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Parental Monitoring Software: My child figured out how to turn it off – what can I do?


My child’s figured out how to disable the Parental Monitoring Software
package Net Nanny by killing the process in Task Manager after hitting
ctrl-alt-del. He learned to do that just by searching for “disable net nanny”
on the web. Is there a way to make him stop? Perhaps a way to make Net Nanny
run without being detected?

Kids are just too smart sometimes, aren’t they? :-)

And even for those that aren’t able to figure out for themselves these nifty
ways of hacking around what you’ve put in place, as you’ve seen, there’s plenty
of information on-line. Kids helping kids against those “oppressive”

Unfortunately this situation highlights one of the reasons I don’t really
like parental monitoring software in general.

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Net Nanny is one of the oldest parental monitoring packages around.
Apparently it’s losing market share, but there are still a lot of people using

My very first recommendation is that you visit the Net Nanny website and
search their support information. This is a fairly obvious issue, and they do
have some guidance on what you can do about it.

And, for the record, whatever package you use – if they don’t address this
type of issue to your satisfaction either in their documentation or on-line support – it’s probably
time for a new package. This is exactly the type of topic I would expect every
good vendor of this type of software to be all over.

“The fact is, kids will work
around it, no matter what you do.”


I’m not going to cover any of that here, you can read it on their site
yourself. The problem is that I don’t want to give you false hope.

And therein lies my problem with parental monitoring and filtering software:
it gives you a false sense of security. The fact is, kids will work
around it, no matter what you do.

My take on it is this: if you can trust your children, then you probably
don’t need it. If you can’t trust your children, they’re just going to
work around it anyway.

Have a peek at the search results for the very query your child used:
“disable net nanny”. The sheer volume of results in Google (186,000 as I write
this) should be eye opening. I’m sure that there are similar results for almost
any parental monitoring or filtering package. On top of that, sites like, which documents how
political dissidents in foreign countries can bypass their government’s filters,
can be used to bypass pretty much any filter including those you might put in place.

Realize also that whatever you put on your computer is fairly pointless if
they have access to others – school and library computers might be locked down
or filtered (and subject to being hacked around also), but what about the
computers at your child’s friends home? Or anywhere else, for that matter?

I don’t want to get into a debate about approaches to parenting. What I do
want to make clear is that you should not fool yourself into thinking that a
monitoring or blocking program is a total solution. If used at all, (which I
obviously do question), it needs to be part of broader approach that includes
you getting educated about the tools, technologies and sites that your child
uses, open and honest communication between your and your child, environments
that foster good behavior (such as only having computers in public places in
the home), and a realization that no mater how much we might want to protect
our children, we cannot protect them from everything.

Do this

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46 comments on “Parental Monitoring Software: My child figured out how to turn it off – what can I do?”

  1. As Leo alluded to, if you can trust your kids, no need for the software. If you can’t, you have more of a problem than computer use….
    Be a parent first, and if your child isn’t following rules, take away their use of the computer. It is a privelege, not a right…

  2. My kid got around SafeEyes time limit , by just staying on the one particular game that he was playing and it didnt time out the connection for that game, kids are amazing creatures.

  3. If you must spy on your child, another approach would be to install a good key logger, which records all the keys and mouse clicks hit. They can usually hide themselves pretty good too.

  4. Trusting your kids is not the only issue. The point is keeping these sites from even accidentally popping up. One wrong letter in a web address can have disgusting results. I use K9 and have been very happy with it. Of course, we keep our computers in central locations also – and I do trust my kids. I also trust in the fact that they will make mistakes and try to push their limits because they *are* kids.

  5. I found the “Bsafe Online” works really well. It sends me reports monthly of where my daughter or son have been. If you kill the process is also kills the internet connection. Very well designed program to help protect children that will test boundries.

  6. We have Eblaster on his computer but I get real tired of checking on it and worrying about all the drama of a teen boy. It does work nice and I recommend it for some parents. But my son’s on the computer too much, gaming, etc. He’s 17 and we don’t want to play policemen. Is there some way his computer can be disabled and not look like we did it? Maybe some sort of simple virus I could send him or?

