This article has been in my draft for quite a while and was meant for PAGi as a tip (Which has since been merged with some other Government agency which I do not remember what…MDA?). Releasing it is a double edged sword as it can be use the other way round for kids to monitor what their parents are doing, what your spouse, what your employees is doing and all but I am looking at this from a parent to their kids needs other than any other use. I’ve used such software and have a staff fired many years ago when I was a IT staff of a certain organisation by providing enough evidence to have him removed.
“yes darling, daddy and mummy trust you. Of course we do!”
Those are words and simply words only I hope when you say them to your kids. Their online activities are less than trustable and even having your PC or PCs around a common area at home as so many articles will tell you, WILL NOT HELP. They do multi task a lot better if you ask me. Alt Tabbing is like breathing to them at times. Don’t imagine too far about computer whiz you see in movies doing hacking stuffs.
So what do you do to keep track of them? and what do you do with all those data?
Installing a keylogging application.
Keyloggers. They were considered hackers tools and still are but using it as a tool to keep track of your child’s computer usage is a god sent.
i tried quite a lot bfore getting this http://www.gearboxcomputers.com/products/spyboss/
Good thing i like about spyboss is, you install, you configure it, you can forget about it. It can email you the logs once everytime the logs reach 5000 lines for example. you can be in your office and the logs are sent to you so you know what your kid are doing at home. everything is time stamped. What you need to do is then scroll through these .txt files and understanding their habits. More of this later…
It does use much resources as other keylogger. It runs in the background, use a combo of key stroke to activate it, a password promot will appear. Deleting all the shortcuts when you install this app will make it almost invisible. For kids, they will never know.
So what do you do with all this data?
One thing is for certain, do not expose them. It’s like a cat and mouse game at times. If you expose them too much, they’ll stop using the computer and you loose the ability to actually keep track of them should they choose to stay in school doing the same things and wasting time on Facebook or Friendster. It doesn’t harm to also keep track of their passwords, oh yes, you’ll get those too with keyloggers. Logging into their email accounts or Facebook, check out their friends, who are they, their age is a good idea too.
Check on them, know their habits and let me tell you now first that it can be quite a daunting task but sites they frequent generally falls into a pattern and a habit. Do not deter them from visiting education sites and once a while games sites may just be good for them too. Porn well, is up to you and depending on age is a no no I guess but it’s hard I guess teaching them directly at times and you rather they find out things on their own or at home in front of a PC? Well, there’s Sex Education now at some Polytechnics in Singapore anyway…
A lof of these information is really up to you as a parent to dechiper, understand and use it with or against your child.
Privacy is crap if you ask me as I have spoken a lot about this issue. You want privacy, you get a PC or laptop with no wireless connection or no LAN connection. It’s not possible for a child who wants to learn. Use these information to your advantage. Websites sprung up so quickly that it’s impossible to keep track of them all. Sites they visit are word of mouth very often, through friend’s recommendations via word of mouth, email, instant messenging or from their social networking pages like Facebook.
Understanding that these information will backfire so use with caution and remember you are in control.