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The W - Internet & Computers - Locking down a computer from a minor
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Guru Zim
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.81
So, I'm not looking for the complete answer here, but this is an area where I'm having problems getting good information... which is sad, really.

I will be hosting a 13 year old for the summer, and I find myself needing to lock down access to my PC and the internet. I already know how to set up the TV, TiVo, and DVD player with parental controls, but I have never had to do this. I've also never done it on a PC before.

Are there decent software apps that I can set up on an XP profile to lock down where the kid can go, but keep my setup relatively easy to use? Also, is there an easy way to set up the XP profile so that he can't read any folders or install software?

The sad thing is I could do this if I had a domain and wanted to set up GPOs, but I don't know the first thing about the consumer stuff.

Just point me in a direction if you have done this before.

I'm running Windows XP Media Center 2005



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odessasteps
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Since: 2.1.02
From: MD, USA

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.46

do you guys only have 1 computer? I would have thought you had multiples. If so, could you just "kid proof" one and just "lock out" the others?



Mark Coale
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Since: 24.3.02
From: Oshkosh, WI

Since last post: 510 days
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.12
Not sure about blocking where they go on the internet. When my parents tried it several years ago, it seemed every program was either too lax (allowing things to slip through, or relying on self-policing) or too strict (blocking your access to Middlesex Community College, for example. But you could play around with CyberPatrol, or NetNanny, or one of those other programs, and see if they'll do the job.

As for the second part, about making sure the child doesn't access other things on the computer, that's pretty easy.

Set up a Windows profile, and give it limited access. Users with limited access are not allowed to install programs, make system-wide changes, or make changes to accounts (other than changing the password on their own account). I think they also block access to certain folders as well. Otherwise, as the administrator, you can make folders in your user profile (basically, things in My Documents, Desktop, Start Menu, and Favorites) private, blocking another user from opening them.



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Since: 25.2.02

Since last post: 39 days
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.89
"User Accounts" in Control Panel is your starting point for Mr. Boffo's excellent suggestions.

wmatistic
Andouille








Since: 2.2.04
From: Austin, TX

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.53
Creating him an account is the right idea and probably putting him in a new group you've created. You could use the User group, but you don't want to change it's default settings probably. Make sure you turn off simple file sharing(My Computer, Tools, Folder Options, View, scroll to the last check box) so you can have more control over the security settings. If you have it on and look at a file or folder there is no Security tab. turn it off and it appears.

Using that, go to your hard drive in My Computer and select properties on your hard drive(s). Go to the security tab and restrict him by the group or username you have chosen. Play around until it's the way you want.

Also to go further you can use the mmc to restrict certain things from everyone that isn't an admin account. Start Menu, Run, type "mmc", File, Add-Remove Snap In, Add, scroll to Group Policy click on it and click Add, Click Finish, Close, OK. Now just click around using the plus signs and you'll find all the extra restrictions you can apply.

Assuming you use IE I think you can do enough with it to restrict web browsing. May take some time to ensure sites you don't want blocked aren't and those you do are, but it's not that hard. Open IE, go to Tools, Internet Options, Content, under Content Advisor click Enable and have fun.

Granted that's probably more specific than you needed, but I've been able to really lock down a system using just those methods so I think you'll be fine there too. Just hope they don't have Winternals and set up good passwords. :)
Sec19Row53
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Oconomowoc, WI

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.07
I have and use Net Nanny at home. It works ok, although I won't swear that I've tried to track its ability to filter sites. Depending on the current headline at a given time, it will or won't load the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (my home page). You can set up multiple users, so if you set up default settings to be "tough" access, you're in OK shape (then you can log in if you need beter access).

If you have specific questions on it, I'd be happy to research at home.
StaggerLee
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Since: 3.10.02
From: Right side of the tracks

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.50
(deleted by Guru Zim on 8.6.06 1528)
Roy.
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Since: 25.2.04
From: Keystone State

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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.84
One important thing to do is to stay smarter than the 13 year-old. I taught kids that age, and they are surprisingly good at getting around the restricting software. I don't have to tell you about obvious passwords, but I had to tell our computer teacher at school (who started as a typewriter keyboarding teacher and was almost clueless about computers).

While the program also filtered out words and adult sites, some of my students thought it would be funny to make a very dirty picture the homepage of our internet programs.

They got the picture from (I think) imageshack, and the filename was simply 01.jpg. The filtering software saw (whatever).com/01.jpg as a harmless file, even though it clearly wasn't.

We blocked a bunch of sites by hand, as well, by looking at what the students were looking at and deciding on our own if they were appropriate. I can't belive how many of my students had myspace accounts (and were lying about their age).

I wish I knew the program we used at school. It would be wise to stay away from it, but it's not coming to me.
cranlsn
Liverwurst








Since: 18.3.02
From: Sussex, WI

Since last post: 46 days
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.83

I'll chime in with another "obvious", but sometimes overlooked item. Yes the 13 year old might be smart enough to get around security and filtering, but he might not remember to clear his history and/or cache. I believe you can set a profile in XP to not have that ability either.

That way...you can always check what's been perused, and call him on it if necessary. My brother's father-in-law had a teenage grandson that used his computer alot, but wasn't too savvy about hiding where he'd been.

I managed to set up a user profile in his Norton Internet Security which worked really well...but in the end caused problems when it got a little overzealous in locking out all profiles...so I wouldn't reccomend that route. (Sorry CRZ!)

Is your main worry of the inappropriate viewing materials...or that you might have a security risk depending on where said teenager likes to hang out on the 'net?
Guru Zim
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.81
I don't want the kid to be able to trojan / spyware / adware my system accidentally. I'm not as concerned about surfing because he shouldn't be unsupervised on the web but I do want to at least look into it.



Ignorance is bliss for you, hell for me.
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