David Artiss

Computers & Child Safety

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My daughter has her own laptop which she has in her bedroom. For safety I use CyberPatrol to restrict her usage of it. However, she’s come across a problem with it, that I believe also affects most other software of this type.

It has time management facilities, where I can stop her from using the PC in the middle of the night. If you wind the system clock backwards it knows tampering has occurred and stops access until it’s resolved. But if you move the clock forward it can’t tell (after all, you could simply have just had the PC turned off during this time). She now knows this and can access the laptop when she shouldn’t.

So, I contacted CyberPatrol to ask them if there was a technical solution to this. There isn’t but they said…

our software cannot replace the most powerful Internet Filter of all, you as the parent or administrator of our software and the computer use in general.

So that’s the get-out clause. They sell software to try and monitor and restrict usage. When it doesn’t work, it’s up to me as I should be keeping an eye on it anyway. So why bother?

Indeed, I won’t. My licence is up soon and I didn’t even bother waiting for the expiry date – last night I uninstalled CyberPatrol and installed (pause for breath) Windows Live OneCare Family Safety. It’s free but doesn’t have the time management functionality but, hey, when it can be so easily over-ridden, what’s the point?

Categories: Life

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1 Comment

  1. Susan from web developers

    15th June 2008 — 9:14 pm

    Nowadays there are so many new things you have to do to protect your child which your parents did not have to do, so it is like swimming in unknown waters… I think, that if I had a child, he would want to get a pc because most of his friends would have it. But on the one hand, I would not like to install a program, which restricts something and which make from me some kind of police, but on the other hand, internet is full of junk and things, that a young child should not see, know or he should not be in contact with strange people. I was hoping that a child would be more interested in pc-games than searching on the internet until he would understand everything and would not use it for “bad” purposes… But I think that it is naive from me…
    One solution for you would be Linux 🙂 you could install it on her pc, you would be the root and she only a user and I think, that as a user she could not change the time 🙂 But I do not know, if that cyberpatrol works under Linux to…

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