The OH is a total Scrooge when it comes to his nieces and nephews.
When we see them at weekends they usually come to him, cap in hand, like that scene from Oliver.
“Please Uncle, can we have more….Internet?”
OH then bursts into operatic outrage.
“MOOOREE Internet?? Mooooore?!…fa la la laaaaa…etc etc”
And so it goes. Same drama weekend in, weekend out.
You see….the OHs sisters have delegated the task of making all their PCs child friendly to him.
Each computer is now locked down to only allow access to very few child friendly websites. It gives everyone complete piece of mind and means none of the parents have to hover over their (almost teenage) children for every minute of every day watching what they are doing on the Internet.
Of course the pre-teens don’t like this arrangement all the time but it is an accepted part of their online life.
A few weeks ago something happened that had us a bit stunned. The daughter of a family friend came home from school one day distraught that several fake social media accounts had been created using not only her identity but also her photos.
Not only that but the accounts were targeting people she knew including friends, family and her teachers from school.
From looking at the various timelines it looked as if it had started as a bit of a joke but had become malicious as the identity thief seemed to be gaining confidence. Was it a friend pulling a prank that had gone too far? Was it someone older? It was obviously someone she knew or that knew her…but who?
A few weeks passed as the police investigated and tried to trace the guilty party.
What was eventually discovered was probably the thing that shocked most people.
With enough information (and a bit of a hunch) the identity thief was tracked down to none other than a 10 year old boy who lived in the same area.
A boy who obviously had free reign of his pc and Internet access at home without any kind of parental monitoring whatsoever. Free to manipulate and cyber bully as much as he pleased. A boy who was still at primary school!!
Chances are, of course he found it very funny whilst he was getting away with it. We have no idea what action, if any, was taken but there was a throw away comment made about how not enough patents monitor what their children are looking at on the Internet.
There is a very simple and easy way to make sure your kids are safe on the net and (on Windows) it’s known as Family Safety
It lets you control what sites can and can’t be accessed, how much Internet time a certain account is allowed, who has been looking at what …and much much more.
(It comes as an inbuilt feature in Windows 7 but can be downloaded from the Microsoft pages if you don’t have it)
There’s a lot more info about it here.
Of course this can’t stop your children from potential cyber bullies but if all parents put a feature like this on their PCs it would cut down the number of cases that can be traced back to “a joke gone wrong”.
As a parent I do worry and wonder how much privacy I will give to Little Zs online life. I’ve decided it won’t be a lot really and all his Internet life will be tracked until he is of a suitable and safe age to be let loose. (like about 25!)
The other little tool that OH uses in his position of Internet Scrooge is something called LogMeIn. It’s a little client you download onto the PCs you want to control and follow the instructions. (You need to create an account initially). This then lets you remotely access their desktop from wherever you are (even via your phone).
The OH has found this little gadget particularly handy when he has nieces and nephews calling in the evening needing more Internet time for genuine coursework research.
So there you have it; How to be an Internet Scrooge.