I think all attempts to solve a social issue (lack of communication between family members etc) through technology are bound to fail...if you limit access to technology inside your house there are always ways to break out that limitation either thru technology as many of you pointed out or thru deception (mom, I need to go to library to study etc)...engage with your kids! Brian: appreciate the link to WSJ article...Kris
Some great responses so thank you and codemgr is absolutely correct in that my kid defeated the controls by interupting the boot sequence and made herself an admin to unlock the system (thanks Apple!). Surely there must be a way to lock down a system?
all of these parental controls and other methods of content control only work for those innocently surfing the web. its very simple to create like a linux boot cd and open the system outside of all of these programs.
If your houses are anything like mine, you often see an appalling site: Every one in the room sitting tapping away on their devices as they sit next to each other.
These devices are technologically mind-blowing, but what they're doing to our social interaction in real life is starting to play out in disturbing ways.
There are no ready answers.
Not only are parental controls ineffective, but the mere act of attempting to impose those controls might encourage the very behavior that parents are trying to prevent.
The forbidden fruit is made all the more appealing by the fact that it is forbidden. This is especially true of teenagers!
Fortunately, all of my current neighbors have secured their wifi. I use a keyword block on my router that easily blocks lots of stuff. For example xxx will block any internet request with those three letters in a row. my favorite keyword is torrent! (I also have specific sites specified). That has squished most of my kids bandwidth hogging activity. Logging tells me what they're spending their time on. I can also access my router anywhere on the internet so I can remove or modify a keyword from my Android phone browser. The bigger challenge is all of my kids have full browser capable phones. Although I can turn off access on Sprint, the ability to monitor specific things is beyond my patience level. However, I can turn things off and on and this threat (and their uncertainty about how much I know what they are doing) I believe causes some compliance. On the up side, the "family finder" app allows me to know where they are at (and find their phone if they lose it).
The Internet can be a dangerous place, but so can a host of other things. Very few things that we interact with on a regular basis can not be misused in some way or form and put to negative use.
In my opinion, parents need to treat the Internet like any other thing that requires responsibility - a car, for example. If you start the education young and do a reasonably thorough job of that training, than your kids will be much less likely to get into trouble.
No one can guarantee safety on the Internet, in a car or anywhere else. But with proper education, you can greatly increase the chance of safety.
Trying to control access from outside is a waste of time. As Scott Adams has said, no technology stands a chance against the hormone fueled inquisitiveness of a 13 year old.
Rather you stand a far better chance of protecting the kid from the inside. Explain to them that internet is fansasy land and they should not believe all that they see there.
Explain the benefits of education so that they actually want to do their homework for their own benefit, not just as a drag.