  7. A completely undetectable keylogger would be an external one. It plugs into the pc/keyboard, and records all typed keys. It does not create a process, and thus cannot be disabled (unless your kid knows it’s there and pulls it off =p).

    Sure, there are remote control programs out there (trojans, really >>) that you can use to control their computer. Disable functionality of their mouse…close their page…crash the pc…even delete all data on the drive.

    But for a good trojan, you’d probably have to pay a considerable amount. Probably best to read up on some basic programming directed on creating malware and write your own little program.

    If you want a virtual keylogger, you can find several online. Be sure to get a trustworthy one, as many are in fact converse loggers, which will spy on you rather than your intended target =p.


    And don’t kid yourself about having nice kids. I, myself, am 14 and I masturbate almost daily looking at porn. And I’m a mostly ‘great’ kid, getting straight A’s, excelling in all Honors classes, et cetera.

    It’s nearly impossible to avoid porn on the internet. The place is TRASHED.

    My best suggestion is to talk to your children about it. You can’t stop the urges, and they’ll always find a way around you. Always.

    Try to come to them and get to an understanding before they go too far.


    Good luck and regards :),


  8. I’m 14, and my dad put Bsafe on our computer.

    Firstly, I’d like to say that if you’re an adult and you are thinking of filtering your kids’ internet access, you need to talk to them about it first. My dad brought it out of nowhere so I just decided to hack his password to it, because it is excessively strict. (I can’t even access alot of news articles.) SO before you decide to take the communist route, maybe compromise and your kid won’t be as spiteful towards you after the fact. Whether you filter things or not, your kid will still find them if he wants to see them.

  9. We have been using Bsafe for several years. It is highly effective and difficult to get around. Dylan might like to ask his dad to check the settings on Bsafe – it is very flexible and can be set up to block or not block around 20 different categories, including news and shopping. It is also possible for the administrator (i.e. the parent) to put sites on a “white list” or a “black list” as they choose. I’m all in favor of lots of communication between parents and kids about why we want to filter and what’s at stake. After all, in a few years they’ll be totally on their own making those decisions.

  10. I think its a bad idea to spy on your kids. I think doing so will only provoke a child to bypass filters and do things that are banned, just because it is banned. Like waving a red flag to a bull. I think that if parrents should try to reson with their chillderen first before using hi-tech gadgets.

  11. I’m 17 and my brother is 16 and my parents got BSafe. We all hate it. My mom only uses the internet for banking and looking at dogs. But my dad hates it. They only got it so I couldn’t go onto MySpace and Facebook. I did find a way around both for a little while until I got caught. I don’t get it. MySpace isn’t a horrible thing unless you put stupid stuff on there. You can set the profile to private and same with Facebook. So then no one can see who you are. And if you’re worried about predators well then don’t invite strangers! THAT SHOULD BE OBVIOUS!!!Plus unless you have a reason you should trust your kids. It’s just so annoying. And until I get my own connection, I have to live with it. >: {

  12. Parental monitoring software such as Bsafe and Net Nanny are only catalysts when it comes to protecting your children from “garbage” on the internet. The problem is, parents these days use computers as babysitters. Monitoring and restricting them only makes them more curious. Instead, take some time to chat with your children in a casual enviroment. Mabye even suggest they pick up a hobby, such as an instrument or something else they’re interested in.

  13. OK, those of you that say “trust your kids, don’t monitor them”… do you have teens?? if so, do they have any friends??? I have 2 teen boys and I do trust them, however through net nanny and other cybersitter I found out that a friend of theirs was feeding them porn sites. I even read a log where one of my sons was telling him to stop! Now that they are older, yes there are times when they try to get around the filter, as I would expect they would. But giving them carte blanch simply does not make sense. Would you just take your kid to the adult video store for a couple of hours? Sure, they could find a way in on their own, but how much trouble would they be willing to go through on their own to do it? Same concept.

  14. God adults are stupid. Would you rather have your kid looking at porn, or go out and have sex themselves? Use some common sense.

    Net Nanny is on a loan computer I got from my school and it wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t randomly block my own sites, and “web overrides” (wtf?). According to it, everything is a web overrides, it even blocks sites because of css style sheets and favicons!

