to mine, that thank god shitluvr has a way of expressing himself that isn't harming anyone and doesn't involve me involuntarily! Or if they hold views opposite mine, perhaps they'll rant about how it's a sin and shitluvr will burn in hell forever, though it isn't a stretch to imagine there's a lot of shit in hell, so maybe he'll be perfectly content there.

Whichever, whatever they express, the point is that they are indoctrinating their children, which is *THEIR JOB*, and they're doing it well. They are helping their children define a moral system. They're parenting.

by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 02:44:38 PM EST

British intelligence, probably MI6, is attacking cyrptome, which hosts documents that MI6 and the NSA (and the MPAA, for that matter) don't want you to see.

URL for mirror is

Download+Mirror! Quickly!

Note Cryptome is online (none / 0) (#71)
by kmself on Sun May 14, 2000 at 07:45:17 PM EST

Check for yourself. Spamming, even public interest spamming, is a bad thing.

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

And then there's the hardware circumvention... (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 03:52:31 PM EST

Assuming the main box is running Win 9x or some other insecure system, one could install a modem, change the IP and bypass the firewall...

But then you could password the BIOS of the client box, turn off the serial ports, yadda yadda... So never mind. Just one more item on the setup checklist.

Alright (1.00 / 1) (#59)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 03:54:43 PM EST

Keep the Big Brother eye on your children and it will be alright.

Question (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 03:55:49 PM EST

What do you do when your child starts using an encrypting anti-censorship proxy, roots your machine and bypasses the proxy, or just deletes/disables their history files? Would you punish them? Ignore it and trust them? Block the site?

Re: Question (none / 0) (#61)
by dash2 on Fri May 12, 2000 at 04:24:51 PM EST

Um.... slip them a copy of Razzle and a three pack of condoms & tell them to get out more.
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
[ Parent ]
Re: Question (none / 0) (#68)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat May 13, 2000 at 12:54:07 PM EST

Discuss it with them? The fact that they've installed such a proxy pretty much means that they're either A. Doing something they know/think you wouldn't want them to do or B. making some kind of small-scale anti-censorship statement, in which case they would probably have mentioned it.

[ Parent ]
Slightly better solution (3.00 / 1) (#62)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:03:05 PM EST

Even better than using a proxy is to do packet sniffing...this works really well if there are multiple computers in your home accessing the 'net over a LAN. Simply run the dsniff utility called urlsnarf on your personal secure machine while piping the output to a file.

Child Pornography != Children Seeing Porn (4.40 / 5) (#64)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 09:28:54 PM EST

Two comments:
  • Child pornography (pornography involving the exploitation and rape of children) is not the same as child (adolescent) access to pornography.
  • The notion that adolescents gaining access to pornography is harmful is dubious
I realize that this last item is going to piss alot of people off. The first is merely an observation about a point of confusion that seems to have been deliberation made by anti-porn activists. In other words anti-porn (and ultimately anti-free-speech) activist want all pornography to be labelled as "child" pornography by dint of the possibility that some child somewhere may be exposed to it.

Personally I do like to view the occasional bit of smut. (Actually I prefer reading stories, like A Man with a Maid by Anonymous --- fine victorian era smut). I first gained access to some smut when I was a teenager. I found Playboy and Penthouse issues in various places --- those are mostly boring, found some smut novels among my father's roomate's collection and some others on my mother's bookshelves.

Of course I'll immediately be labelled as an objectifying male chauvinist rapist pig by some people who read this. That fact that I'm happily married to my best friend in the whole world (whom I've lived with for over a decade) and the fact that I've never co-erced, cajoled, bribed or even pleaded for sex, and the fact that I find the idea of molesting children to be disgusting will have no impact on the opinions of those who would immediately condemn me for the previous paragraph's admission.

Of course most people reading this have already formed their opinion of me (and even formed a mental image). Most of you probably think you know what gender I am, and might even think you know the gender of my best friend.

