Security: Watch What Your Kids Do Online!

If you have kids at home using the web, it’s important that you know what they are doing! One of the easiest ways to do that is to actually look at their screen.

Youngsters really should not be using the net in their own room, but rather in a central location in the house so you can keep an eye on them. But if they are using a laptop or desktop in their own room, it’s important to keep an eye on what they do. While my remaining child at home is 28, he is also profoundly autistic, functioning on the lever of a 4 year old. Here’s how I keep track of his net usage:

First, I use VNC. He is using a Dell laptop running Linux Mint 17. Running on Mint of course is the VNC server called vino-server.

Looking at the following screen grab, you can see the desktop sharing dialogue.

Vino setup

Vino setup

In the final section of the setup screen, you want to change the selection from where you see it, to Never. This will prevent the computer running the vino server from alerting the user that it is being connected to.

As you already know I’m sure, this lets me peek in and see what he’s looking at, and if it’s something he should not be looking at, I can block the site in my router.

VNC image

VNC image

In the example above, he was watching a Little Mermaid cartoon on Youtube while drawing one of his cartoons. *(He loves drawing cartoon characters sitting on the potty, I don’t know why!)

Other things you should do to protect your youngster include:

  • Using Opendns.org for their wonderful parental controls. They do a good job at blocking all the porn out there.
  • Use your routers built in filtering system. Block by keyword or specific URL to prevent your offspring from accessing them. *(keep in mind that if the site has a security certificate, then this can be bypassed by a clever kid, hence looking in on them from time to time!
  • Watch your router logs. My router logs tell me every site that has been visited for the last hour. It can be tedious, but checking the logs for sites you don’t want your kids going to.
  • Talk to your kids! Let them know what your expectations are where their network use concerned.