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Rethinking IM Privacy For Kids

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the extra-safe-society dept.

507

mackles writes, "Now that the world has read the despicable instant messages from Rep. Foley, should parents take a second look at monitoring their kids' IMs? After all, it was IM logging that exposed the scandal; would we have found out otherwise? Cost is not an issue, there are free monitoring tools. Should parents tell their kids before they monitor? Parents and their tech-savvy kids are at odds on the topic. From the article: 'As many as 94 percent of parents polled this summer by the research firm Harris Interactive said they've turned to Web content filters, monitoring software, or advice from an adult friend to keep electronic tabs on their children.' The article quotes one 18-year-old as saying, 'A lot of kids are smarter than adults think.'"

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Anything on the router level? (3, Funny)

dspyder (563303) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283021)

My kids are smart enough to check what's running on their PC. Can I install a logger on my WRT54G (running hyperWRT + Thibor 15c firmware)?

Re:Anything on the router level? (4, Informative)

Aliencow (653119) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283037)

If you can install tcpdump on that thing, I'm sure you could use that. You'd need somewhere to store the logs though..

Re:Anything on the router level? (2)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283559)

This is real simple issue. You monitor everything they do on the computer. I have been using CyberSitter for a couple of years and every web page, URL, IM, and email goes into the logs that are in my email box everyday. It shows when on and off and I check the login/logout times against the system logs (perl works great to do this automatically). They do not have admin rights (except when I give them certain games to play and then I am in the same room).

The rules are simple: BE A PARENT!
Kids have no right to privacy when it comes to areas that can cause them harm.

My kids love me when I setup gaurdrails!

Re:Anything on the router level? (2, Insightful)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283183)

Take contorl of their PCs and reduce their user rights. In truth, IM as very difficult to monitor reliably. There are ways to defeat most logging facilities.

Re:Anything on the router level? (0)

cepayne (998850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283293)

Many parents (nowadays) give their kids money to get
them out of the house and to go build their street
racers(ricers) and buy cigarettes because it is easier
at the end of a long work day to not have to deal with
a teen who is confrontational. I saw that happen with
my nephews, and I won't let that happen to me own
two boys.

If you aren't part of your kids lives, and activities,
you get what comes easy. Trouble and more trouble.

As per usual, sensationalization comes by way of the press
pointing blame at the service, which had been abused to
rouse up the trouble in the first place...how about taking
responsibility for your kids?

ummm...but then the parents would have no-one to sue for
financial gain, in their ignorance. That's right.

Complacency and laziness are taking over our society. How
about limiting the kids computer time, and what they can
do with it?

Sounds like the outrage of "Cell phones" and Tamagachi's(sp?)
all over again.

-

Re:Anything on the router level? (2, Insightful)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283575)

> Sounds like the outrage of "Cell phones" and Tamagachi's(sp?) all over again.

No 12 year-old ever got propositioned for sex from a 40 year old man through their Tamaguchi.

And what is this "outrage of 'Cell phones'" you speak of, and why did you put "Cell phones" in quotes?

Re:Anything on the router level? (4, Insightful)

bmajik (96670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283303)

Do your kids have admin rights on the computer(s) they use? They may be able to check whats going on, but may be unable to do anything about it.

Ultimately you can install a key logger, even if they get encrypted connections going or install software that makes it harder for you to snoop. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some kind of key logger that logged what keys were sent to which app at what time.. that could give you a 1-sided "replay" of activity even in the face of them putting stealthier software on the machine(or using web based chats via https anonymizers or something)

As someone else pointed out though - i'm not sure you want to be in a technology cold war with your kids. You need to come to an understanding about why they want to disobey you. There is probably a lot of ignorance and arrogance on both sides of the parent/child relationship, and the right meeting is somewhere in the middle.

The internet is a hostile place for adults also. The struggle of parenting would seem to be hw to let your child grow into an adult that makes responsible decisions about their privacy, personal safety, etc, while still giving them boundaries that let you sleep relatively comfortably at nite as they learn how to do this.

I'm not a parent, but it seems to me that the "threats" are the same as they've always been, but the vectors are different this time around (and they'll be different again in 10 years)

Re:Anything on the router level? (1)

hypnagogue (700024) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283645)

Do your kids have admin rights on the computer(s) they use? They may be able to check whats going on, but may be unable to do anything about it.
Except boot Knoppix.

Re:Anything on the router level? (3, Informative)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283573)

I am not a big fan of running monitoring software on the PC, you can always get around those. You are on the right track with a logger. Go for something like censornet or any of the plethora of network traffic monitoring tools out there. Really hard to get around your gateway. You can run most these tools on a crappy old PC you have lying around the house.

Re:Anything on the router level? (1)

FJGreer (922348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283625)

if you have a computer with two ethernet ports, put it between the router and the Internet and run a program like AIMsnort or something on it. If the kids can't get on it they can't keep you from logging it, unless they're smart enough to encrypt their instant messaging.

Wallwatcher (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283643)

Can I install a logger on my WRT54G (running hyperWRT + Thibor 15c firmware)?

I am running a copy of Wallwatcher with that very router/firmware combo. It is a pc app written in VB (gasp!). If that doesn't scare you away, it is free and does what is needed.

Re:Anything on the router level? (1)

alohatiger (313873) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283687)

Just hide a nannycam pointed at your kid's computer display.

blah blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283035)

parental responsibility blah blah blah if I had kids blah blah blah

Re:blah blah blah (3, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283615)

... responsibility blah blah blah .... kids blah blah blah

Dang.... that's exactly how my parents sounded when I was a kid.

