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Computer Privacy Annoyances by Dan Tynan

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KIDS AND THE NET

Let Internet Explorer Play Web Cop

The Annoyance:

I don’t want my kids growing up to be fry cooks at McDonald’s, so I got them a computer with a fast Internet connection. Now I’m afraid they’ll become a little too worldly, too soon. How do I shield them from the Net’s nasty, dark underbelly?

The Fix:

The first thing you can do is set up separate logons for each child, with settings appropriate to each age group. You’ll also want to set yourself up as the adminstrator for that computer, so you can control what they can and can’t do with it. (For the skinny on how to set up accounts, see Chapter 2, "One Computer, Many Eyeballs“) If you share a computer, this will help keep them from eyeing your browser history or snooping around in your private files.

Once you’ve done that, you can log on as your child and adjust his or her browser settings to limit what sites they can visit, based on their content. (Though my advice is to use such content filters sparingly; see "Hire a Nanny.”) Internet Explorer 6.x comes with an older ratings system devised by the Recreational Software Advisory Council (RASCi), which is now part of the Internet Content Ratings Association.

To turn the Ratings system on, select ToolsInternet Options and click the Content tab, followed by the Enable button. In the Content Advisor dialog box select the Ratings tab and click OK. If you’ve never enabled the Content Advisor you’ll be prompted to create a password. Once you’ve got a password, click the Settings ...

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