  15. im a 14 year old boy and i enjoy having a healthy intrest in the opposite sex, i personally belive that the netnanny my mother installed is just opressive, stop being so close-minded

  16. I am a 17 year old at Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and all our computers have NetNanny when we get them. It is just stupid because we all have circumventor sites like vtunnel and stupidcensorship. Its not right to censor internet access. Thats taking away rights that everyone has. If anyone should be kept from the internet, its adults because THEY are the problem. Not the children. Adults are the ones that impersonate kids. Adults are the ones making porn sites. Adults are the cause, so why should the kids be punished? Think about it. Also, it is so EASY to hack the passwords on the censorship programs!!

  17. I’ve got to agree with you. As a child of an overprotective(yet surprisingly not much of a smart one) the easy way is to go into your computer, then to your C drive, to program files, ContentWatch, go to report.dll, the entire logging system is broken. Forever. As to the task manager way is another way to disable it, and to let you look at whatever you’d like. Also, another easy way is to trick them doing the “school” way. Install a keylogger, go to a blocked page that you need to do for school. Possibly a site for History that you need to bypass for school research, and bam, password gotten.

    The truth is, no matter of what way, you’ve just got to let your kid go. Being overprotective and installing any blocker software is only going to make it worse. Though, your child may get a laugh at how easy you are to play. Installing softwares such as these are not only going to make your relationship worse with your child, but, it also teaches your child that whatever law is enforced, they can get away from it.

  18. I am a parent of 10 and 7 year old boys and a 6 year old girl. I use net nanny because my kids go looking for innocent things on the net and i want them to be used to the internet(Wrestling and princess stuff ETC…)More often than not these searches show adverts for all kinds of sexual activity (with pictures). Now, I’m no prude, but i really dont want my “very young kids” viewing this kind of stuff. The person who called concerned parents ‘parent nazis’ is obviously an idiot who has no clue what it means to want to protect your innocent children from the various #### merchants and perverts who populate about 90% of the net.

    An parent who cares about his kids

  19. I actually want my kid to have a healthy sex life. I want my kid to grow up with a healthy attitude and an attraction towards real women, not silicone-filled sex toys with paint-by-number faces. I want my kid to find a loving, fun, healthy, normal partner and have a great, over-the-top, can’t wait to be with you, headboard bangin’ sex life. And I want what he wants for himself one day: kids. Which will be more diff to have if he’s caught a sperm killing STD, or his partner has contracted an ovary or uterus scarring STD, and it only takes one! So your parents have values and house rules and high expectations for you? Good for them. And by “healthy interest in the opposite sex” you probably mean looking at porn? There’s a big diff between what porn used to be, and the flood of mind numbing garbage that floods the internet. Too many of the teens -girls AND boys- are exploited into the sex trade. It can and does screw up how we see the opposite gender, and, besides, it just isn’t how a good sexual relationship works. Parents who monitor computer use are doing what parents should do. “Letting your kid go” doesn’t mean letting them go into a cesspit. Teen angst is old and overdone. Instead of group think, why not actually think about WHY your parents don’t want you pouring crap into your eyes and ears? Try thinking instead of whining abt having parents that love you, try thinking instead of assuming parents really, really, just wanna make your life mizzable, ’cause we just LOVE it when you’re rude and pouty and snotty, yeah that’s why we do it. Get a clue, you whiney complaining twits: we do it because we actually, really do love ya.

  20. as a response to h4x0r?, i am also a student at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School. Im currently on the school computer the school provides, they are horrible computers (Compaq nx6325) and they have the dreaded Net Nanny 5.6 that is nearly impossible to kill or disable. The only way i get around it is that I have an AOL account, and use the AOL 9.0 browser to bypass Net Nanny. That is the ONLY way i have found around it. The Net Nanny software is rediculous, it blocks nearly everything, and it has crashed my computer many times and has corrupted a bunch of files on my computer. I absolutely hate it. And, just to throw it in here, here is the password that USED to work for disabling Net Nanny in the helpdesk: “*****” It seems to no longer work on the 5.6 edition. I wish someone would find a REAL way to get rid of this software.

    [***** password removed. -Leo]

  21. I agree – you cannot protect your children, or teens 24/7. However, if my 18 yr old has a beer at someone else’s house, I have neither allowed it or condoned it. Our home has rules. Period.