Revolutionary Idea (4, Insightful)

richdun (672214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283045)

So I'm not a parent yet, but having had parents who did a kick ass job raising my sister and myself, what if parents just, you know, talked to their kids once in a while? A parent that genuinely listens and cares about their children is going to be much better received - and far more trusted - by their kids than one who tries to become the FBI and wiretap everything their kids do. It just seems like common sense to me.

I know, I know, think of the children, blah blah blah. I hate election years.

Re:Revolutionary Idea (4, Insightful)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283215)

So I'm not a parent yet, but having had parents who did a kick ass job raising my sister and myself, what if parents just, you know, talked to their kids once in a while? A parent that genuinely listens and cares about their children is going to be much better received - and far more trusted - by their kids than one who tries to become the FBI and wiretap everything their kids do. It just seems like common sense to me.

I know, I know, think of the children, blah blah blah. I hate election years.


Well, I'm voting for you. Still hate election years? ;)

But seriously, communicating with your kids is absolutely the right thing to do. And it's something you have to do consistantly from the very beginning. Teach them right and wrong, know what it is they're interested in and what their hobbies are. Don't keep tabs on their every move, just be aware of what they're doing.

Basically BE INVOLVED IN YOUR CHILD'S LIFE. You brought them into the world, whether by choice or not, so act like the adult you chose to be and be responsible for you and your childrens' actions.

Re:Revolutionary Idea (2, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283235)

I agree, but you should monitor them anyway. Between having a sociopath who has no problem lying, to having a good kid make a mistake once that could ruin the rest of their life, I think there are far too many reasons to monitor anyway.

Talking to the kid is important. Possibly the most important. But having talked to the kid isn't a cure-all either.

Re:Revolutionary Idea (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283567)

...I think there are far too many reasons to monitor anyway.

I grew up with very strict parents. It was so bad, they would listen in on conversations I had with my friends - especially, girls. I resent it so much, that when I hear about this kind of thing, especially if it's Government who wants to do it - think warrantless wiretaps - I go ballistic! My parents basically turned me into an anarchist.

I agree that a parent has a responsibility to keep an eye on their kids, but if they go too far, they'll inhibit their kids so much that they'll be afraid to do or say anything "wrong".

On a positive note, I was the perfect corporate drone. I never said or did anything that pissed off the managment, I did everything they said, I made sure to say all the right things - my reviews were great!

Now, I just can't stomach it anymore.

Re:Revolutionary Idea (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283681)

Too bad I'm out of mod points right now. You are absolutely correct. And, while I feel for the Anon reply to your post, it is a very fine line. Which is just one reason why it's so hard to get it right.

Re:Revolutionary Idea (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283257)

I think making sure your kids have their IM clients set to only allow people on their buddy lists, and then making sure you know their friends, goes a long way.

Of course, the way to make sure they set their IM clients that way is to talk to them and have a conversation about the dangers of random contacts through IM. Most of them are talking with the friends they already know (from school or wherever), so this sort of restriction is not that big of an impediment.

After that, as long as you have a good relationship with your kids, and as long as you know their friends, the chances of them getting involved in something nasty through IM is minimal. Spying and setting up harsh restrictions without any explanation just breeds more rebellion in kids that are already at a naturally rebellious stage in life.

Occasionally checking their IM settings to make sure they are still set the right way is probably fine. Reading through their conversations, though, is an invasion of privacy, and shows a lack of trust in your kids. If you don't have a relationship with your kids that allows you to have at least some trust in them, nothing you can do with their IM client is going to help the situation very much.

Re:Revolutionary Idea (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283371)

Nah, see, it has nothing to do with trusting my kids, but more to do with not trusting everyone else.

Re:Revolutionary Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283295)

I second your idea. That is how I was raised and might I add I've turned out quiet fine.

I think truest is much more powerful then control.

Re:Revolutionary Idea (1)

DarthChris (960471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283357)

You beat me to the exact point I wanted to make. Actually being a half-decent parent is a far better solution. My parents & grandparents get very annoyed at people who make no effort with their children, and even at my age (20) it is possible to discern between people who've had a decent upbringing from people who haven't. The problems the article discusses are just the most recent symptom of this much deeper issue.

Re:Revolutionary Idea (4, Insightful)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283377)

So I'm not a parent yet, but having had parents who did a kick ass job raising my sister and myself, what if parents just, you know, talked to their kids once in a while? A parent that genuinely listens and cares about their children is going to be much better received - and far more trusted

Much like worker vs. management, the parent/child relationship is, by its very nature, adversarial. It is the job of the child to explore their world and get into mischief. It is the nature of the parent to keep the kids from doing this if they have any hope of surviving to maturity. Kids who feel comfortable telling their parents everything will usually become selective about what they say once they feel the heat of doing something that Mom or Dad disapprove of.

No kid in his/her right mind would tell their parents about the swell kegger that Jimmy from up the block is having while his folks are in Europe if they didn't mind their peers kicking their asses.

Re:Revolutionary Idea (3, Insightful)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283599)

> Much like worker vs. management, the parent/child relationship is, by its very nature, adversarial.

One major difference: children are not adult workers entering into a consensual employee/employer relationship. Children are born into their families with no inherent rights except that to food, shelter, education and a decent upbringing to the best of their parents' ability. They do not have "rights" to privacy, speech, freedom of association or any of the basic civil rights adults enjoy. They live under the protection of their parents and therefore if the parents want to read their IM logs, that's their prerogative.

