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Author Topic: prevent my kids from downloading files from the Internet  (Read 9168 times)
kyrathaba
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« on: September 22, 2010, 07:17:56 AM »

I have two boys, ages 11 and 9 who, despite past punishment and dire threats have continued to download silly games, toolbars, etc., onto their desktop computer.  Last night I spent over 2 hours in Safe mode running Anti-Maleware and SuperAntiSpyware.  Found and (supposedly) got rid of many trojans, adware, and at least one worm.  It's still not behaving right.

My question, without getting into a discussion of whether they should even BE allowed to have a computer (which my wife and I are also discussing) is:

Is there a way, without shelling out money for specialized software, to prevent them from downloading games, toolbars, etc.?  I still want the computer to be able to download images for webpages, Windows Updates, etc.  I just don't want them to be able to manually download anything.

The kids' computer runs Windows XP SP3 (I know, I know... but it only has 512 Mb of RAM).
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 07:33:46 AM by kyrathaba » Logged

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Bamse
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 07:56:42 AM »

You could start by blocking with dns-service. What they download is probably not covered by OpenDNS so use DynDns http://www.dyndns.com/services/dynguide/ Has the advantage over similar services that you can whitelist/blacklist domains. Set dns service up in router if possible. OpenDNS is way more slick and probably better with parental control but they save "malware" protection for those with too much money to spend. If you need safe mode and antimalware programs to clean up Opendns will not be enough.

Norton has dns-service http://nortondns.com/ and toolbar protection, Safe Web Lite http://safeweb.norton.com/

Also WOT http://www.mywot.com/ will block many unfortunate downloads. Set it up so only RED sites are affected. No warnings, chose block. That way less FPs. They can ignore WOT of course but then they want trouble smiley WOT can insert colored lamps in Google searches and elsewhere - you can turn all that off. Can be as transparent as dns blocking.

Microsoft also have Live Family Safety http://explore.live.com/windows-live-family-safety Don't know how well it filters but obviously more direct control or spying.

Not sure of impact on XP but they should have course not be logged in as Admin. Limited users for them.

Also a good idea to remove ads, probably what they click on to get toolbars. If IE is main browser try Simple Adblock http://simple-adblock.com/ works just as good as Adblock on Firefox.  
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 07:58:39 AM by Bamse » Logged
cmpm
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 08:40:37 AM »

The family safety built into XP, will kill most everything-not recommended.

The rest of Bamse's suggestions are good.

I'd make a backup of the entire system when it's in good shape.
Save yourself the trouble of hunting down changes.
http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp
Macrium free can make a full backup to anywhere you want it.
And it will erase and restore.

I have two boys as well and they started even earlier then those ages.
Which I would say, it is good for them to learn the computer and keyboard early.
But also to learn how to fix what they screwed up.

Malwarebytes and SAS are worth the money for full time protection imo.
Also a firewall will make them think. Plenty of free ones there.
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lanux128
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2010, 08:56:43 AM »

iirc there's a registry edit that disables file downloads in Internet Explorer. maybe you can try that.. also set the PC on limited user account.
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2010, 09:06:40 AM »

Yes a Windows wizard can probably lock down any computer to military standards. But when it comes to kids of that age I think it is better to promote freedom and problems than only boring freedom smiley If they screw up best protection could be to take a long long time fixing computer. If you make it impossible to get in trouble, in worst case white list method, or just re-image computer they do not learn how to manage internet and incomings. Easy to say when not a parent perhaps Wink
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2010, 09:21:30 AM »

Easy to say when not a parent perhaps Wink

Ya think?

Before I was a parent, if had any inkling of what an ass I sounded like trying to impose my parenting theories on people who were parents in the real world, I would have kept my little bobblehead mouth shut.

But yeah, there is no way to realize that until you are an actual parent.

