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Protecting children online


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Not living in a perfect world where everything and everyone is safe, there are some steps we can take to make things just a little safer and easier for our little ones when they use our computers.


#1) User Accounts


For each child that will be using the computer, it is extremely important that you create separate user accounts. You don't want little hands clicking in the wrong places and deleting files from your account.


#2) Locking Down


Log into the new accounts you created for each child, and make the desktop more child friendly. For starters, you will want to remove things like network and update applets that could confuse the kids. Removing virtual desktop switchers is also a good idea to avoid the where did my games go questions. In gnome, right click on objects in the panels and lock then so they can't be moved accidentally. In KDE, right click on the Kicker Panel and select lock panels for the same effect.


#3) Choosing Software


With a dedicated user account and stripped down desktop, now you can add the fun stuff. What you choose will of course depend on the age of the user. For the little ones (2 to 7), GCompris is an outstanding suite of more then 100 learning tools and games. For the older kids, you might want to add some of the non violent/adult games that most major distributions ship with. If you want to encourage your child to start programming, Little Wizard http://littlewizard.sf.net shows how you can piece together programs using icons and pictures instead of realms of code. Of course then there is TuxPaint for the little ones artisic needs, www.tuxpaint.org


#4) Web Filtering


This is definitely the most important task in making a kid friendly desktop. When your child ventures out into the big bad world of the internet, you will want to have so e safeguards in place so that they don't stumble across content not fit for little eyes. Or so the older kids don't waste all their time at such sites. A content filtering proxy is a great way to do this with software like, http://digitallumber.com/willow These applications sit between your browser and the internet, filtering out access to unwanted sites and content.


#5) Backups


Of course you don't need to be reminded :rolleyes: but back up their home directories, example if you zip up /home/little_bobby and little bobby manages destroy his desktop, you can just extract the file over his old home directory and it is restored exactly the way it was before he broke it.

Edited by Bruce
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