Re:Revolutionary Idea - in total agreement (1)

mroonie (995579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283543)

I could not agree with you more. Parents always go on power trips and never bother to explain to their children, how or why something needs to be done. Don't they see that taking the time to help their kids understand an issue TEACHES them to be rational and have some common sense. The more you dont' talk to them, the less they're going to think critically when they grow older, and the less they're going to try to UNDERSTAND things in the future. They'll be like robots, just doing what they're told and not knowing how to think for themselves.

Apparently, some of the conversations between Foley and the child were also through email and the kid was smart enough to forward them onto somebody else because he was getting scared. Wouldnt you want your children to react that way too and make smart decisions? Keep playing the powertrip parents and you'll get the kid who'll come across a Foley and not know what to do, or will just keep taking the harrassment.

Foley on the other hand....he definitely needs some better morals and some better security [iwantmyess.com]

Re:Revolutionary Idea (5, Insightful)

glhturbo (32785) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283665)

Well, I do have kids .. two boys, 10 and 6 ...

I try at every opportunity to let them know about the good and bad of technology. Yes, you have Wikipedia and Google, but you also have pedophiles too. Just like walking down the street. There are good folks and bad folks, and just like it is hard to tell the difference from faces, it is hard to tell the difference online. I try to explain and enforce good online safety and behavior rules. I try to talk to them, and make sure that I am involved in their lives.

However, their computers are facing out, in a public part of the house. I check their activities, and make sure they are doing the right things. I don't check obsessively, but I do check. Trust is a two-way street. They know that if they get bagged, I will crack down. Of course, I also do check logs, history, cookies, and my router :-). But they know mom & dad check up on them, and they accept that. Just like we make sure they aren't watching crap on TV, and we make sure their friends aren't morons, and we pack healthy snacks for school :-). It's all part of the same job... Granted, they may not like it, but sometimes you have to be "mean". My job is to bring them up in the way that I see as "right". I may be friend #1 now, becasue they are young, but that won't last long, and I can accept that. If they are happy, well-adjusted, productive members of society, I did my job...

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: Talk to your kids, make sure they know what is right and wrong first. Explain basic safety rules, behavior online, etc. But do make sure to check on them, and make sure they see you as involved. They need to know boundaries, and if they know you are checking and being involved, I think they'll try to live up to it ... well, at least until they are teenagers :-) I may change my tune then! :-)

Re:Revolutionary Idea (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283675)

Because this is corporate america. You dont talk to your kids, you pay people to do it for you. Kids are a status symbol. Ever read Farenheight 451? You know the book? Parent-kid relationships are moving more and more to that end of the spectrum.

My parents were actively involved in each of their children's lives. We all came out pretty good, and very diverse. A Gnostic Chef, Anarchist Environmentalist, and Christian Geek. You dont have to control your kids, just instill good morals and they will take care of themselves, no Big Brother necessary. But you have to be involved none of this hands off Post-Modern parenting crap.

Re:Revolutionary Idea (1)

ghostfacehallik (723307) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283705)

When a child/young adult has the right to vote in an election then we can have this discussion. Other than that it is my house my rules my way.

Age and treachery... (3, Insightful)

mengel (13619) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283047)

"Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill"

'Nuff said.

Re:Age and treachery... (3, Funny)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283149)

"Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill"

obviously said by an adult!

Parents don't have to tell their kids anything (2, Insightful)

Fuckin ROBOTS! (999276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283049)

"my house, my rules"
at least there are parents that are making an effort - unlike the fuckhats that blame violence on the videogames that they let babysit their kids.

Damn kids! Get off my lawn! (4, Insightful)

pnuema (523776) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283065)

'A lot of kids are smarter than adults think.'

And most kids are not as smart as they think they are. News at 11.

Re:Damn kids! Get off my lawn! (2, Interesting)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283093)

And a lot of adults are a lot dumber than they think. I love the smell of sweeping generalizations in the morning!

Time to drag out this old chestnut: (5, Insightful)

This Old Chestnut (759273) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283167)

"When I was 14, my parents were the most ignorant people in the world. When I turned 21, I was amazed at how much they had learned in the last 7 years."

-- Mark Twain

Re:Damn kids! Get off my lawn! (1)

Ruie (30480) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283345)

'A lot of kids are smarter than adults think.'

And most kids are not as smart as they think they are. News at 11.

American education is indeed in a bad shape..

Re:Damn kids! Get off my lawn! (2, Interesting)

Alchemar (720449) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283461)

No, most kids are not as wise as they think they are. I remember being a kid and being very frustrated about no one believing what I was capable of. I was smart enough to do just about anything I wanted. I had enough common sense to realize most of the time that knowing how to do something and it being I good idea to do weren't the same. Most of my friends had a lot more trouble with that relationship. The consequence is that I could tell them how to do it, and they would do it. Even I didn't have the common sense to see that one comming when I was 16.



Anything the kids don't know, they can get off the internet. They will have at least one friend that knows how.

Re:Damn kids! Get off my lawn! (4, Funny)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283471)

More accurately: Kids use surprising ingenuity in achieving their stupid objectives.

Re:Damn kids! Get off my lawn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283735)

A lot of kids are smarter than adults think.


There's an obvious corollary to this:

A lot of adults are smarter than kids think.

