Parental Controls

Windows Vista will have parental controls, but I’m not upgrading anytime soon, not for anything mission critical like my Halo server.

So how to limit my kid’s mischief on the computer? In my household, the issue is playing more hours of computer games than I think prudent. Games reduce time available for reading, exercise and real life socializing. I don’t mind the games so long as they don’t squeeze out time for these other activities. Ideally, a computer would be used for a hour or two gaming and maybe an hour or two doing useful stuff, like writing, learning something, reading wikipedia. So can technology help me or must I stand behind my son all the time?

- KidsWatch Time Contorl- This either prohibits an application or says it can only be played for a set amount of time depending on the schedule and user.

-LUA, aka, limited account- It is good for preventing accidental installation of spyware. Many legitimate games still require administrative rights.

-Keystroke loggers, screen recorders- Too much information, Big brother isn’t exactly a good idea for adults or children.

-Firewalls- Some firewalls can open ports for particular time schedules, this might help for a limited range of applications. NetNanny and the like can block some, but not all sites with naked people and foul language. Besides, the more you restrict that kind of content because it isn’t suitable for children, the louder the message is that the content is suitable for adults.

-USB keys- These applications turn off the computer when the keys aren’t in place. I don’t mind excessive computer usage for good (reading wikipedia, learning to program), so turning the whole thing off just means the first budgeted hours on the computer will be used for gaming, then the computer gets turned off. Hardly the desired outcome.

Here’s the delicious tag with links

http://del.icio.us/suburbandestiny/ParentalControl (my parental control links)

http://del.icio.us/tag/ParentalControl (everyone’s parental control links)

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