help me block the internet from my tech savvy teens !

(51 Posts)
wakemeupnow Wed 25-Sep-13 19:56:38

Im looking for a way to limit my kids overall daily time on the internet.

Im not looking to block certain social networking sites, or to block keywords (that is easy to do anyway), or to prevent them going on the internet between certain times. I want them to manage their daily allowance. So a per-user time limit, whichever device they are using; xbox, smartphone, pc, ipad.

it seems that a password to access the internet is the best way. Impossible to add software to all those different devices (and any new ones their friends bring in!). They are very savvy and would easily work out ways to use proxy to bypass most software solutions anyway.

If anyone has found a solution to this please let me know.

wakemeupnow Fri 27-Sep-13 08:04:53

Wow.. Thanks so for the detailed post friday... handing your post over to my DH .. he's much more nerdy than me wink

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sun 29-Sep-13 06:48:54

toria we have a sky router as well. How did you do it please?

friday16 Sun 29-Sep-13 07:51:45

We have it so dds tablet goes off at 9 but all other devices stay on

As a point of information, the mechanism by which this works can be bypassed for most devices (all computers, many consoles, most tablets and phones) by a reasonably tech-savvy 13 year old.

Jenny70 Sun 29-Sep-13 08:11:05

Simplest answer is to change the wifi code at set time of day... you keep it and can access it, but only tell them next day. Very simple to cut access before/after certain time, but not solving the switching from one to another endlessly dilemma.

I believe net nanny has the ability to monitor usage and websites per login - can say no facebook after 8pm, only 2hrs of minecraft etc, but not sure on xbox etc. I don't have it, so can't vouch for ease of use or bypassability!

friday16 Sun 29-Sep-13 08:34:47

Simplest answer is to change the wifi code at set time of day

How many devices do you have in your house? We don't have any consoles, but nonetheless the WiFi is serving four phones, three laptops, a desktop, a TV and an Internet-connected radio (both with hideous "scroll and click" input mechanisms) and an iPad. And we have regular visitors (grandparents, mostly) who have their phones/laptops configured to use our WiFi when they visit. I doubt any of this is atypical in a house with teenagers, and the absence of consoles and the fact that we only have one iPad means we probably have fewer devices than many. Changing the WPA secret daily? Seriously?

wakemeupnow Sun 29-Sep-13 10:27:04

I had an idea which may work....

buy another cheap router which the Dc have password to and which goes on and off at set times and keep the old router which Dh and I use which only we know the password to.

That way we could limit them and not us... Still doesn't solve the problem of how to allow an amount of time without set scheduled hours......

also if you unplug a router does it reset the settings automatically ? , if not I'm sure it wouldn't take the long to suss that out hmm

This idea also presumably doubles the amount of invisible wifi waves in our home environment which isn't great confused

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sun 29-Sep-13 10:33:41

Dare I say it, but we all could just try trusting our children to be sensible?

Obviously I will be doing this. That is, after I have installed Net Nanny, which is available with a £5 discount this week.

friday16 Sun 29-Sep-13 10:48:22

Dare I say it, but we all could just try trusting our children to be sensible?

Indeed. My daughters are 15 and 17. We've had an unrestricted, "as fast as the technology of the time" internet connection in the house since before they were born (about 1992, I think) and have never implemented any significant filtering. I have, occasionally, taken a seven-day snapshot of what they're doing, and not found anything to concern me. If people's children can't be trusted to use computers sensibly, why do they permit their children to have computers?

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sun 29-Sep-13 11:00:38

Friday I agree, depending on the child. I have Windows family safety on my eldest's laptop and will have Net Nanny on the one for my youngest but later will just stick with WFS for them as well.
I have it more to block what they might accidentally come across rather than what they might intentionally see - my DD stumbled across a horrible self harm site when doing some citizenship homework.

wakemeupnow Sun 29-Sep-13 11:29:02

Just out of interest how long do your Dc spend on screens a day when left to their own devices ?

friday16 Sun 29-Sep-13 11:36:38

Just out of interest how long do your Dc spend on screens a day when left to their own devices ?

Aside from doing homework? Half an hour, an hour maybe. There's slightly more multi-tasking with phones running while they're downstairs (there's only one TV) than there was a few years ago, I guess: they live-tweet #gbbo, for example. No video games, no computer games, no consoles, no TVs in bedrooms makes a huge difference, of course. They appear to follow a few vloggers, use facebook to make social plans, that's about it.