Obviously there are a lot of kids who are more tech-savvy than their parents, but it's not as common as kids think. My brother (36) and I (33) both grew up with technology (albeit older technology such as TRS-80's, Apple IIe's, and later on, PCs and Macs). We're both embedded software engineers. I have no children yet, but my brother has a son and a daughter. If those kids think they're smart enough to pull one over on their ol' dad (or uncle), they've got another thing comin'.

Okay, so that's not the typical case, but it's getting more and more common for parents to be just as tech savvy (if not more) than their kids. That trend will only continue as the current generation of tech-savvy kids grows up and has kids of their own.

18 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283067)

Yeah, when I was 18 years old I thought I was smarter than my parents too. Now 19 years later I know better.

Yes. All activity by kids on the Internet should be monitored by the parents. But maybe the parents needs to take a "Internet driver license" test before letting their kids on the net.

A lot of kids are smarter than adults think... (1)

parseexception (516727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283069)

A lot of kids are also not as smart as they think they are.

Monitoring != parenting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283097)

If you have to tell your 16 year old boy that it's legally and morally wrong to exchange graphic sexual emails and IM's with a middle aged politician no amount of monitoring will help because you've already failed as a parent.

Re:Monitoring != parenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283639)

But when they turn 18, it becomes all right.

Re:Monitoring != parenting (4, Insightful)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283673)

Kids (even kids with good parents) do legally and morally wrong things all the goddamn time - that's why they don't have the same rights as adults. Some kids are more rebellious than others, that's just human nature. Some kids just need watching. The "oh, just talk with them and have a good relationship with them, that's all you need to do" crew are either childless or naive.

and while we're at it... (4, Insightful)

acid_zebra (552109) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283099)

we should outfit them with a camera, GPS device and listening post. Never know what those kids are up to. We should rigidly protect them from all outside evils real and imaginary and then at age 18 turn the poor unsuspecting souls loose. See what happens.

Re:and while we're at it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283667)

You forgot

2. ???
3. Profit!!

Should you tell your kids? (3, Insightful)

Audent (35893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283101)

Wah? Huh? If you're going to do this kind of thing of COURSE you should tell your kids... cos yeah, ignorance is always the best option. Imagine if they found out?

Kid: Mom, Dad, have you been spying on me?
Mom: Why yes, yes we have Johnny.
Kid: Lock and load...

Come on, I thought the era of parenting/managing by stealth was long since dead and buried. Surely open communication, cooperation and engaging with kids (or employees for that matter - it's the same deal really) makes better sense?

Or is there still a group out there that thinks education is bad, mkay? Don't teach our kids about sexual health because (GASP) they might become sexually active! OMG STFU WTF.

Hint: they're going to anyway, surely it's better for them to learn properly than from some xxx website.

Re:Should you tell your kids? (3, Funny)

Trillan (597339) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283365)

Not that I disagree with telling kids about spying, but if you've raised your children so their response is to "lock and load," you have much bigger problems.

Re:Should you tell your kids? (1)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283405)

Or is there still a group out there that thinks education is bad, mkay? Don't teach our kids about sexual health because (GASP) they might become sexually active! OMG STFU WTF.

Just this morning my local paper (Raleigh News and Observer) ran a letter to the editor from a gentleman who was outraged that UNC makes free condoms available at its health clinic. Thanks to the local sex ed curriculum most kids probably don't know what to do with them anyway.

Re:Should you tell your kids? (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283513)

Or is there still a group out there that thinks education is bad, mkay? Don't teach our kids about sexual health because (GASP) they might become sexually active! OMG STFU WTF.

Hint: they're going to anyway, surely it's better for them to learn properly than from some xxx website.


I tend to think of myself as open minded, but I draw the line at somethings. Ok. I wouldn't mind opening up my porn collection to the kids to view, but my wife and I will not be demonstrating how to perform sex properly to our kids. There are just somethings/lines that I won't cross. Besides, aren't they teaching that in schools now aways?

monitor kids? (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283113)

They could always install GAIM in FC5, I had to ask someone to find out where the logs are kept and strangely things like Off the Record (which encrypts messages on the fly to prevent man in the middle attacks) doesn't encrypt the logs, so all you'd need to do is "cd ~/.gaim/logs" and then you know what they've been saying. If they know how to do this to cover their tracks, chances are you don't need to (or can't) monitor them.

I always used to cover my tracks pretty well when looking at pr0n, but I guess you can tell from me writting that that I'm hardly in the danger zone for posting sexual content on myspace ; )

Re:monitor kids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283287)

No way in hell and I going to let my kid use GAIM. He might catch the gay.

I don't mind parents monitoring (2, Insightful)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283115)

But they should talk to their children and explain why they think it's necessary. Not tell them "I'm doing this for your own good." Talk to them about the dangers. Like when you want to know where they're going out that night.

Because if the child thinks you're monitoring them because you don't trust them, or they find out you were monitoring them because you didn't trust them, that can do more damage to the parent-child relationship than anything else. Trust is important.

Besides, if they don't agree, they'll just circumvent you anyway, especially if they think you don't know they know you're monitoring them. Lose-lose.

Re:I don't mind parents monitoring (1)

Kris_B_04 (883011) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283465)

Yes. I've always hated the "Because I said so" response.

It always does seem to work so much better to explain things, instead of just doing so (especially if it turns into do as I say, not as I do, type situations).

I've been laughed at for explaining to my 6 year old son why he should or should not do something. I've done it since he was born (yes, I know that babies don't "understand" but I've started from the beginning and I will continue to do so, prally until the day I die).

