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  1. #1
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    Smart technology help

    I have been a reader of Windows Secrets almost from its inception; I am not, however a computer geek. I have, for more than 30 years operated a small private foster care network providing care for extraordinary children and youth who can no longer reside at home or with members of their extended families. In my business, I am sometimes the boss, the social worker, the cleaner, the receptionist, the publiscist, and the IT guy. Windows Secrets, for me, has been the backbone of our technical support. WS keeps me current with developing trends and issues in hardware, software, the world of the internet and so much more. I (we) would not have been anywhere near as technically successful had it not been for WS.

    For our business, I send out a newsletter that typically reflects issues related to children and youth in out of home care who have experienced some measure of trauma or developmental disarray. With the growing ubiguity of smart phones and tablets, my staff have been urging me to print articles related the use of these technologies by and for children in the care of child protective sservices. Many foster families are leery of computers, tablets or smart phones in their homes. Concerns are often about viruses, pornogaphy, sexting, and or social media disrupting court orders related to access and family contact.

    I am looking for articles to reprint or forward about the positive use of computers with children in out-of-home care. Articles that may help foster families integrate smart technologies with the care of children. Articles that de-mystify computer use.

    I have written about windows and parental controls. I have written about OpenDNS, Malwarebytes, and freeware anti-virus tools like AVG. I have written about whitelists and blacklists and how to use those tools. I struggle with why cmputers should be in everyone's home and how we handicap children in out-of-home care if they don't have access to computers, tablets, and other smart technologies.

    I am hoping the readers of this foum might help me out with suggestions....

    We are respectful of all copyright considerations, providing appropriate attribution, even under "fair use" considerations; when needed, we seek out the author's consent...

    In advance, thank you.

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    It sounds like you know about whitelists and blacklists, so I won't get into all that. But I will tell you what I use for my 9 year old: Mobile Web Guard.

    A relative gave an Android tablet to my 9 year old. I got really ticked off at that, because in my opinion a 9 year old has no business with an internet-connected tablet.

    I found out about Mobile Web Guard (sold by American Family Online). MWG allows me to remotely have total control over where my 9 year old can go and what apps she can run. I can control either the allowed access times of each app, or the total daily allowed usage time of each app. I can also create a whitelist or a blacklist (I went with the whitelist). Additionally, Mobile Web Guard provides filtering of objectionable content, which gives double protection for my 9 year old.

    It was a hassle to get MWG installed and configured; and customer service is open only Monday-Friday during the day. But the protection is very good, so it is worth it.

    To find articles about MWG, do a search for "Mobile Web Guard". Or go to http://www.afo.net/
    Last edited by mrjimphelps; 2016-08-31 at 16:57.

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  4. #3
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    Thank you. I am not familiar with MWG or www.afo.net but I will take a close look at both of them.

  5. #4
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    "...I am hoping the readers of this forum might help me out with suggestions..."
    My signature contains my URL to my itty bitty college cafe's Computer Technologies forum. You are welcome to use anything/everything in there. If I give specific sources, simply quote them; if I'm just blowin' good or not-so-good smoke, simply say you got [whatever] material from "college cafe's Computer Technologies forum" or give that URL -- that way, you can blame me for the stuff
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

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    These are simple explanations for what can be complex tasks. GREAT!. Thank you.

  7. #6
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    As an ex-child care social worker (I used to manage children's homes) and parent myself I understand the issues.

    There are other family-friendly DNS services other than OpenDNS. For example, Norton's free service - Norton ConnectSafe and Yandex Family.

    I'm all for tiny utilities that make life easier for non-techies. You may wish to have a look at Sordum.org's free/portable DNS Angel which provides an easy-to-use interface to changing DNS settings to family-safe services.