    Children are exposed to way too many things, but they have to use a computer regularly for school, and enjoy games of all types (even learning games). So, we protect them the best we can. Allow what we have to. Nazi’s maybe, so be it. Children are regularly mad at parents for disallowing things. It’s the way of the world.

    The program “I am big brother” did wonders for me. What did I find? That my son had a punk friend he was no longer allowed to stay over night there, and otherwise, nothing much. The kids cussed much more than I thought to their frineds, but basically used the computer well. The pay-off, a sound mind that my children had a brain, even when they didn’t know I was watching (I did not block access to anything & I was often at work after school). And, then I uninstalled it.

    But, you know.. when drug dealers can hang out by our schools, when kids are no longer safe outside alone to play, when grown adults pretend to be kids to prey on our children, why can’t parents hang out in the computer. It’s a war to protect our kids. Do what you have to do to keep them safe and healthy.

    And, the teens on here who feel oppressed, think about the kid at school you know who’s parents are doped up or drunk, and don’t care what their kid does. Your parents love you, when you were born – they didn’t get a rule book or step by step instructions, and there’s no help menu on your forehead. It’s not easy deciding what to do, someday, you’ll really see that.

    The program for hides in the background of your computer and slows it down some. But it does not show up anywhere after you delete the install files shortcuts, and is password protected. (at least back when I used it)

  22. I used to use NetNanny for web content filtering but, found a much better solution that is FREE! K9 Web Protection ( from the folks at Blue Coat Systems, is a FREE web content filter that cannot be circumvented. It does the same thing as NetNanny but, a lot more powerful. It uses the same technology as the commercial solutions Blue Coat sells to corporations all over the world. It’s not only a great solution for blocking web sites for your kids, it’s also great for blocking malware and spyware.

  23. *Giggle* You DO realized you just told even more kids how to turn it off? You could have been more vague in the question right?

    Yep. But as the article points out – the information is already out there, and my addition is a drop in the bucket. It’s important that parents be aware what kids have access to.


  24. Try Can’t be circumvented aside from reinstalling the OS. Not only protects your kids but protects YOU from circumventing it YOURSELF. Yes, kids can go over to a friend’s house or elsewhere, but its important to let them know you care. And if you use a program that protects YOURSELF then you’re not being unfair. Trust the kids…? Did my parents trust me? Yes, but with limits. Your kids expect you to pose limits – its a sign to them that you care – and they’ll test you to find out what your REAL limits are. In our household we have limits, and one of them is no computers without limiting software. Same limit for me as for the kids. And it works. I sympathize with the kids on this site that have a hard time understanding what some of the concerned parents are saying. But what a lot of them are saying is been there, done that, and paid the price too. Often a price that we wouldn’t wish on anyone. So we’ve got a responsibility for those in our care.

  25. im a 12 year old and im additcced to the chats and everything else and i cant not take this anymore can any1 help me out !!

  26. I understand both sides stories whether its about censoring these adult content or letting children browsing all internet sites. The best way to deal with it is not blocking these sites cause they will find a way to bypass these sites or softwares. I consider almost all human beings outlaws, we love to breake the rules and disobey our orders from the moment we are born. And I admit it I am like that too. If you forbidd a child not to eat candy he will simply sneak around at night propably and eat it or at school or whatever. Just let your kids do whatever they want, but within limits. And if you discovered that they are browsing these sites these softwares will not help even if they are too young and don’t know how to hack them. They will grow up and will know how disable them. And it will be too late to undo the damages. The best way to deal with the situation is by communicating with your child about this matter.

  27. While I agree that education, guidelines, limits, etc are part of the approach you still need someting to protect against the really nasty stuff on the internet.

    My teenager being a teenager is pretty saavy and has managed get around numerous software packages that I have tried use to limit his online gameing.

    I have also found these product fairly unrealiable and cumbersome to use and with so many hacks out there for parental control software that Im at wits end. I thought Vista might be the solution but there are even instructions on how to circumvent their built in controls. After endless google searches I recently came accross this product called netblox – its a hardware device that claims to have parental contols and security features that protect all your computers with one subsrciption which sounds good as I have 3 here at home.