Ya know, my boy is a LOT more responsible and a LOT better behaved than many other kids his age. I'm quite proud of him and I'd like to think that it is because I have always taken the time to explain the "why's".

think outside the box (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283119)

anything that is on a PC can be subverted given enough incentive.

If I had kids I'd configure my linux firewall/router to block any traffic to/from their PC on any port but a non-standard one, and have a squid proxy listening on another computer in my network with a whitelist: any URL not in the whitelist would be logged and I could deny/allow access. I probably would also look into some kind of IM proxy that allows usage only at specified times and, most important, that disallowed any sort of file upload/download. Same thing with email, with automatic stripping of attachments and so on.

And for people who think this is too much: by definition children are not responsible adults, so I really don't see why they should have complete access to everything, also considering all the malware going around these days.

Re:think outside the box (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283313)

And for people who think this is too much: by definition children are not responsible adults, so I really don't see why they should have complete access to everything, also considering all the malware going around these days.

Well, they certainly wont grow up to be responsible adults, if denied the opportunity to make their own experiences.

Re:think outside the box (0, Troll)

dmitrygr (736758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283399)

...so I really don't see why they should have complete access to everything...


This kind of thinking brought us slavery (people said this about blacks), Guantanamo (people said this about terrorists), and religious war (people said this about all other religions).

On another note, surely you do not expect this setup to be secure. Why not implant a gps tracker in your kids, and a device to electrify them when they try to leave the house, spend 4 hours interrogating every one of their new friends, and continue in this fashion. This will get you a few things accomplished:

*They will get around all this crap
*They will genuinely hate you
*They will not listen to you (and thus learn nothing actually useful about life)
*They will be as dumb as you about raising kids

Talk to your damn kids (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283145)

No kid wants to hear about sex from their parents, and no parents want to tell their kids about sex. You know what? At 12, you need to start, at 15 or 16, you need to be done. Just do it, and it'll be over with!

"I know you're coming onto that age where you're interested in girls, maybe guys. Now, you aren't allowed to have sex with them, but because it happens, I want you to know I won't punish you, I want you to tell me. And I want to tell you about safety. Condoms blah blah blah. Men over 17(or 18, depending on your state) blah blah blah. Men over 50, blah blah blah. Sexual predators online, blah blah blah.." and then go buy the kid some pr0n, whichever kind he likes, gay or straight, and don't talk about it for another week or two, don't mention it unless the kid does, and go from there. That way it's over with, it's out in the open, and you just did OMFG bought the kid pr0n, so nothing really seems that much further out.

Yes, you're kid will have sex around 15 or 16. No, you can't stop it, not without making the kid's life miserable. You can help it.

As far as IM'ing, if you are going to monitor, tell them, but realize it's stupid.

https://www.meebo.com/ [meebo.com]

Oh, meebo blocked? Anonymous proxy, with ssl, and there ya go. No, an informed kid is way better than a frightened kid or a kid living under constant surveillance.

Let's See.... From a non Windows User (2, Insightful)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283147)

Simple... create an account that's only for the kids. Lock down the administrative account with a good password. And install silent monitoring uitilites. Anytime you alert a child to a lock, that's when they aim to defeat it.

When you get into their teens, you're mainly an advisor. They will do what they want to do, you just need to be able to protect them. And obviously... Children really DON'T have a right to privacy. Sure, I give mine all the privacy I can, but if I'm responsible for you, privacy is a Priveledge.

Just my 2cents.

Monitoring (1)

Bongo Bill (853669) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283155)

Would you listen in on your child's phone calls? If not, then why go to great lengths to monitor IM conversations? Simply make sure that they can't stop you from looking over their shoulder every once in a while.

Re:Monitoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283253)

Yes, but when you start seeing incoming and outgoing phone calls from, say, the local state prison, maybe you get concerned. There isn't an equivalent warning sign with IM convos.

"despicable instant messages"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283161)

Anyone have the quote?? I'm not aware that the exchange(s) have been publicly released.

Re:"despicable instant messages"? (1)

kniLnamiJ-neB (754894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283347)

Re:"despicable instant messages"? (1)

kniLnamiJ-neB (754894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283397)

Ah, crap, didn't realize you were referring to the "despicable" part. Personally, I'll give the editors that much editorial freedom based on the contents of my post though... Anytime a man that age wants a 16-year-old boy to do that, hmm... that's pretty darned close to despicable.

Re:"despicable instant messages"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283457)

As they say, "Viewer discretion advised" . . . . probably not work safe:

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/print?id=2509586 [go.com]

Maybe parents should also: (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283189)

Iinstall hidden cameras in ther kid's rooms, microphones too. After all kids are not human, they don't need privacy or dignity.

There is a difference between taking authoritative steps to protect your children and being invasive upon their lives.

The difference is subtle but impactful. Treat them like theyre not human and they will not develop properly.

Parenting tricks (2, Insightful)

pnuema (523776) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283199)

What you really want to do is to set up proxies that will monitor all traffic without blocking anything. Never let them know you have done it. Keep an eye on what they do, and let them get away with some stuff - but every once in a while, drop the hammer. The illusion of parental omniscience is not to be underestimated. :)

For some reason, my 9 year can never figure out how I know when he gets out of bed at night. I'll never tel him the floorboards scream every time he shifts his weight. :)

Dull? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283523)

Your nine year old must be pretty dull.
My two-and-a-half year old son figured it out months ago. There's a lot of sneaking around going on upstairs.

