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Setting up internet access for 8/9 year old, ideas please!

(7 Posts)
catsofa Tue 08-Jul-14 01:53:28

Please could people give me an idea of what their house rules are for an 8/9 year old re: computer and internet use, and how they have set up a device for them to use? Any contributions welcome, some of my thoughts so far are:

Is it possible to set up a PC to only be able to access a list of sites that you have pre-approved?

Does it sound reasonable to ask that a child this age should give their parents their username and password for any site for which they have one? And that they should only be allowed to access sites which are specifically intended for children?

How likely is a child to accidentally introduce viruses, malware, or just annoying random rubbish etc onto a family PC?

Do you routinely block ads so that kids don't get a brain full of advertising rubbish and/or click on stuff they don't realise is not real content (e.g. YOU ARE MILLIONTH CUSTOMER CLICK HERE FOR GRAND PRIZE!")

Does everyone really actually supervise at all times, i.e. can see the screen over shoulder all the time when kids are on?

Is there any place, at this sort of age, for software that logs which sites have been visited and what was viewed? I've dealt with teens quite a lot and totally understand the trust/spying issue, and don't think I'd want to do this without a child being aware that their use was being logged. But if they knew their history was viewable by a parent, do you think that might curb curiosity to go looking for things they know they shouldn't?

Any other things I may not have thought of, please throw in too - bear in mind that I don't have children of my own and the internet wasn't really invented until I was in my teens myself, so I have little idea of anything which is why I'm asking! Am reasonably techie myself though, so e.g. child would have their own profile on the machine and not be allowed to share with an adult.

ScarlettSahara Tue 08-Jul-14 02:21:14

This is a minefield. Norton anti-virus protection is good and Norton family restricts sites but even then evil people will attach nasty images to a search for" kitten" for example.
We set up protection on the laptop but ommited it on the i-pod and found our daughter had accessed anorexic promotion so I would say yes supervise closely and have rules.
I did not allow laptop use out of my sight. I explained about paedophiles and fishing for information. The internet can be wonderful but it can also be abused.
There are child protection sites that offer advice but can't recall the names.
Hope that is of some help. I believe open communication between you and your child is key.

ScarlettSahara Tue 08-Jul-14 02:24:33

Forgot to say yes to you knowing usernames and passwords. You need to know who they communicate with and what is said and for us that was the deal. same with ipod.

catsofa Wed 09-Jul-14 18:35:42

Great thanks, I'll have a look at Norton. I guess it would be ok to have unsupervised access if the machine was actually blocked from anything but certain sites we've vetted, which don't have any chat-type functions on them, e.g. Cartoon Network and games without chat.

Google searches sound risky, can we block Google? Can it be un-blocked easily when an adult is available to supervise closely so we can look up interesting things together?

Is there such a thing as a ready-made list of safe sites for kids?

Claire1920 Fri 29-Aug-14 23:20:41

If your PC is running Windows 8, you can use it's excellent "Family Safety" feature. You can find the instructions here
www.opentechguides.com/how-to/article/windows-8/29/win8-family-safety.html

giantfudge Mon 01-Dec-14 14:40:44

https://www.pennyred.net might be of interest... I've literally just launched it and it allows parents to screen/moderate incoming emails for young children. It's only a partial solution in your case, but might still be helpful.

More broadly, forcing kids to use tablets (android or iOS) or linux on the desktop is a good way of reducing annoyances related to malware etc. It's even possible to set them up a virtual machine using https://www.virtualbox.org — so it runs linux in a sandbox on your windows machine.

BertieBotts Mon 01-Dec-14 14:55:57

I find K9 the best free software. It has different levels of safety filters with the tightest only allowing websites that you specify on a "whitelist", and the other settings having a list of websites they block which you can leave as it is or customise it with exceptions and extra blocks too.

Google has a safesearch mode which isn't foolproof but is very good. It's really unlikely that you'll get something unsavoury by googling "kitten". Only if you accidentally google something which sounds innocent but isn't (I remember the dragon butter thread! Don't google that!) Go to google and google anything you like and on the results page there will be a cog wheel on the right hand side. Click on that to set up safesearch. I've just tested that by searching "bottoms" with safesearch off and on, off brings up a load of underwear model pictures on the main page whereas off brings up the TV programme, no images on the main page, a few pages of bikini websites and places selling tracksuit bottoms. If you click through to images you see underwear models but nothing worse than you'd see on the beach, and if you try and google "shit" or "porn" it comes up completely blocked. (Sorry trying to think of words which might be edgy to a 9 year old!) "sex" brings up some news results about sex offenders, sex advice pages and the wikipedia article about sex.

I agree to having a blanket rule about using the laptop in full view of adults rather than privately. And as you allow her more freedom on the net in the coming years, talk to her about stuff she might come across - not just paedophile grooming danger (which is important) but also the other things - distressing photographs/videos of disasters or news events (beheadings etc), porn - not just the normal sex kind but also shock pictures/videos, emotionally distressing stories of the kind you used to get via email but are now shared on facebook (This child was burned alive by her evil stepfather, but facebook are donating 3 cents per share, etc) often with pictures. Hoaxes, scare stories (if you don't forward this to 5 people you will die in 7 days, again sometimes with creepy pictures), emotional trolls on forums. I think those are all the topics I'd want to cover.

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