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Know what your kids are up to?

I talk about some of the common questions that seem to be coming from kids, and wonder … do the parents know?

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Hello everyone, this is Leo Notenboom of Ask Leo, on the internet at, with news, commentary and answers to some of the many questions I
get at

Do you know what your kids are up to?

Last week I talked about the level of privacy you should expect while using
instant messaging, and other services on the internet. The implication was that
spying is a bad thing, and that unless you take steps, privacy is an

If you’re a parent, the roles are, or could be, reversed. I’m reluctant to
say that spying is “good”, but parents really need to be aware of are what
their children are doing on the internet.

At Ask Leo! I get a fairly constant stream of questions, many obviously from
kids, asking how to crack someone’s account, or how to bypass their school’s
internet security, or for activation codes to allow them to steal copies of
popular games. A lot of the spyware problems I see are the result of folks
trying to get illegal music by installing peer-to-peer software that are known
spyware carriers.

No, I’m not saying it’s all kids. Far from it.

But a large percentage most certainly is.

Are you positive your kids aren’t part of that group?

There are legitimate parental spyware and filtering options out there that
will let you both monitor, and perhaps control, what your children are doing on
line. Most are customizable to your level of comfort and understanding of
what’s appropriate for your kids.

And personally, I’d let the kids know. Be open about it, it’s a good example
to set.

Like a cheap padlock, it’ll keep the honest kids honest. The others … not
your kids of course … will find a way around it. And if you find that out,
it’ll tell you something very important as well.

The tools are out there … regardless of what you feel is appropriate or
not, at least be aware.

Be a parent.

This is article #4328 – for links related to this item, or to leave a
comment, go to, enter 4328 in the go to article number box. Add
your comments to the discussion, I’d love to hear from you.

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1 thought on “Know what your kids are up to?”

  1. Another reason to keep track of what your kids are up to: some large companies/ govt. departments/ universities etc. monitor sites like MySpace to see what the next generation is up to. And they remember names.

    So a kid might really hurt his/her future chances of employment/education by putting the wrong information online.


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