I am not going to systemanically monitor his actions when he gets old enough to surf the web. I AM going to give him help, advice and suggestions.

over-reaction (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283221)

First its not like these messages are going to come out of a the blue. In this specific case the perp spent over a year cultivating the kids before the nasties came. (That is the bad messages were sent after the kid had gone back to high school.)

Second is the authority issue. If someone really believes the message is coming from a very important person, they arent going to immediately dismiss something strange coming from them.

I do monitor the chat logs on my 3 teeange girls.. (2)

bagboy (630125) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283223)

and they are aware that at anytime I can audit their chat sessions. Do I do it every day? No - but I find that if I occasionally audit them most (not all) of the time they've kept things clean and on the up and up. Asking kids to follow boundries without accountability is an idle threat (be good or else!). When I've discovered they've been inappropriate - they lose 'net/cell phone access for a while and believe me - that can sting for a teenage girl...

The "Free" ChatChecker is NOT free... (2, Informative)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283241)

The "Free" example listed in the article is NOT free. From the web site:
Although you can only view conversations that are less than 24 hours old, ChatChecker Lite saves conversations for 30 days. When you upgrade to ChatChecker Plus, you can immediately view these old conversations.

Why are parents NOT monitoring there kid's activit (3, Insightful)

Tsunayoshi (789351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283247)

Um, preaching to the choir probably, but shouldn't parents be monitoring their kids' online activities anyway?

Back in my day our parents knew what kind of neghborhoods we played outside in, why wouldn't parents of today be any different WRT to online neighborhoods?

When mine are old enough to start unsupervised web use (currently oldest is 5) I will definitely be logging everything they do, not to snoop and evesdrop but just so I can spot check and see what they are doing every once in awhile.

Re:Why are parents NOT monitoring there kid's acti (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283473)

Back in my day our parents knew what kind of neghborhoods we played outside in, why wouldn't parents of today be any different WRT to online neighborhoods?
Knowing your kids' friends and knowing what they do is obviously important, but this is more like recording your kids' phone conversations and setting up hidden video cameras to watch them where ever they go. Did your parents do that, or could you talk to your friends without them listening in?

My prophecy (1)

ColonelPanic (138077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283249)

Expect lots of last-minute election-year legislation from fear-crazed christian republicans in congress
intended to
protect the children -- yes, we must protect the children! -- from sexual predation from, um, fear-crazed
christian republicans in congress.

Nothing New (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283251)

What's different between this and the iconic perv outside the schoolyard?

Do people talk to their children anymore? They should feel comfortable telling YOU if someone starts talking to them in a sick way. If they don't, you've got MUCH bigger problems.

Spying on your children will not help, in fact, it could do more damage. Trust between parent and child is of utmost importance, erode it, and it's a long ways back.

are you from China mackles? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283269)

The knee-jerk reaction is to censor communications rather than deal with them. Call the police if they are pedaphicalic and obscene.

Ummm... (1)

DeepCerulean (741098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283271)

"or advice from an adult friend" Yeah...and how many of those "adult friends" are pedophiles?

Did Spying reveal Foley, or his victim ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283275)

The post implies that some third party logging or IM sniffing software recorded Foley's approaches to the 16 year old male.

I didn't see that in any news article. In fact, it seems that the 16 year old simply showed someone else the chat logs, that HE RECORDED HIMSELF, after receiving them. The linked article doesn't mention the Foley incident at all.

Monitoring? (5, Insightful)

haystor (102186) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283281)

Clearly this shows we should be monitoring politicians and not the kids.

Authoritarian parenting (0)

Stalyn (662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283317)

Children have a certain right to privacy and parents should understand this. If parents monitor IM, kids will just figure out a way to circumvent it, or use another method of communication. It would be better if we try to equip our kids with some tools to solve their own problems. Parents have a responsibility to do this but so do our schools. If we teach our children to think for themselves, a lot of children-development issues could be resolved. And also make them better adults.

The quote in context (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283321)

"As much as I like meeting new people, I'm definitely not going to do it online," he said. "A lot of kids are smarter than adults think."

Big difference.

Rules, Boundaries, and Limitations (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283339)

Personally, I think that the benefits to be gained from spying on your kids using loggers is pretty small compared to the potential price you are going to pay. Think of it this way, if you were to go and try and tail your kids whenever they left the house, how do you think they would respond? How would you kids respond if they walked in on you reading their journal?

You take a risk when you spy on your kid in such an intrusive manner. Whatever evils you might catch them doing is nothing compared to the kinds of evils that you will provoke them into by showing such deep mistrust. It is far better to have something close to a harmonious relationship then to try and control and monitor your kids actions. You need to set rules, but you are delusional if you think that you can enforce the rules without your kid's consent.

Now, I am not saying that kids don't need (to quote the Dog Whisperer) rules, boundaries, and limitations. They do. What I am saying is that those rules and boundaries are not there to keep them from doing bad or destructive things. If your kid wants to go out and be destructive against others or against themselves, there is little you can do to stop a determined youth. The rules and boundaries that and adult sets up are there to teach the kids not to do bad or destructive things.

So, could online monitoring catch your kid watching porn or acting like a jackass on AIM? Sure, but realize that in the process you are pretty flatly declaring your complete lack of trust in your child and setting up an antagonistic relationship that your child. I personally would rather my kid sneak in a little porn while I am away then sneak out at night to get away from what he sees as a malevolent dictator who has no trust in him.

important lesson on the expectation of privacy (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283341)

Just last month I was telling my teenaged daughter that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy on the internet. Every IM and every email are like sending postcards that anyone between her and the recipient can read. Consequently, she shouldn't ever put anything in either that she would be embarassed by if it showed up in the newspaper. If she wants privacy, she needs to use a medium that can provide that. The internet ain't it.