When people complain about "too much screen time" what are their children doing? Computer games? The solution's simple.

NotsoSmugNow Sun 29-Sep-13 11:45:13

If people's children can't be trusted to use computers sensibly, why do they permit their children to have computers?

Because DCs make mistakes, succumb to peer pressure and don't understand the risks.

We talked only yesterday to DSS(10) who recently searched Youtube for the word 'sex'. Because he hasn't got an account so hadn't confirmed his age, the search didn't return any results. We asked him if he'd searched for the same thing on Google. He said that he didn't see the point because he thought that Google would do the same thing. How long before he works out that isnt the case - and a Google search will return all sorts of horrendous results?

We can tell him not to search for 'sex', 'big boobs' etc but really? Of course he's going to do it! What's important is that what he sees is harmless (Phil Scofield interviewing a lady with huge knockers on daytime TV) not adult-content or porn. Filters and restrictions are critical to allow DCs to experiment and grow up safely - just like stabilisers on a bike; they keep them safe until they've learnt the skills to manage without.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sun 29-Sep-13 12:05:49

Just about all the time sad She doesn't play games but I have no real idea what she is doing unless I check the windows family safety logs.
A quick peek just now shows 93% of the websites were facebook, the bbc (which she used more than any other) ytimg.com, answers.com and wikipedia.

friday16 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:27:42

How long before he works out that isnt the case - and a Google search will return all sorts of horrendous results?

A Google search for "sex"? I've got a Google account and all the safety catches turned off, and the first dozen pages of results look pretty innocuous. There's a moderately racy Cosmopolitan article, but the rest is from the New York Times, the Sydney Morning Herald and other such places. And The American Conservative. For page after page of results, it's mostly hits on newspaper and magazine articles, and nothing that would be "top shelf", never mind "plastic wrapped". I got bored after a while, but page 22 features a rather good article from The New Yorker about Sex in the City.

"Big boobs" gives some salacious results with Safesearch turned off (there's a link to xvideos on the first page, for example), but with Google Safesearch turned on it's mostly stuff about the film "Big", "Big Brother", etc. Because "The word "boobs" has been filtered from the search because Google SafeSearch is active". I think Safesearch is on by default these days, isn't it, and you have to actively opt out? Dunno.

My assumption is that anyone old enough to search for this sort of stuff is old enough to bypass the restrictions, by the way. The filters will stop an incurious nine year old, but for anyone else they present very little challenge.

NotsoSmugNow Sun 29-Sep-13 12:59:52

The filters will stop an incurious nine year old, but for anyone else they present very little challenge.

That's good to know - we'll stop worrying about it then!

wakemeupnow Sun 29-Sep-13 18:03:12

If people's children can't be trusted to use computers sensibly, why do they permit their children to have computers?

I am not particularly worried about them being exposed to dodgy things. I can check their histories and have never found anything disturbing.
My teens have an x box they never use so it's not even gaming that's a problem here.

The problem in our house is the more social side of computers and phones that has them constantly checking and answering messages, creating silly photoshop pictures to send , checking the latest on 9 gag or twitter etc. It's all pretty harmless stuff and, in moderation, a fun way to communicate .... but SO much time can be frittered away on this.

The urge to answer the latest message or check a status update is pretty addictive and very distractive.

friday16 Mon 30-Sep-13 00:04:43

I can check their histories and have never found anything disturbing.

It's fortunate that browsers don't have Porn Mode "Private Browsing" that allows you to browse without anything being added to your history. Oh, wait, they do? Damn.

wakemeupnow Mon 30-Sep-13 06:20:44

Sure I've found a bit of porn from time to time but I'd say that's fairly normal for ds' 15 and 17.

I do fear for them though because I think that our Teens have absolutely no concept of the digital trail they are leaving behind them that could potentially come back to haunt them one day.

They don't get it that anything they post online is equivialent to putting the same on a billboard in the centre of town.

friday16 Mon 30-Sep-13 07:15:34

They don't get it that anything they post online is equivialent to putting the same on a billboard in the centre of town.

As a long-term Internet (and its precursors) user Google has some rather purple prose I wrote in 1984. Most of early Usenet was thought lost, but some backup tapes turned up about ten years ago and gave Google a slightly patchy view of the mid-1980s, which happens to include me. There's then a pretty continuous stream of my writing from 1987 onwards, almost all under my real name. I'm fairly relaxed about it.

