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Parental controls for Mac & tweens/teens using social media - thoughts? (Read 98 times)


Needs more cowbell!

    DS is about 6 months away from 13 and starting to show some interest in some of the simple Computer Science stuff on Kahn Academy, but a lot of these things don't work well with the iPad's touchscreen and really need a more traditional desktop/laptop/mouse interface.  He is also high-functioning Autistic (aka the disorder formerly known as Asperger's) and struggles with hand-written text, so his IEP encourages typing assignments (his language skills are exceptionally good, but getting words on paper is a constant battle with him.  His teachers have even taken to transcribing his writing assignments in an effort to assist him), as an alternative.   We figure typing is a good still for him to develop ASAP, anyhow, since he's likely going to be required to type more assignments by HS and college, anyhow.  To be honest, I get his apprehension with hand-writing, as I have HORRID penmanship and can type MUCH faster than I can write.  With his brain working overtime I'm certain that his challenge with writing is enhanced.

     

    We've given serious thought to giving him his own computer.  DH suggested a low-end PC, but I'm of the mind that a Mac might be a better fit.  There are TONS more autism-friendly apps for Mac/iPad/iPhone and his school uses Macs exclusively, so there'd be no issue with compatibility if he wanted to work on assignments both at home and at school.  I'm also the one who would be around to work with him on projects more and I have far more familiarity with the Mac platform than I do with PC.

     

    My own Mac is also 3-4 years old and we'd likely be upgrading it in the coming year or so, so it makes sense that DS could simply inherit my current machine.

     

    What we don't know much about is parental controls.  Since DS mostly uses the iPad and we keep a close eye on him we've not really researched this at all.  Any parents have kids using Macs with parental controls enabled (Trent...?)?  Anything we need to be aware of...pros/cons?  Thoughts on social media sorts of things?  Thus far the rugrat has had NO interest whatsoever in using e-mail or social media, though it seems like nearly all of his peers regularly use these things, kind of like my generation used the telephone.  While I hate the thought of him getting sucked into the black hole of Minecraft (ack!!!), I have to admit that there's a certain social aspect to this that would likely be of benefit to him.  He really struggles making friends/being social and not engaging in electronic communication sometimes makes me think he's missing something that his peers are all using to some degree.  He will sit and watch videos of Minecraft play on YouTube (apparently watching video game play on YouTube is a common behavior among kids -- I totally do not get the appeal...at all).  A whole slew of kids at his school set up servers to play together and create...stuff.  I don't really have an opinion on the game, as I don't know an awful lot about it.

    Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

    '14 Goals:

    • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

    • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

    brownjason


      Many parents nowadays are concerning about children’s online safety, for the Internet bullying is lurking on the Internet and children are always the targets. Monitoring children doesn’t mean parents break in children’s private space or snoop their personal secrets, proper children computer monitoring can ensure the children’s online safety and parents can take actions to prevent their children from being hurt in time.

        You probably already made your decision, but I think you have a great plan.

         

        I have Macs in my house, but my 11 year old received a Windows laptop at his mother's house. The parental controls on the Macs are MUCH better than what I have found on Windows (though after he upgraded to Windows 8 there were better tools).

         

        For me I am more worried about the time spent on the computer than the content. We set ground rules on the content and I have blocked adult sites, but I let him use Facebook, Instagram, Kik, etc.

         

        Being able to put hard limits on the time is great though. It keeps me from having to police it and keep track. It also keeps me from constantly being the bad guy since the computer just locks him out without me having to tell him to log off Smile

         

        --

        Nashville, TN

         

        MrH


          The best parental control is to talk about expected behavior and gently scare the bajeebus out of him by highlighting some of the risks. Via your router you can see where he goes too. That knowledge may help him moderate his behavior.

           

          What he does at a friend's house is harder to monitor.

           

          This thread reminded me of a Dilbert cartoon from almost 20 years ago before my own kids were starting to use PCs. Smile

           

          The process is the goal.

          Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call Destiny.


          Needs more cowbell!

            You probably already made your decision, but I think you have a great plan.

             

            I have Macs in my house, but my 11 year old received a Windows laptop at his mother's house. The parental controls on the Macs are MUCH better than what I have found on Windows (though after he upgraded to Windows 8 there were better tools).

             

            For me I am more worried about the time spent on the computer than the content. We set ground rules on the content and I have blocked adult sites, but I let him use Facebook, Instagram, Kik, etc.