As for the rest of you: I hope you will think about it. Question the assumption that any access to "porn" (whatever that is) by anyone under the magic age of majority (whatever that is) constitutes damnation and irreparable harm. That is the unquestioned assumption that underlies legislation against your freedom of speech.

All of the laws that encroach upon your freedom start (or at least are propagandized) as measures to protect somebody from some threat. The RICO statutes that were supposed to stop the drug lords from profiting while their poor pushers and smugglers took all the falls are being used every day in the U.S. to rob people blind for no more than mere association with someone who was in possession (or with any apparent connection to) a relatively harmless weed. (BTW: cannabis sativa is the root of our word "canvas" --- it is far less harmful medically then alcohol or nicotine, etc).

Every time you support some new law try to consider how it will be misapplied, extended and abused.

Re: Child Pornography != Children Seeing Porn (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat May 13, 2000 at 08:49:23 AM EST

I've had similar experiences. For some reason people would leave pages of Playboy strewn out on a walkway near my house. I looked at them, I found the images interesting/attractive/whatever; I didn't get screwed in the head with the images. I relatively normal, have a steady girlfriend. I too doubt the supposed damaging nature of pornography.

I (would) find violence, illogical reasoning, screwy morals, and not teaching the basics of society FAR more questionable than an affectionate sexual embrace.

When I was young (~11) I saw penetration - pretty much everything. I didn't become a pervert (at least I don't think I did). It's just reality.

In regards to this particular way of monitoring kids I'm of two minds. I like that it doesn't restrict anything and that it's up to the parent what sites they want to restrict. If anything's the best option this would probably be it, but there might be something else to consider.

When I was about 14 and finally got the internet I really liked going to KKK sites. Not because I agreed with anything they said, their views were stupid. But for some reason I found reading their discussions really amusing. It was so delusional I couldn't help but smirk. I also went to a few anti-homosexual sites. Always good for a laugh.

To anyone implementing this system you might like to remember that if someone reads a site it doesn't mean they agree with it. I went to godhatesfags.com to see what all the commotion was about (godlovesfags.com is much better :).

In my opinion exposing your kids to the right kind of 'evil'... as above is important. Teaching your children why these things are wrong is vital - and learning the pattern arguments these groups use is healthy.

ps. I have a steady girlfriend and a steady job; we are very happy. Unless i'm missing something i'm not a sexual deviant.

[ Parent ]

there's porn and then there' s pR0n... (none / 0) (#76)
by TheDullBlade on Tue May 16, 2000 at 01:08:17 PM EST

IMHO, certain problems can be caused by having no access to good porn during adolescence. I think a significant factor in the development of homosexuality is masturbating with no image of a desirable partner, only one's own body, present. I think there's nothing wrong with the kind of pictures you can find in Playboy (for example) - nude pictures of attractive members of the opposite sex. I don't believe in the immorality of homosexual behavior, but I certainly consider it to be a major disadvantage for a person, and I wouldn't want my kids to develop that way if it can be avoided (besides, I want grandchildren, someday!).

However, access to deviant material, like BDSM, while one is still figuring sex out, can seriously warp a kid's mind. Think on this: what if the first example of sex a child sees involves apparently non-consentual bondage and torture, and (being curious) they continue to view only this kind of material for months or even years. Don't you think their perception of "normal" sex would be sadistic? Consider that Masoch's first encounter with sex was viewing a woman beating a man with a whip; that image stayed with him as the norm of sex for his whole life.

I remember hearing an expert on serial rapists once saying that practically every one he investigated had (from a young age) access to a cache of the old pulp crime magazines, which invariably featured pictures of terrified women (often with torn clothing, usually menaced by a male figure). He theorized that this was their masturbation material throughout adolescence, and a significant factor in developing their criminal compulsions.

Similarly, many predatory (meaning ones who actually seek out strange children; as opposed to the majority who assault only their own family members) child molesters use children's swimsuit catalogs. It is possible that they started along that path because they didn't have access to proper and healthy pornography.