    Dns_angel_status.png

    Note that Norton actually has 3 ConnectSafe services so DNS Angel is a little out of date (I've notified the authors and asked whether it can be updated). The first one (ConnectSafe 1) blocks sites hosting malware, phishing schemes, and scams. ConnectSafe 2 blocks those sites plus those with pornographic content. ConnectSafe 3 (199.85.126.30 and 199.85.127.30) is perhaps the most family-friendly. This blocks the same sites as the previous 2 but also blocks access to sites that feature mature content, abortion, alcohol, crime, cults, drugs, gambling, hate, sexual orientation, suicide, tobacco and/or violence... which, in some cases, may be too restrictive.

    If Facebook is one of the concerns then have a look at this How to Block Facebook on Computer without Software article. The article is written in a non-techie style and the advice can be used to block other (social media) sites besides Facebook. I did notice two things - 1) the list of Facebook-related URLs is a little out-of-date and many URLs don't resolve (i.e. there's no server/service, probably because Facebook development is quite fast); and 2) the list assumes the use of IPv4 only.

    I still advise foster parents and was recently asked to block Facebook on a couple of laptops used by 2 pre-teens. I added the following to each HOST file.

    Code:
    # Block Facebook IPv4
    127.0.0.1 facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 login.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 fbcdn.net
    127.0.0.1 www.fbcdn.net
    127.0.0.1 fbcdn.com
    127.0.0.1 www.fbcdn.com
    127.0.0.1 static.ak.fbcdn.net
    127.0.0.1 static.ak.connect.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 connect.facebook.net
    127.0.0.1 www.connect.facebook.net
    127.0.0.1 apps.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 en-gb.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 blog.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 0-edge-chat.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 1-edge-chat.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 2-edge-chat.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 3-edge-chat.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 4-edge-chat.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 5-edge-chat.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 6-edge-chat.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 api-read.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 api.connect.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 api.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 attachment.fbsbx.com
    127.0.0.1 b-api.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 b-graph.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 badge.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 bigzipfiles.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 check4.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 check6.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 code.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 connect.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 edge-chat.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 es-la.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 fb.me
    127.0.0.1 fbcdn.com
    127.0.0.1 fbcdn.net
    127.0.0.1 fr-fr.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 hi-in.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 it-it.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 ja-jp.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 m.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 pt-br.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 secure.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 ssl.connect.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 ssl.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 star.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 touch.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 upload.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 vupload.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 fb.com
    127.0.0.1 messenger.com
    127.0.0.1 .messenger.com
    127.0.0.1 www.facebook.de
    127.0.0.1 www.facebook.fr
    127.0.0.1 www.facebook.it
    127.0.0.1 www.fbcdn.com
    127.0.0.1 www.fbcdn.net
    127.0.0.1 www.fbcdn.net
    127.0.0.1 zh-cn.facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 zh-tw.facebook.com
    
    # Block Facebook IPv6
    ::1 facebook.com
    ::1 www.facebook.com
    ::1 login.facebook.com
    ::1 fbcdn.net
    ::1 www.fbcdn.net
    ::1 fbcdn.com
    ::1 www.fbcdn.com
    ::1 static.ak.fbcdn.net
    ::1 static.ak.connect.facebook.com
    ::1 connect.facebook.net
    ::1 www.connect.facebook.net
    ::1 apps.facebook.com
    ::1 edge-star6-shv-02-ams2.facebook.com
    ::1 en-gb.facebook.com
    ::1 blog.facebook.com
    ::1 0-edge-chat.facebook.com
    ::1 1-edge-chat.facebook.com
    ::1 2-edge-chat.facebook.com
    ::1 3-edge-chat.facebook.com
    ::1 4-edge-chat.facebook.com
    ::1 5-edge-chat.facebook.com
    ::1 6-edge-chat.facebook.com
    ::1 api-read.facebook.com
    ::1 api.connect.facebook.com
    ::1 api.facebook.com
    ::1 attachment.fbsbx.com
    ::1 b-api.facebook.com
    ::1 b-graph.facebook.com
    ::1 badge.facebook.com
    ::1 bigzipfiles.facebook.com
    ::1 check4.facebook.com
    ::1 check6.facebook.com
    ::1 code.facebook.com
    ::1 connect.facebook.com
    ::1 edge-chat.facebook.com
    ::1 es-la.facebook.com
    ::1 fb.me
    ::1 fbcdn.com
    ::1 fbcdn.net
    ::1 fr-fr.facebook.com
    ::1 hi-in.facebook.com
    ::1 it-it.facebook.com
    ::1 ja-jp.facebook.com
    ::1 m.facebook.com
    ::1 pt-br.facebook.com
    ::1 secure.facebook.com
    ::1 ssl.connect.facebook.com
    ::1 ssl.facebook.com
    ::1 star.facebook.com
    ::1 touch.facebook.com
    ::1 upload.facebook.com
    ::1 vupload.facebook.com
    ::1 fb.com
    ::1 messenger.com
    ::1 .messenger.com
    ::1 www.facebook.de
    ::1 www.facebook.fr
    ::1 www.facebook.it
    ::1 www.fbcdn.com
    ::1 www.fbcdn.net
    ::1 www.fbcdn.net
    ::1 zh-cn.facebook.com
    ::1 zh-tw.facebook.com
    Note: A few more free utilities:

    BlueLife Hosts Editor - I use this one quite a bit.

    Bluelife hosts editör is a Portable Freeware hosts-file editor and Allows you to easily add/delete , Block , Update domain names to your hosts file , Simply type the hostname you wish to add and use “Resolve domain name and add in to the list” button
    For very young children, Sordum.org have another free utility - KeyFreeze - that may prove useful:

    a FREE Windows application that blocks your keyboard and mouse without “locking” the screen. So your kids can safely watch a cartoon or have a videochat with their grandparents and bang the keyboard as much as they want. You can block keyboard and Mouse separately or together
    Simple Run Blocker is a free utility to block applications from being used.

    Simple Run Blocker (SRB) is portable freeware created to simplify the process of blocking applications from being used. This can come in handy, for example, to prevent children from using certain programs. SRB offers a ‘drag and drop’ ease of use not found in most other tools of this type. You can drag an executable to the SRB window and it will automatically be blocked. SRB also features a “white list” mode, which blocks all executables except your specifically approved applications.
    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2016-09-01 at 13:32. Reason: Corrected typos

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  9. #7
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Very helpful info, Rick!

    Stunning how many sites you had to block in order to block Facebook.

    I wonder if little Johnny could simply go to Facebook's IP address rather than the plain-English web address, thereby bypassing the host file.

  10. #8
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps
    I wonder if little Johnny could simply go to Facebook's IP address rather than the plain-English web address, thereby bypassing the host file.
    Yes, unfortunately. However, if little Johnny is that IT-savvy then the HOSTS file will hardly be a problem either unless he's forced to use a non-privileged account (in which case he'll probably just boot from a Windows To Go or Linux Live USB stick. ).

    PS - Mods, perhaps this thread should be moved to the General Windows Forum in view of the OP's aim:

    I am looking for articles to reprint or forward about the positive use of computers with children in out-of-home care. Articles that may help foster families integrate smart technologies with the care of children. Articles that de-mystify computer use.
    I'm not sure Scuttlebutt (i.e. Fun links and trivia) is the best place for it.
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2016-09-01 at 16:32.

  11. #9
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    These posts have been very helpful. There are tips and ideas that many of my foster families might find find useful. I appreciate that level of assistance; however, I was really hoping someone might be able to point me to a compelling document reinforcing that ALL children need access to computers. My families use viruses and faceboook and pornography and adult content as a means of restricting or preventing children in out-of-home care from having access to household computers. I believe not having access to a computer is extremely handicapping to children whose lives and futures have already been handicapped. To not have access to the internet for homework, to not learn responsible and courteous online behaviour, to not know how to guard against phishing and other fraudulent conduct, leaves children at an extraordinary disadvantage. Someone else must have said these things somewhere. This is what I am hoping forum members might point me toward.