'A lot of kids are smarter than adults think.' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283351)

And to that I say: LOL. ORLY?

Who's at risk here? (5, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283353)

The house, the phone line, the DSL service, and the computer are all in my name. I'm the one my kid puts at risk if he does something illegal. Can someone give me a good reason to *not* monitor what my kid does on the internet?

When kids shoot up schools, people ask "where were the parents? They should have known." When kids end up teenage parents, people ask "where were the parents? They should have taught them better." When kids get connected to the internet, people say "mind your own business! Privacy! Big Brother! OMG 1984!!!"

Pick one. Either kids have a right to privacy and the responsibilities that come with the lack of supervision, or they don't have that right, and the parents have to accept some responsibility if they don't know what their kids are doing.

Re:Who's at risk here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283583)

Pick one. Either kids have a right to privacy and the responsibilities that come with the lack of supervision, or they don't have that right, and the parents have to accept some responsibility if they don't know what their kids are doing.

Ok. They have a right to privacy and the responsibilities that come with it.

At home I'm not worried... (1)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283389)

At home I can set up so the kids can't get round it, I own the socket, I own the router, I own the box that gives out permission and I can log everything.

What worries me is the new mobile phones, 3G and the like. While I'll own the contracts and be paying for it, I don't see how I'm going to monitor everything they do on a phone. Hell with a bluetooth keyboard even today's phones are pretty good IM devices, so how I'm going to cope in 5 years time I have no idea.

What I'd like to see is the ability to have a "family VPN" so all devices that I pay for are on the same network subnet and again I own the gate to the internet.

Hell it'll be an education for the kids trying to get round that, hopefully that will mean they don't have time for anything else!

And before anyone says "think of the kids privacy"... I'm a parent, I treat my kids as _my_ responsibility.

spy vs talk (1)

lorg (578246) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283401)

So spying on your kids is probably not that hard, yes some kids are smarter then some parents and will defeat the spying but that is somewhat beside the point.

After you have installed your spyware you are going to have to monitor your kid, who they chat to, where they surf etc. These things take time, I have a distinct feeling that the parents time would be much better spent just talking to their kids.

Perhaps the spying, monitoring, examining logs from your kids computer is going to be outsourced, wouldn't that be hillarious.

What about monitoring on the side of the politicia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283407)

Why are people suggesting the kid be monitored when if any crime took place it was on the side of the adult? Wouldn't it make sense that politicians get monitoring software put on their computers, rather than the other way around?

Oh, right. They have rights to privacy and kids don't.

the need to prove one's self (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283437)

I remember being 15 years old back in 1995 when we got the internet for the first time. My dad tried to scare the hell out of me: "Now there's a history in this thing so don't figure you can go looking at whatever you want, cause by God I'll know about all of it". What greater need might a developing ego have than to prove one's self against such a tyrannical claim? Of course 4 hours later I had figured out the entire thing -- it issue of course being the same software I was using was made for CEOs who wanted to download playboy pictures off yahoo's "links of the day" website. And so a click or two later all the evidence was gone and all I learned was that I had a green card to do just about whatever the hell I wanted. The only things that ever truely scared me were a few websites that had blinking text, echoed my IP (unknown that it was just an environment variable), and told me my IP was logged and the police had been called. That was a scary night, and I don't recall doing anything to deserve it.

Anyways, to be honest I can't think of anything my parents could have done to keep me from looking at things I wasn't supposed to. The only thing they could have done was treated me as an adult, and let adult content just be something fun for grownups to know about, instead of romaticizing it into this holy grail -- possesion was ego, as it were. So basically this point says nothing insightful at all, but just reminds us that if you tell a kid he can't do something, that's the only thing he's going to focus on until he can.

Cruising the web is halfway to letting your kids drive to the mall to hangout with strangers. If you're paranoid your kids are going to grow up too fast, just take away the damned keys. (Course then they'll hitchhike!)

monitor kids? How about the congresspeople? (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283443)

It sounds like we rather need to monitor the electronic communications of our congresspeople, especially the ones who chair the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

As a teenager... (4, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283477)

...my parents occasionally look at things like history (snicker). However, I was the most computer-savvy person in my house, and ran the router/server. Now, I go to sites/do things that they might not like, but it hasn't harmed me or warped me in any sort of way. I learned my morals from them, and make my own decisions.

Now, I know that I'm not most teens, and most are stupid and don't give a flying fsck about anything, but children (especially later teenagers) don't get nearly enough respect. Just the question that "should we tell them we're spying on them?" makes me want to throw up. Jeez, no wonder kids think their parents are stupid...

Both Perspectives (1)

fredricodagreat (1005203) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283491)

I'm not a parent, but I do feel that these chat loggers are a good idea.

From the adults end:

I know that in the modern lifestyle, parents don't always have time to watch over their kids shoulders every moment of the day to find out who they are talking to and where they are going. It would be better parenting if they did, but lets face it, in a world that is so high tech nowadays, that's just not plausable. I consider chat rooms to be useless, but IM is a useful tool, but there are dangerous people out there, so that just needs to be taken into account. I don't think blocking off IM completely is a good option because I know it saved my ass numerous times throughout school and I would want my kids to have access to it as well.

