Sunday, 10 October 2010

Safer family surfing

Forty years ago, the telephone used to be something that hung on the wall, and you ran to pick it up when it rang, today it is playing Youtube videos in the hands of your 8 year old on the back seat while driving home.
Last weekend they were playing some video full of beeps (most youtube videos the kids find have beeps), they think it's hilarious, and the telling thing is, they know how to use google.
A good example is to type in "star wars" on Youtube, optionally add the words "stormtrooper dance", now an 8 year-old will not know what this fellow is doing, but the action is funny because it is repetitive. And if as a parent you react badly, and take away their access, or reprimand strongly, you are not being a good parent at all.
So what can you do? Use your noggin, and do it all for free - free as in free beer, not free rain. You will have a computer running Windows XP or newer, it you have Windows 7, some of the work has already been done for you. It's called Family Safety.
So here is where we start, if you scan the Family Safety web page, it is included free in the Windows Live Essentials pack, this used to be called MSN Essentials or Messenger Pack, and still includes a whole bundle of useless things. Before you download, remember, you only want the Family Safety application, so when you run it, and the installer asks a question, ignore and turn off all the other options and only install the Family Safety, you do not need to install any toolbars or other things at all.
At this point you will have more instructions, you need to create an account for each computer user, now unless you are not a "typical home-user", this is really quite easy as you will see shortly. If you know what a domain controller is, and how to manage one, stop reading this now!

Even if each child does not need their own account, I suggest you create an account for everyone, even if they are only 5 years old. Now an account is nothing more than an identity, and is really a extension of your email identity. See my other posts for a quick start to safer surfing