    I called them up to get more details and it sounds promising. No software to install or configuration on the device either. They said its all done through a secure website. They also claim that the only way to get around their controls is to uninstall the device – and then it notifies you if that happens. Not sure that is the best solution for my teenager but my younger kids wont be able to figure that out. I have yet to purchase it – has anyone used something like this?

  28. Okay people, i am a 16 year guy, i have the bsafe crap, and i dont look at that porn crap but for those people who want to, or actually want to get past their filter or anything (such as online games or even news), just download a key logger. All u have to do is download the key logger off a reliable site, set it up and hide it, get parents to type in any passwords u want to know, like the bsafe online password, yahoo password, any other etc… then look at the key log and it shows every key u have typed on the keyboard, sucessfully giving u all the users and passwords desired. If u have a crazy filter go to and u can get past and filter, go on any site you want(its a little laggy though). So whenever u get caught u just re-keylog the computer and re-get the passwords.

    I hope this Post is useful for all those typical teenagers that are deprived from their normal life by dictating, bias, communist, socialist parents, etc…(i can keep going and going).

    One more thing is that, your parents actually care for u that is why they block your life, so u are not exposed to all the crap online or in the world. But, sometimes parents go a little over the top so u rebel and get away with what u want. So it doesnt matter anyway, someday u will thank your parents for how bad or good they were.

    i know this post is controversial but try to get the most out of best sides.

    best of luck,

  29. I’m 16 and have Net Nanny on my home computer, and while I wouldn’t really mind having monitoring software on my computer (I don’t look at anything that my parents would find questionable, so what does it matter?) my problem with it is that its filters are really very poorly thought-out. First, it blocks secure content (https). While there may be people who use https sites to bypass filters, for me, it’s how I secure my email. Consequently, when I use a browser other than Firefox or the dreaded IE, Net Nanny blocks my access to my email account. Which is, to say the least, annoying.

    Also, I have reason to believe that whatever method they use to scan the page you’re trying to access is seriously flawed. I’ve had sites give me a warning and when I went to look at the page, it was totally clean. Not even the ads were objectionable. I’ve been to my school website and had it blocked. I’m sure blocking 50% of the entire Internet is a great way to make your kids stay safe, but that’s just ridiculous when you think about it.

    I’m not even interested in killing the application or finding out my dad’s password. I’d just really love to be able to check my email in Opera or Chrome.

  30. As long as I have access to the beginning point and end point I can bypass any filter. I can fool web blockers by using secure proxies. I can run programs in a virtual machine away from the eyes of the spyware (and by that I mean your parental controls which act exactly like spyware does).

  31. If you want to disable net nanny youll have to get the cd keys for the software that you installed before installing net nanny then restore your computer to before you installed that software then reinstall that software and type in the cd keyand you have that software and you have disabled net nanny until you undo this restore operation. Now if youre a kid i am too.i have done this and i was about 00.01% away from getting my computer taken away so if you know youre safe enough that youre parents wont take your computer away, go for it. i tried it on xp home so if it works for you rate me 5 stars please.

  32. One effective way of monitoring our kids internet activity is installing a parental control software to block all unwanted sites. There are a lot of free softwares available out there and one of them can be found on TUKI (The Ultimate Kids’ Internet).

  33. I’m 14… I consider myself too smart for parental controls! First of all, I have Linux on my home computer, and both of my laptops. This alone is too much for my parents. BUT I also have the hard drives encrypted. I have set up a splitter on my network to isolate my computers from my parents. They can’t monitor my traffic (nor can anybody, really) and certainly can’t filter it.

    That’s just how it is. These days, kids are too smart for parental controls. We’re gonna find a way around it… whether it be a separate operating system or a program that cancels out the filter… like Tor.

    Parental Controls are useless. :)

  34. Hi everybody,

    for those parents that have too smart kids, here my advice for you:

    If you use Wolfeye Keylogger, you have the possibility to give the executable the name you want (for example svchost.exe). That way the program will run in the task Manager under svchost.exe. Or give it another name that is not suspecious to your kids.

    You will have the most important features in Wolfeye Keylogger Software: Kestroke Recording, Recording of every Website visited, all Passwords and Chat conversations, Webcam spy, Screenshots. And all data can be delivered to your email so you dont need access to the choldrens pc twice :)

    So google for Wolfeye Keylogger and try it!