    Some families believe computers are a passing fad and ignore the high degree of technological convergence that has occurred in the past decade and seemingly will only increase in the future... it is like people are awaiting the return of 35mm cameras and film. They cite the return of vinyl music albums as an example... There must be articles that point to future convergence with optimism; those are the stories I want to be able to tell foster families. How do we prepare young people, regardless of their handicaps, for the inevitable future that includes computing.... I am hoping forum members might be able to help point me in the right direction.

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    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilfG View Post
    ...How do we prepare young people, regardless of their handicaps, for the inevitable future that includes computing...
    Sorry, I don't know of any authoritative document on this subject, but will comment with my insights into this issue after attending many customers with young children and having raised my son as a single parent from 7yo in 1993 when the Internet was a new thing.

    There is NO substitute for parental supervision; if little Johnny (or Joanna) is allowed to disappear into their bedroom with their WiFi-connected laptop/touchpad/smartphone then expect problems. But if the child is allowed to use their device only in the family room(s) of the residence where they can be supervised by parents and/or older siblings then it is far less likely the child will venture too far "off-the-tracks".

    "Net Nanny" type programs send the wrong message; it is quite natural for childrens' curiousity to be aroused if they are blocked from accessing something they know their friends/classmates can access.

    Children need to learn to use technology responsibly, which is really no different from any other aspect of life; who do they learn from? Primarily their parents, secondarily from their siblings/teachers/friends/classmates.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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  13. #11
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin
    "Net Nanny" type programs send the wrong message; it is quite natural for childrens' curiousity to be aroused if they are blocked from accessing something they know their friends/classmates can access.
    I know what you're saying and to some extent agree (particularly if there's only one child in the household to consider) but often the restrictions for 'looked after' children are court-mandated and have nothing to do with how well foster carers supervise.

    In addition, foster carers are in a far more difficult position re: rights to 'privacy' of 'looked after' children who may wish to retreat to the comfort of their private spaces. In my opinion, whilst bringing up your own child(ren) can often be a minefield, looking after the child(ren) of others is more so.
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2016-09-02 at 05:02.

  14. #12
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    "Net Nanny" type programs send the wrong message; it is quite natural for childrens' curiousity to be aroused if they are blocked from accessing something they know their friends/classmates can access.
    I believe that some type of protection is vital for children. If you want to merely supervise them, then you can log on as "Dad" or "Mom" and supervise them without the "Net Nanny" protection in place.

    But you can't always look over their shoulder, so for those times, the children must be protected.

    If you wouldn't let gamblers, pornographers, or others participating in some sort of vice into your home, then you need to do what you can to stop that sort of thing from coming in via the computer.

    In my case, as I mentioned above, someone gave my 9 year old an Android tablet. My wife and I weren't in agreement about her having the tablet -- she wanted her to have it, while I didn't. But we did agree about installing protection on the tablet, so that is how we resolved the matter.

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    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilfG View Post
    To not have access to the internet for homework, to not learn responsible and courteous online behaviour, to not know how to guard against phishing and other fraudulent conduct, leaves children at an extraordinary disadvantage. Someone else must have said these things somewhere. This is what I am hoping forum members might point me toward.
    A search on...
    do children need computers
    ...turned up these results among others:

    Technology essential to children's success, professor says
    Quote Originally Posted by Phys.org
    Children need access to technology if they want to succeed in the 21st century
    ECT Interview: Computers and Young Children
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas H. Clements, Ph.D.
    Most importantly, research suggests that if children are introduced to computers before the age of seven, there will be little or no gender bias in their use. However, the longer one waits past that age, the more likely the computer will be a male domain.
    ...
    Dr. Clements offers the following guidelines for computer use:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jane M.Healy, Ph.D.
    In the case of the child under seven, there are few things that can be done better on a computer and many that fail miserably by comparison.
    ...
    for children above age seven-- combining computer and manipulative activities may result in better learning.
    ...
    Dr. Healy offers the following guidelines for computer use:
    Lugh.
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  16. #14
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    Never knew there was a journal,

    Children and Computer Technology - been around since the 1990s. I found it at http://www.futureofchildren.org

    Thanks to all. I am very grateful for the advice and support.

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