Trust in your children, but monitor their online activity anyway! A good parent is going to keep tabs on their children. The fact is that children stray. They are sometimes led astray by their peers and sometimes they just get curious and go where they know they shouldn’t.
How do you keep tabs on them? Well, the easiest way is to check your internet history and see if there are any websites that you find objectionable in it. The problem with checking the history is that the length of time to save the history can be set to never save it or you can set your browser to delete the history upon closing the application. This can make it extremely difficult to monitor your child. Even without automatic deletions and no browser history saving, your children can alter that history to where you don’t see every place they have been. All they have to do is open the history and choose which webpages to delete and which to leave on so that it looks like that is the only places they went without bringing on the suspicion of deleting all the history. Remember, our children are becoming a bit more computer savvy than we are in these high tech times. (I realized this when I found out my teenagers friends were hacking into each others Runescape accounts and cleaning out the items and making off with the Runescape Gold.)
Get PC Pandora or a similar program that will take snapshots of your desktop at regular intervals. PC Pandora can be downloaded for no cost to try. It will just have limited functionality. You won’t be able to see passwords, enlarge the snapshots or see the keystrokes themselves. However, the list of websites will make it clear whether or not the site is desireable and you can go to it if there is any question in your mind. And even the small snapshot pics are large enough to make those particular sites stick out. Then you can check that program and look at all the places visited. You can even get keystrokes, which will include passwords, and chats if you purchase and unlock all the features fully. PC Pandora is nice because you can choose to set it to run in stealth mode and no one will know they are being monitored. Sounds sneaky, but you don’t expect them to do something questionable when they know you are watching do you?
This could bring up a whole other issues and leave us wondering if no one can expect privacy, especially in their own home, their own room or their own laptop. Minors in my house will be subject to my rules and if they are using my computer, I feel quite right to monitor them. In fact, it is my duty as a parent to make sure they are doing what they should be and not what they want to be.
One of my children just got “busted” going to inappropriate sites. At least when we confronted them with the proof in screenshots, there was no need for denials. The only choice was to accept that they were caught and face the music.
Should we have informed them of the software before they did something to hang themselves? Should we have let them know that big brother, or mother in this case, was watching? Not if we wanted to candidly see what they were doing while online. They would have behaved completely differently had we not checked up on them. Was it a setup? Of course it was, but we wanted honest representations of their activities, not edited for television versions. The true test of your children’s obedience to your rules will come when they don’t think anyone will know what they are doing. And you can truly put your trust in them when they choose to do the right thing anyway.
PC Pandora, Protect Your Child From Online Dangers