  35. I will ALWAYS be a bigger geek than my kids (until I’m dead at least). Anything short of a full slick/reload is futile.

    Parents, you can lock the bios, administrator, hard drives. You can disable task manager for user accounts so they can’t shut down certain processes. Don’t use the same password for everything. Make passwords extremely difficult with multiple caps and special characters.

    Of course, you can’t stop what they do when they are outside your house, but if you’re that concerned then there may be bigger issues…..

  36. Leo I came here looking for help, but I’m absolutely shocked that even the teenagers came on and explained how they trick their parents. Now I’m almost convinced you’re right in your opinion about Parental Monitoring.

  37. To the computer savvy teenagers with bloated egos and disrespectful attitudes. As inadequate and old fashioned as your parents may they seem, it’s only thanks to them and their hard work that you can eat, sleep, and have a place to live in.

    Parents may not know the best way to make of you the best human being they dreamed of, but they try and instinctively look for ways to keep the crap of this world out of your brains.

    Yet, you’re defiant and think you’re all that because you know your way around computers and can’t be stopped ….. from filling your mind with CRAP.

    I pity you, you don’t know it, but you’re losing out.

  38. (I’m not a teenager.)

    Don’t use it. Out of curiosity, I’ve done some research and apparently it blocks fairly innocent things, such as msn and tvtropes. It will only cause frustration. Isn’t there some sort of porn filter you can use instead? Also, what the writer of the article said about trust is correct.

  39. It’s a modern-day rite of passage; much as we wouldn’t like our teens to look at p0rn, they do.
    I’m 25, and my only real access to porn was via trading mags in uni with friends [physical format] – you can’t avoid it intoday’s society.

    Better to realize that when they’re 18+ it’s a moot point as to monitor their usage.

  40. Plain and simple. I’m an IT Information Assurance Specalist and my kid will NEVER break my parental controls. Shame for her…

    10 Steps to secure a PC from your Kids…

    1. Get Squid Proxy Server.
    2. Install Squid on your OWN PC.
    3. Bridge your kids network connection from her PC to your Own PC. Sometimes this can be complicated, depending on your home network setup. You could always put Squid Proxy on another PC on the network LAN and configure your router to forward requests from your Kids PC to Squid before leaving the network.
    4. Setup a whitelist (a whitelist is a DENY ALL except SITE list…contrary to a blacklist which is ACCEPT ALL deny SITE) on the Squid Proxy server.
    5. Setup Remote logging service on the kids PC and have it save logs on your PC. I believe (but I could be wrong) that Windows 7 has this built in but you can also google some free software to do it as well.
    6. Disable the Administrator and Guest account on your kids PC. Make a new Administrator account with a discreet name like “Testing” or “Service”.
    7. Install Antivirus on the PC to prevent keyloggers and other trojans.
    8. Install “DeepFreeze” on the kids PC after it’s all setup. This freezes configuration of the PC (like at Internet Cafe’s that let you do anything on it) so that when you reboot it, everything is erased (except for say, your kids documents folder) and restored to the original configuration. This will frustrate your kids beyond comprehension because everytime they change something, they’ll have to change it again upon reboot.
    9. Setup a scheduling service to reboot the PC at 3am every night. This is to keep the PC constantly refreshed so any changes your sneaky kids do are undone.
    10. Monitor your kids randomly when using it. Kids are devious and even this isn’t FULL PROOF but it’s damn close.

  41. No, kids can’t get around anything. First, I’m a former IBM-er and did grad work in Computer Science (among other topics). Kids can use proxy servers like through peacefire, etc. But simply setting up and updating a bios password keeps them off the computer. Or just taking away the modem works, too.
    I simply don’t allow them to have computer time. If they go to sites I disallow, I’ll see it. Then I tell them they can go to the library to use the computer. I also confiscate cell phones. Social life means actually MEETING people, not Facebook.

    Plato seemed to have gotten through his works without a computer. “Google” (which spies on you) is no replacement for what’s on a library shelf.

    Teachers who insist that kids “need” to have computer access are preaching a lot of garbage. Abraham Lincoln walked five miles in the snow to the library.. and was arguably more articulate than any politician or president alive today.


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