             

            Being able to put hard limits on the time is great though. It keeps me from having to police it and keep track. It also keeps me from constantly being the bad guy since the computer just locks him out without me having to tell him to log off Smile

             

            We haven't really made a move in terms of purchase, yet, though I was poking around on the parental controls and timers on my 2nd gen. Mini running 10.8 and it's a pretty impressive set-up (I wish we could do something similar with the iPad, but since it's really designed more as a single-user device I don't know that anything like that could be easily implemented).  I think we're probably leaning towards sticking with a Mac if/when the time comes, since it's a much more familiar platform for me and I'm the one who'd be in charge of things during holidays and Summer months.

             

            MrH, that comic is hilarious.  Nothing has really changed in the past 2 decades...much less the the past 200 years, I expect.

            Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

            '14 Goals:

            • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

            • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

              You can also look at the controls you might have available through your router.  I've been on the brink of buying this ASUS router, which allegedly has the power to whitelist/blacklist domains via a router app.  I"m sure other routers have similar stuff, too.

              “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman


              Needs more cowbell!

                The router option is definitely something we'll have to research, though we just bought a new one 4 months ago, so if our existing device doesn't have any nifty control features we'll likely have to stick with what we can do with the actual computer.

                Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

                '14 Goals:

                • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                   Thus far the rugrat has had NO interest whatsoever in using e-mail or social media, though it seems like nearly all of his peers regularly use these things, kind of like my generation used the telephone.  While I hate the thought of him getting sucked into the black hole of Minecraft (ack!!!), I have to admit that there's a certain social aspect to this that would likely be of benefit to him.  He really struggles making friends/being social and not engaging in electronic communication sometimes makes me think he's missing something that his peers are all using to some degree.  

                   

                  Well this does not exactly address your question, but just for interest/commiseration. I have a 17yo DD with Asperger's (did not realize I was not supposed to be using that term anymore). Even at this age, she has little interest in electronic communication for social purposes. She has email but rarely uses it, has no interest in getting on Facebook, and only texts for necessity (on her 6-year-old flip phone - we joke that we are the role reversal family, parents are begging their kid to get a iPhone). She does miss out on a lot of stuff that way. And while she spends loads of time on the computer (she has had her own laptop for several years), and playing videogames, parental controls have never been an issue. She is a total prude & never goes anywhere near anything age-inappropriate. Or even most things age-appropriate - she refused to see PG13 movies till she was actually 13, and will not see R movies now even though she is old enough to go on her own. She still pretty is pretty much only interested in animated TV shows & movies.  As a parent it is definitely better than the other extreme, but makes it tough for the kid to get along when all her classmates are seeing The Heat and she wants to find someone to go see Turbo with her.

                  Dave


                  Needs more cowbell!

                     

                    Well this does not exactly address your question, but just for interest/commiseration. I have a 17yo DD with Asperger's (did not realize I was not supposed to be using that term anymore). Even at this age, she has little interest in electronic communication for social purposes. She has email but rarely uses it, has no interest in getting on Facebook, and only texts for necessity (on her 6-year-old flip phone - we joke that we are the role reversal family, parents are begging their kid to get a iPhone). She does miss out on a lot of stuff that way. And while she spends loads of time on the computer (she has had her own laptop for several years), and playing videogames, parental controls have never been an issue. She is a total prude & never goes anywhere near anything age-inappropriate. Or even most things age-appropriate - she refused to see PG13 movies till she was actually 13, and will not see R movies now even though she is old enough to go on her own. She still pretty is pretty much only interested in animated TV shows & movies.  As a parent it is definitely better than the other extreme, but makes it tough for the kid to get along when all her classmates are seeing The Heat and she wants to find someone to go see Turbo with her.

                     

                    Yep.  We chaperoned our son's class trip this past Spring and it was sorta surreal to see how some of his peers are so socially advanced.  The end of 6th grade is already so awkward, but there was a real divide between the kids who look and act older and the late bloomers.

                     

                    When our son is on the iPad he also could spend hours just playing games.  He does like 1st person shooter stuff with his dad, but I haven't seen any evidence of him using the internet for anything inappropriate when he's on my desktop or the iPad.  He mostly just likes getting on YouTube and watching very clean videos.  In some ways I don't mind that he's kind of naîve.

                    Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

                    '14 Goals:

                    • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                    • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)