The logging would allow the parent to keep an eye on what's going on so that they can at least be red flagged and confront their child if they see something headed down the wrong path (such as one could be assumed as an online predator)

From the kids view:

I would have flipped out if my parents had been reading through my conversations as a kid. It's a violation of privacy and would cause me to resent my parents if they were doing that. I always hated it when they were reading over my shoulder too.

In the end, you can either monitor your kids really closely and they'll get pissed at you, or you can log their conversations, and they'll get pissed at you if they find out, or you can just ignore them and hope that they don't get abducted. Personally I think it's better to get them pissed at you.

On the subject of kids being smarter adults being smarter etc.

It varies by household. Looking back, I realize that I was smarter than my parents with computers. I knew how to clean up that computer so they couldn't even tell I'd been online. 6 years later, I've also realized my dad barely knows how to use the internet, much less track me, and my mom doesn't know anything about it either.

That said, I spent 90% of my time on the computer throughout my teenage years learning everything I could about the computer. Now I'm in the IT field. Usually that won't be the case. I work with a lot of kids and a lot of adults. Most of the parents using the computers, really aren't that smart even though they think they are. Most don't know how to check where their kids have been and etc. Actually on the average, the adult users are for the most part computer illiterate except for a few things that they know how to do really well, usually for their job.

Kids claim to be smart to, but most of them really don't know how to clean up their tracks. I repair a lot of computers that adults have for their kids (parents are shocked when they find out where their kids have been) and if they were really as smart as they claim to be, they could have cleaned up their tracks on their computers.

Basically what I'm getting at, is that niether side is as smart as they claim to be, although there are exceptions. Parents need to do what they have to in order to keep tabs on their kids because it isn't plausable in this day and age to keep 24/7 tabs on their kids while they are online. IM logging will help with that, provided they remember to check it regularly.

Well, DUH! (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283499)

Should parents tell their kids before they monitor? Parents and their tech-savvy kids are at odds on the topic.
Reeeeaaaaalllllyyyyy?! I'm Shocked! SHOCKED, I SAY!

The article quotes one 18-year-old as saying, 'A lot of kids are smarter than adults think.'"
True. But, having been a teen, and now having one, I can firmly assert that teens habitually underestimate the intelligence of their parents but not so often is the reverse true.

And my teen has been told in no uncertain terms that MySpace, Xanga, LiveJournal, et. al, are off limits. He has a blog. I set it up for him using WordPress on a web site *I* host. If he violates the rules, it's a simple "rm -rf blog_dir" away from death. Besides, those other places are full of crap. At least hosting his own WordPress blog, he's learning a bit about how that stuff works.

Anyway, I talk with my teen. And I tell him the policy in my house is the same as most corporate technology policies: The PC doesn't belong to him...it belongs to me...it's use is (or can be) monitored. The PC, and all that goes with it, is a privilege, not a right. And privacy is something he can have when he (a) is in the bathroom, (b) is in some state of undress, and/or (c) graduates.

Would monitoring have helped? (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283511)

First, I think the question should be, how did parents ever think they shouldn't be monitoring young childrens' IM? It's in the same league as knowing what house the kid's going to be staying over at and who'll be there. And the rules change as the kid grows up for exactly the same reasons.

But would monitoring have helped in the Foley case? The kid reported it, his parents knew about it, and still every party involved downplayed the incident to the greatest extent possible and took the first opportunity they had to drop the matter. What, exactly, would monitoring have changed?

People will always slip the net. (1)

Bomarrow1 (903375) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283545)

I myself am 13 and know that my parents couldn't monitor what I'm doing but they shouldn't need to. I treat my self as relatively tech savvy and I doubt many adults could track my internet usage.
I use tor, ssh tunnels, ssl etc.. for everything. I have scripts set up to fill logs with junk so just reading the stuff would be a marathon task. I'm not encripting my life from my parents I'm more worried about the secret service or aliens *ajusts tin foil hat*.
Why bother? Just ask your kids to talk to you.

Sigh. (3, Insightful)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283579)

IMs are no different than invoking random people in conversation out in that scary world of our. Teach your kids about perverts and other dangerous people (like clowns) and there should be no need for excessive intrusion.

YOUR DAD IS WATCHING YOU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283661)

Thoughtcrime does not entail grounding. Thoughtcrime IS grounding.

True stories of parental IM logging.... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283731)

One of my former bosses was a big user of software tools to spy on his teenage daughters' IM chat sessions. (I think he actually got the idea, initially, after having a successful run as a reseller of a commercial web-site filtering/monitor package for Windows.)

In any case, he had the classical "good daughter" (A+ student, liked by everybody, never got in trouble, great at sports, etc. etc.), and the "bad daughter" (ran around with a convict boyfriend, left home and had to come back several times, didn't finish school, lost numerous jobs, etc. etc.).

I remember his shock and confusion when the results of his IM logging revealed to him that his "good daughter" was experimenting with drugs with her friends. He, of course, was expecting to see problems from the other one instead. His biggest "worry" was how to confront her about the problem without letting on that he had, indeed, spied on her conversations.

All of that just reinforced my own belief that if your kid is old enough to use your home computer, unsupervised, then they're old enough to have some expectation of privacy too. Anything else just compromises your ability to react to any issues that do come up.

The conversations they have over IM are generally no different than the ones they have while they're at school, out at a party, etc. Your concern needs to focus on putting up some "guard rails" along the sides of the "road of life" they're traveling -- not trying to control the speed or direction they're traveling in.
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