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  Author  Subject: Re: Setting limits to program acces
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Posted on 02-18-2005 12:03 a.m. ET  reply

Original Poster: Jym Williams Zavada

>Is there a way for me to control my son's access to messaging? I would like
>to limit him to a certain amount of time but not lock him out of internet
>access. Anyone have any ideas?

I'm not aware of any programs that can do that on any platform, be it Windows,
Mac or Linux. And if your son is very computer-savvy, he may very well be
able to find a way around whatever you put in place anyway. However, one
way I can think of to do it would be to write a shell script wrapper around
the program, and have it kill the program after a given time limit.

Personally though, I'm a strong proponent of direct parental involvement and
supervision, and recommend that as the abolute best way to mix kids and the
Internet. I work for an ISP, and I've found that all too often people
unsuccessfully try to rely on programs and such to keep their kids from
exposure to the seedier side of the Internet.

With that in mind, here's a low-tech idea you could try: Set one of those
little kitchen timers down next to your son while he's on the computer,
and let him know that when the timer goes off, his messaging time is up.
Then, sit down with him and ask him about the folks he talked to, whether
or not he knows them in person, or just online. Use the conversation as
an opportunity to teach your son how to live in a world where not everything
is as it appears.

Sorry if I sound preachy, I don't mean to be. It's just that I've seen too
many instances of parents relying on software that too many kids can get
around. Especially because the kids usually know more about the computers
than their parents.

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