As the parent of a two-year-old, I will eventually be faced with a situation similar to Debbie's concerning her kids' computer use. While this week I received a variety of suggestions on disciplinary actions for children on computers, I thought it best to stick with a solution from a technical standpoint and leave parenting to the parents. However, since there were so many interesting submissions this week, I included not only the winning answer by Al C. and honorable mentions to follow, but also a couple of additional sections from our members, which range from software application recommendations to advice on how to deal with your children. It's all interesting stuff, so definitely check them out and chime in with your two cents. Thanks for all the great submissions!
I was wondering if someone could help me set my computer up so that my kids can use it but cannot download or install anything without my permission. I have caught my son installing Kazaa (with viruses coming with it!), using it, then uninstalling it before I got home. I hate to punish my other children by having to leave my computer off all day.
--Submitted by: Debbie B.
The easiest and most straightforward answer to PC Security is to install Windows XP and use the NTFS option for your file system. This gives you the potential of industrial-strength security. Most earlier versions of Windows for the home simply did not have the notion of security built into them except for screensaver passwords and the ability to segregate users in Outlook Express. They assumed that if the user had access to the PC, the user was entitled to do anything at all.
Security is so central to Windows XP that what you want to accomplish comes built in. Once you have added each member of the family as a limited user, they won't be able to do anything you don't want them to. Out of the box, they will be able to browse the Web, read and create e-mail, and run programs that you have installed, but not much more.
There are advanced features that control downloading from the Web. You can prevent kids from going to Web sites you want to restrict, such as the infamous whitehouse.com. Note that even if they download programs, they will not be able to install them. Nor will they be able to remove programs. I'm not discussing the advanced features, because they are nice to have but not essential to your goal. Study Internet Options in the Control Panel to access many of these advanced features. Implementing others is beyond the scope of a short response...
--Submitted by Al C.
(Please click on the follow links for the honorable mentions, Software application recommendations by our members, and other miscellaneous submissions.)
For Al's efforts, were sending him his choice of any Help.com
Check out next week's question:
I just replaced my 40GB hard drive with a new 80GB one. But now my computer shows the drive at less than half of its capacity. I am running Windows Me with a 1.4GHz P4. What is wrong here?
--Submitted by: Michael M.
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