That said, I actually AGREE with you, but occasionally you gotta be the mean daddy or the mean mommy if things are not working.

ahhh..sorry if this comes off as offensive. This is normally the type of thread I like to hit ignore on before I say something I'll regret.  redface (and I think I'll do so now, and I will check back in about a month.) And this is not directed at you personally. I have real life people in mind.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 09:30:30 AM by daddydave » Logged
cmpm
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2010, 09:40:37 AM »

The earlier kids learn computers the better.
The good bad and ugly.

Keeping a safe guard such as a clean backup is wise.

And, there is no way they are not going to get trouble using the net.
Without locking it down to 'no fun at all'.

Adblock is good, but teaching how to handle the trouble that slips past that is good too.
Just my dealings with it come to mind. And my opinions.

Soon enough they will be teaching you some things that you didn't know about some computer stuff.
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cmpm
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2010, 09:43:16 AM »

daddydave,

Not offensive at all to me or Bamse's input.
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Darwin
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2010, 11:08:52 AM »

Before I was a parent, if had any inkling of what an ass I sounded like trying to impose my parenting theories on people who were parents in the real world, I would have kept my little bobblehead mouth shut.

I cringe when I think about some of the attitudes I had pre-fatherhood...

Regarding the OP, are there any FOSS equivalents of DeepFreeze? Just a thought.
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2010, 11:20:57 AM »

You are not offensive daddydave, you just don't did not know too much about how to deal with internet and you became aware when facing reality, like having a kid. Could not care less before right? I am not offensive either smiley Things are not working as of now but perhaps less than nazi-methods (from kids perspective) should be tried out? They actually do work, adblocking is probably enough.
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2010, 01:12:57 PM »

I use a free version of Returnil (from a few years back) which doesn't have the expanded functionality of the newer versions.

With system virtualization software such as Returnil your kids can go absolutely nuts downloading and installing all the crap they can find, but when the computer is rebooted all their junk will be gone!

Once the parent illustrates this shocker to the child, he/she may understand the futility of their actions. In their minds, it might be--why bother, Dad's just gonna delete everything anyway. Or maybe they will download even more knowing you won't be mad. Hard to say. Grin
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« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2010, 01:37:50 PM »

If you are running XP or Vista, you could use Windows SteadyState (freeware). It's as close as you are going to get to a free version of DeepFreeze. It was intended for protecting computers in schools, libraries, internet cafes, and anywhere else where a heavy duty solution is required.

Once installed and properly configured, all you have to do is reboot to get rid of any changes anyone makes to the system...meaning all the malware and toolbars acquired during a session will just disappear. No more worrying from you.

But you better grab a copy soon, because Microsoft is discontinuing access to download it at the end of this year.

So, grab all 3 of these files and make a good backup of them:
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2010, 04:54:26 PM »

Thank you all for your replies.  Even after a factory restore, it's still acting screwy at boot-up, which makes me thing that there's a hardware issue (AVG, Anti-Malware Bytes, and SuperAntiSpyware all report clean).

When I got it running as good as possible, I put a 30-day trial of Folder Guard on it and disabled downloading.  Seems to be working.

I will also look into SteadyState.  Thanks for the links, app.
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2010, 09:26:13 PM »

Got rid of Folder Guard.  Installed and configured SteadyState, and it seems to be working well.

Also, removed modem and router from kids' bedroom, and they now connect via a Linksys USB wireless device that picks up the router.  Moved router and modem to our room, where they'll be safer.  Am about to get a very nice computer desk/bookshelves hand-made of oak by a guy I went to high school with...
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2010, 10:20:37 PM »

Does anyone here have any experience with PowerShadow? I have it and have used it a few times on sites I deemed risky.
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« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2010, 11:16:23 PM »

I cringe when I think about some of the attitudes I had pre-fatherhood...

This seems to be a common thing here.

Since I'm not a father yet, I'm just going to jot down some thoughts and see later on if I think I was an ass...

Hmmm... Buy some nanny software, lock down the computer, disallow all installers... Yep. That's my general attitude at the moment. Let the kid run all over the net for information, but keep the time online set to something like an hour or 2 per day, or whatever seems reasonable at the time. Limit game time as well with the nanny software.

I wonder what I'll think later on...
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