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When you have young children it’s important to monitor their online activity. As my daughter has got older, however, I have reduced the amount of such monitoring I do, giving her more privacy.

At first I used CyberPatrol, which is a paid-for product that will do everything from barring particular websites to time restricting program and internet usage. In time I moved to the free Windows Live Family Safety – this would monitor and restrict internet usage. I also had my daughters email settings send me emails that she received. Now both of these have gone (the latter longer than the former).

Now I no longer restrict what sites she can view but instead rely on being able to check her viewing history. She uses IE as a browser and I can check her viewing history at any point. I also know her email password – and she knows she’s not allowed to change it. In both cases it’s down to spot checks (assuming I make them) which makes it more of a threat of being caught than anything else. None-the-less she’s mature enough now to know what’s wrong and what’s right and that I can give her the level of trust that allows me to do this.

Before you wonder why she doesn’t just clear her viewing history, well, apart from it being obvious that she has, I’ve taken steps in that I’ve created two scripts. These (and they work up to and including IE8) will switch off and on the “General” tab in the Options, which is where the option to clear history exists. This isn’t fool-proof but will certainly do for my needs.

Here’s the code to turn the tab OFF.

And here’s the code to turn the tab back ON.

Both should be saved as .reg extensions and executed – they need to be run only once.

The first script adds a new entry into the registry and allows you to turn specific tabs off – in this case the General tab, but you can turn off others simply by changing their corresponding dword to 00000001.
The second script removes this new entry and, hence, restores any hidden tabs.

Alternatively, download the scripts here from.