MaddAddam Mon 30-Sep-13 18:59:12

It's a bit late for some of this if your teens have multiple devices, but I have fairly sensible (and reasonably honest) 13 and 12 year olds and we do restrict their internet access as the 12yo is quite obsessive in nature about tv/computers/life in general and finds it hard to moderate. 13yo would be fine, probably.

A condition of getting laptops was that they went to sleep at 9pm til 7am. Yes a savvy child could adjust that, and one dd is learning computer programming already, but we trust them not to. And if they did we'd just remove the laptops - a week at a time, or only to be used in our company. So it's a condition of getting the device that it's used with limits and they stick to this even if they can amend the settings. They don't yet have smartphones though 12yo nearly got one recently, but I'd make them hand them in at 9pm too, I've heard other people do this and it works fine.

My dp is a computer programmer, we have a home server and a networked house so he is very adept at checking browsing history but we don't feel the need so far.

So it's a mixture of setting the systems to close down, then negotiating an agreed use, and there being sanctions if they don't stick to it.

I find I have to censor my own internet use too, it's not just dc, I don't have a smartphone cos I know I wouldn't stop checking work emails day and night. And I have a non-wifi kindle not a tablet cos I know I'd keep stopping reading to browse the internet. It's not just kids and you don't necessarily grow out of needing settings and limits, IMO. so I'm trying to teach the dc to set their own limits but realistically, how many of us succeed?

NoComet Mon 30-Sep-13 19:17:49

And you all know what your carefully monitored DCs are doing at their friends houses and their/their friends iPhones on the school bus.

Mucking about on FB (which they are not allowed, DD2) and googling big tits and far worse if they are boys. Girls probably do too, but you can be certain girls learn to clear their history first.

friday16 Mon 30-Sep-13 19:34:18

And you all know what your carefully monitored DCs are doing at their friends houses and their/their friends iPhones on the school bus.

A few years ago, one of our friends sat us down and had A Very Serious Conversation about how we were irresponsible to permit our children to use Facebook (they were at this stage something like 15 and 13) and how their sons (similarly aged) not only didn't use it, but wouldn't be using it had not even asked about it. Had we considered following in their ludicrous virtuous footsteps?

We managed to keep a straight face, and then afterwards confirmed with our kids what we already knew, that our friend's sons had been using Facebook for years, mostly round at the neighbour's house, occasionally on the family computer.

This was all ludicrously self-defeating, and smacked of parents who insist that their DDs would never have sex (or, as they probably think of it, s e x) right up until the appointment at the abortion clinic. The only reason for the much-bruited "you have to be 13" rule on FB (&c) is a clause in COPPA which makes it onerous for US companies who are offering services within the US to accept 12 year olds as customers. They're not imposing that because they've made some careful judgement about appropriate ages, they're doing it because collecting parental consents is a pain. I made my own judgement, in the manner of 12A films, and was therefore able to regularly ask my kids if there were any problems and also, critically, sit with them and (a) set up their privacy controls properly and (b) establish two-factor authentication tied to their phones so that their accounts couldn't be hi-jacked.

Lo and behold, the friend's sons ended up with some hideous bullying problem, one had their account compromised, neither had their privacy settings done properly and after this all kicked off, they didn't dare tell their parents because they officially weren't using FB in the first place. Utter shambles.

NoComet Mon 30-Sep-13 20:14:15

Exactly I hope that if my DDs get in a mess they will have the sense to talk to me or DH as, having given them free range in everything except FB, they know week only dole out minor bollockings without looking silly.

NoComet Mon 30-Sep-13 20:15:37

Week = we can (how autocorrect, just how?!)

fourpaws Mon 30-Sep-13 21:39:10

Ah yes, its hateful having to keep on at them, isn't it? Funnily enough we had a discussion about this at teatime, and it was remarkably civil - kids (13 & 16) did recognise that youtube & tickld were in danger of eating up their lives, and that they needed more exercise/sleep/to do a bit more around the house etc. And volunteered that they wd try to limit themselves, so we didn't turn off their devices, social networking etc for hours on end. They even agreed to have wifi off from 9-9.30 on w/e mornings, to remind them to get out of bed!!

I am lucky as OH quite tech savvy so has been able to selectively block social networking at 'homework time' (tbh is big help for me too, I work at home), and also allow different devices different times for access to internet. It is pretty fiddly, don't think I'd be able to do it.

But we find its really important to get as much buy-in as possible - expect all here are familiar with the despairing rage of a teenager unexpectedly cut off from their 'supplies' - which just takes the whole process backwards in our experience.

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