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Old Jan 27, 08, 8:49 am   #1
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need parental control on 3 home computers, no control on three laptops--advice?

is there an easy way to get pretty decent parental control on 3 home machines, but freedom to surf on our laptops? we are networked with a router. thanks!
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Old Jan 27, 08, 12:07 pm   #2
  
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What exactly are you trying to accomplish? There is not a "one size fits all" solution.
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Old Jan 27, 08, 12:36 pm   #3
  
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Best solution would be software filters on the 3 filtered machines. A router-based solution would work if it includes the option to exclude MAC IDs (individual computer hardware addresses) from the filtering. AFAIK, most router-based solutions at the consumer level do not offer this option.
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Old Jan 27, 08, 12:40 pm   #4
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Originally Posted by myfrogger View Post
What exactly are you trying to accomplish? There is not a "one size fits all" solution.
i'd like to keep my kids shielded from adult websites a bit longer, but the adults, whether at home or on the road with their maachines, don't want to be hassled or controled by the same "parental controls". (i was told by my internet provider that they could install a router control, but that would limit all the machines on the router) years ago we had parental controls and i couldn't find a way to get the computer to let me search for my favorite (normal) underwear.

does that help clarify?
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Old Jan 27, 08, 1:32 pm   #5
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What OS are you running? Windows? Mac OS? Linux? And which major version(s)? Makes a big difference.
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Old Jan 27, 08, 1:55 pm   #6
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What OS are you running? Windows? Mac OS? Linux? And which major version(s)? Makes a big difference.
windows xp on the pcs, vista on the laptops.
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Old Jan 27, 08, 3:32 pm   #7
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Originally Posted by haniboo View Post
windows xp on the pcs, vista on the laptops.
Since you need something for Windows XP, you might look into this:

http://www.internetsafety.com/safe-eyes/

PC Magazine thinks highly of it. Coincidentally, the basic package has a license for three machines.
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Old Jan 27, 08, 11:20 pm   #8
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Since you need something for Windows XP, you might look into this:

http://www.internetsafety.com/safe-eyes/

PC Magazine thinks highly of it. Coincidentally, the basic package has a license for three machines.
efrem,

thanks, this looks great.

btw, does parental control software block internet pages in any language?
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Old Jan 28, 08, 12:09 am   #9
  
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I would go with something router based. The majority of the above average home routers do allow you to configure either your own list of allowable and/or blocked websites, or use a subscription service that will maintain such a list for you.

My D-Link gamer router does just that - I can set up my own list of allowable websites and configure times where access to all internet is blocked. It can be applied to specific computers on my network, exempting others. Also, you can choose to log what websites are accessed from the computers on the network and have the logs emailed to you from the router.

The router also gives 30 day free trial access to Sentinel services for real-time list updating of adult, offensive and hate sites. As I don't use it, I'm not familiar with the subscription costs.

But as I said, I would go with the router solution. I say this because it's far simpler to maintain the setup from one device, with one subscription, than to do this on multiple machines.
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Old Jan 28, 08, 12:20 pm   #10
  
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Kids these days are near experts on the computer. Any software based solution is probably able to be overcome by an 8 year old. It will, however, will prevent accidental searches.

If you simply restrict by domain, you'd need a daily updated list that has a least a few hundred thousand domains on it. Sure porn.com will be blocked on there but the newest websites will not be blocked.

There are solutions that analyze the pages the kids are surfing and blocks access to the websites based on the context of the page. Some are better than others. A router or server side solution is probably the best but also the most complicated to set up. A separate computer used as a firewall would probably be the best bet. Make sure that you can enter IPs or ideally MAC addresses of the computers that get full access.

EDIT: I was going to recommend some software but after a few minutes of searching I realized my info is quite out of date. I still think a server/router side solution is more secure but will be harder and probably more expensive to set up.
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Old Jan 28, 08, 1:43 pm   #11
  
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I'd recomend, like others, a router based solution.
I have not used a consumer router (linksys, etc) in quite some time, but I hear they have some options.
I know the free open source options for building your own (smoothwall, IPcop, PFsense) all have very very slick ways to block content and services (IM, IRC, etc) and thats the route I will take when its my turn to face the same thing...but admittedly, its complex to setup and administrate.

I have not used it, but Astaro touts a product that is best of breed open source and commercial software and their home version is free (bring your own hardware) or get a router-sized box for pretty darned cheap
http://www.astaro.com/our_products/a.../web_filtering
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Old Feb 7, 08, 9:44 am   #12
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buy your kids websense
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Old Feb 7, 08, 8:09 pm   #13
  
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I use Vista on 2 of my home computers (where the kids have access) and I use the Parental Control features that comes with it.

It does everything I need.
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Old Feb 8, 08, 3:28 pm   #14
  
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I just installed Webroot's Parental Controls (O/S = XP Home) and I'm happy with it. Has profiles for adults, teenagers, adolescents, children and pre-schoolers which offer preset filtering, computer time limits and internet time limits, all of which can me modified as desired.

For example our 12 y.o. son is set up in the software as follows:
Blocked website categories such as porn and on-line communities (i.e. myspace and facebook)
28 hours cumulative computer time per week of which a maximum of 14 hours per week on Internet.
Within the above parameters he is set to a limit of 3 hours per day computer time M-Th, 6 hours per day F-Su.
His XP logon is available from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mon-Thu. On Friday and Saturday his logon is good from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. On Sunday it is 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (The afternoon gap during the week is for non-computer related homework time)

The software also allows me to set his account up so he can't get to the windows control panel, "run" command, etc. if so desired.
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