Monday, August 09, 2010

Teens and the Internet

As a kid who did it all myself and was very tech savvy, i know that a parents have a pretty hopeless job in censoring the internet.

Teenagers are highly motivated to seek out the banned and nowadays with multimedia mobiles and such, the there is no sure way of ensuring that kids will not be exposed to images that are inappropriate for their age. Yes this gives them unrealistic expectations of their future imagined self but....

I don't think that all the filth, violence and narrow mindedness on the net is actually damaging on its own (yes it can be abused by sadists, bullies & politicians to create fear, to further their own gain, but that's not specific to the internet). In some-ways this noise gives parents the opportunity to discuss the world, and that's the important bit, being able to discuss and explain the world with them, by sharing and partaking in it.

So i think the best tactics are communication, encouraging trust, and good example media.. Channel4 did a series on this and is both enlightening for parents and children -

Ok - so liberal wishwash over with, lets get pratical and see our options..

Not having computers in the bedrooms or personal laptops is a good idea.
Keeping doors open in the house, if you do have a laptop etc..

Open discussion
- explaining boundaries - what is or is not appropriate at what age..
- behaviour on-line, particularly with others while at home, and how they are representing the family group, that they belong to.
- consequences

---to install on router.... to filter the internet, a bit draconian, but its applied to the whole family, and as rules are rules when going to the cinema 18, buying alcohol, or going to bed earlier than adults, this is the same..

---to install on computers to monitor chat & social sites... for 'friendly' surveillance(if such a thing exists). I like this because unlike other parent keystroke logger it just sends warnings to the parent. So you can then bring it up with the child without seeing what was fully said and reading their 'private' messages..

Another issue to consider before installing any such software above is.... have the kids bugged your computer? Its very easy to do, and if they have they will have access to any passwords you used to control that software. Here is a list of anit-bugging software. As with all passwords make sure that its got letters and numbers in it, and is at least 8 character long, and is not based upon personal information (pets name, birthday etc..._

---to find malware/keystoke loggers Windows(haven't tried these, but they come recommended)
(trial version) (free) (trial version) (trial version)

---to test if your anti-keystroke logger software is working (windows)...

---to find malware/keystoke loggers OSX/Mac (trial version)

--Good Anti-virus (free/open source)
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