(note that the above two examples are situations where the person had no access to real pornography, and so improvised seriously deviant material; denial of access can be worse than access to real deviant material)

Nobody will ever convince me that access to deviant pornography at a young age doesn't contribute to deviant sexual practices. Supply your teens with the good stuff! "Hide" a stack of Playboys in the corner of the attic, and make your kid tidy the attic; leave a tasteful sex tape in the back of the video drawer (or under the stack of Playboys); and, of course, put a privacy lock on your kid's bedroom door, and don't snoop around too much in there.
Visit Boswa Bits, now with 99% less evil!
[ Parent ]

Define what you want to accomplish (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by Radagast on Sat May 13, 2000 at 03:07:38 AM EST

What exactly is it you're afraid that your kids will do on the net? Knowing that (and not in a fuzzy way, but clearly defined) is necessary before you start trying to achieve it. If not, you're likely to do idiotic things, lose respect in the eyes of your children, and have them bypass your measures anyway.

So what are the things you potentially don't want your kids to do on the net? Let's see:

Look at porn:
Kind of pointless. Unless we're talking about really young children, they shouldn't necessarily have a problem with seeing some nudity. Porn is also the kind of stuff that you normally don't stumble across. If your kids see porn on the net, it's because they were looking for it. And if they were looking for it, they're interested enough that they're not going to be stopped by anything short of really fascist measures, and probably not those either. So get over it.

Radical politics, religion, etc:
If you've done a decent job raising your kids, this shouldn't really be a problem. In fact, if you seriously want to restrict their access to this sort of material, you might want to consider if you don't have some problems yourself.

Communicate with potential sexual predators/other unwanted elements:
This is actually a reasonable thing to worry about. It's also one of those things that you can't really stop automatically. The only thing that'll work here is to talk to your kids, educate them, and they'll be ok. I've been in chat rooms where pretty young kids have been approached by people with obviously unsavoury motives, and the smart kids tell them off, usually pretty rudely. Pedophiles (which aren't, despite reports, swarming over the net) are pretty cowardly, and will turn away when kids stand up to them. Indeed most pedophiles aren't even interested in kids that aren't easy to lead and control, it's a part of the pathology. So if you want your kids to be safe from pedophiles, teach them to be independent little rebels.

So don't censor and don't watch your kids' online activities too much. They need some space to breathe, and even to explore things you don't really like them exploring. It lets them build into individuals instead of suburban plastic people.

Porn finds _you_. (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by pin0cchio on Sat May 13, 2000 at 01:30:44 PM EST

If your kids see porn on the net, it's because they were looking for it.

Or because they are using some of the less intelligent search engines that are easily spammed (try looking for "innocent" (not guilty, or the name of several Popes) on Excite (AltaVista, Go.com, and Lycos have passworded filters)). Often, pr0n sites include the entire dictionary on one of their web pages, in an attempt to lure surfers.

Or because they are viewing a site such as Hampsterdance, which (at one time) carried porn banners. (If you hate the hamsters, click here.)

[ Parent ]
I had to do something like this.... (4.00 / 2) (#67)
by linuxonceleron on Sat May 13, 2000 at 10:00:35 AM EST

When my family got DSL, I was put in charge of setting up an IP Masq box. The one catch that my parents made was that they wanted it to log *everything*. I set up squid and wrote a perl script, squidlog2sql, which logs computer, site, date, and time into a PostgreSQL database. They don't have much of a clue, but I was stupid enough to explain how it could be gotten around by not going through the proxy. They made me fix that by blocking all requests from internal net -> anywhere else:80. Fortunatley, I enabled apache's internal proxy that doesn't log for my own use ;) They read the database using MS Access, and every weekend it dumps the database into a 1mb or so flat html file in /home/httpd. It does keep my brother and sister out of porn, etc, but only on the family computer. I find my brother going to that stuff all the time on my machine whenever I'm away. *sighs*, and I didn't even get any reward for writing squidlog2sql. If anyone wants the code, e-mail me

I'm working on an AIM bot @ http://trisomy21.dhs.org

Policing your child's Internet access | 76 comments (76 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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