Byte Me Article 76 – Make Sure Your Computer is PG

– Make Sure Your Computer is PG

9 June, 2012

Kids and computers, it is a bit like saying fire and petrol, as often putting the two together without the proper restrictions will end in tears.  Kids don’t have the same fear of ‘breaking’ a PC that adults normally have and often their inquisitive nature gets them into trouble.  This is especially true if unrestricted Internet usage is allowed.  We often get customers in that want a home network setup properly – to share printers, music and the Internet.  Prior to this they have often tried to do it themselves and have only ended up wasting lots of time and also getting viruses on the computers that the kids use.  So what is the solution?

There are now a range of solutions to protect both the young enquiring mind as well as your computers health.  I am probably best to give you an example of how we have setup a number of home networks.  To start with we have used a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device to house a copy of ALL of the documents, photos, music and movies for EVERYONE in the house.  This places all of the above data on mirrored (duplicated) hard drives in a single small enclosure about the size of a shoe box – which never gets turned off.  This results in all of the above data being available to ALL of the computers on the network.  We also place a backup drive on this NAS to keep another duplicate of all of this data.

2012-06-09 Byte Me Article 76 - Kids & PC's

We have then had the individual children in the family have a small laptop (or Netbook) to themselves – even a device for as little as $400 which has both a good virus scanner as well as a ‘Net Nanny’ program installed.  (A Net Nanny program will completely block access to undesirable sites such as adult sites on the device that it is installed on).  The small laptop or netbook will store all of the important documents on the NAS as well as having access to all of the movies, music and photos stored there.  We normally setup a main PC or laptop for the parents who also have control over the backup system as well as administrating the Net Nanny functions.

We have even gone to the trouble of having a BIOS password on the kids PC’s that only the parents know – so they can’t be turned on without permission.  We have then setup an icon on the main PC that turns the laptops off individually if that’s what the parents want.  With this they can limit the amount of time that their child spends on the Internet/PC – even if that child is locked in their own bedroom.  The PC simply states that it is turning off in 2 minutes and the child then needs the parents help to get it running again!

The above system does restrict how much time kids spend on their PC’s as well as what they are looking at.  Another added bonus is that you can have just one good printer/copier/scanner that all of the computers can access and the best part – no viruses or kids with square eyes!

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is still contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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