General Question

DominicX's avatar

What is or what would be your policy regarding your kids and computer usage?

Asked by DominicX (28792points) June 11th, 2009

This is a very broad question. Let me try and narrow it down to a few things. Assume I’m talking about kids of any age. I’m asking, would you restrict usage? Would you give them their own computer? Would you have to know all their passwords and everything?

My situation: I got my own computer at around 11 or so. Before that, I had a computer in a common playroom. I shared it with my siblings. My parents know none of my passwords and they don’t restrict my usage and they never have. My parents were restricting my brother’s usage a while back when he was slacking off on his homework. But as that is not a problem with me and I don’t sit around all day, it’s not necessary for me.

So, tell me about it. By the way, I was Dansedescygnes, for those of you who haven’t figured it out yet. :P

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43 Answers

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I’d let my kid have their own computer but usage would be dependent on maintaining grades and positive people interactions. There would be restrictions as far as any gaming goes. Once an adult and out on their own, my kid can go on and become a gamer, homespud, whatever but not until I’ve exhausted all efforts for them to experience as many IRL activities as I can expose them and offer opportunity to.

DominicX's avatar


That’s pretty much word for word what I think I would do.

Blondesjon's avatar

I allow my children full access to the computer provided they give me all of their passwords and sites they frequent so that I can pop in and take a look every once and awhile.

Do I think they are giving me full disclosure? Probably not.

But I think that it’s pretty close. They also know my passwords as well.

Bri_L's avatar

@Blondesjon – I know your sites and passwords to and I wouldn’t give them to my kids if I were you.

DominicX's avatar

I guess I don’t really have too much reason for being opposed to letting my parents know my passwords. One, I wouldn’t want them to read any of the stories that I write. Those are private and for my eyes only. But they wouldn’t do that in the first place. As for what I do on the internet, my parents have seen my Facebook page before and I’ve described some of the sites I go to (like this one) but I wouldn’t want them visiting those sites; that would kill it for me. But again, they wouldn’t want to do that.

Other than that, my parents know that I use limewire and torrents sometimes to get music. So does my dad. He’s a tech junkie so he knows all about the tricks. And if I have a problem with my computer, I will gladly ask my dad to fix it, which means he’ll have full access to my computer.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Bri_L . . .been missin’ ya man. welcome back :)

casheroo's avatar

We always had a family computer, and I didn’t really use the computer a lot until I was 17. My parents never really restricted my use, because it never affected with schoolwork.

God only knows what sort of technology we’ll have when my kid is a teen, I can’t even keep up with anything now.
I know my husband and I have talked about tvs, and we won’t allow them in the children’s bedrooms. I don’t believe they need a computer for themselves either, if they have school work, they can use the family PC. I see buying them their own laptop as a high school graduation present sort of thing.

Usage wise, depending on the age, we’ll limit how long they can be on. I’d prefer they be outside playing with friends, or sports, or something with school. I don’t remember when I was a kid ever running inside to use the computer, my parents had to drag me into the house.. I mean, if he’s really into coding or something, then of course we’d encourage that.

Bri_L's avatar

@Blondesjon – thanks bud. I thought a hello jibe might be appropriate. Incidentally I only just now understood how yours and your wife’s screen names worked.

DominicX's avatar


Yeah, TV. Forgot about that. I could’ve included that as part of this question. I have a TV in my room (again, since I was about 11) and of course, a computer can be a TV if you want it to be. :P

casheroo's avatar

@DominicX Do you hang out in your bedroom a lot?

DominicX's avatar


Yeah, I spend ample time here. (I’m here right now and it’s where I do most of my music listening, computer using, and TV watching. And sleeping, napping, and phone using). Now, if I want to watch a movie with the best home theater effect, I’ll go into the parlor-area on the second floor and watch it there. I also come down to the living room, family room, and kitchen a lot. And sometimes I’ll spend time in my brother’s or sister’s room. I don’t stay in one place for too long; I’m always in and out, but most of my time is spent in my bedroom, yeah. It’s my home inside my home. I have my own bathroom too (just the way the house is) so that provides for maximum convenience.

Ivan's avatar

The only way I would restrict computer usage to my potential children would be if it were apparent that they were in danger from predators on the Internet. The Internet is far more capable of enlightening and making a child more worldly than having him/her run around in a park all day like it’s 1957.

Bri_L's avatar

My kids will NEVER have a TV in their room.

My kids are 4 and 6. I let them use it to play games for 1/2 hour or so at a crack. (usually longer because I know it takes a while to get into the zone). On line they go to They understands he shouldn’t browse out of there and I trust him not to.

As they get older I will have a computer rebuilt for each of them. Then put something like slife on it and work with them. I don’t want to put the computers in their rooms because I don’t like the idea of all that time away from the family, but they will probably end up being there.

DominicX's avatar


lol…well, I think that exercise is very important to a child and I would want my kids to have a balance of that in their lives. But, I do agree that the internet can be used in ways that are enlightening. Let’s face it, I’ve been coming to forums like this one since 2006 and there are many topics I never would’ve been interested in, never would’ve discussed if it hadn’t been for the internet. I talk to people in other countries for crying out loud; I talk to people twice my age about issues and events and topics of interest. I find it to be extremely beneficial. I know that none of my friends do this and I feel like I know so much more than they do because of this. And I’m kind of an extrovert, so I hang out plenty and go outside frequently. It just depends on the way you use it.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Should I have kids, I’m savvy enough with technology to monitor where they are going on the net. Oh yeah, I will be spying on my kid’s internet habits.

Secondly, there will be my computer which only me and his mom use and there will be a family computer in a common area. There will be no computer in his/her room.

DominicX's avatar

For those of you opposed to computers in the kids rooms: what happens when they get older and have to start writing research papers with the computers? It may be fine if you have one kid, but what if you have more? Now, that never would’ve worked with me because my parents have 4 kids all close in age and we all had many assignments that need to be typed and some of us take longer. I never would’ve gotten my homework done if I had had to share a computer. But I’m just curious, how would you make that work?

Ivan's avatar


If I thought that my child’s computer usage was a detriment to his health, I would discuss it with him and encourage him to exercise more. But it’s not like I’m going to force him to run on a treadmill with a whip or something.

Also, privacy is very important for a child. As the child grew older, it would become increasingly apparent that the he/she would need her own computer in their bedroom. This would especially be true if there were more than one child.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

If I were to have multiple kids and a PC in their room was the only solution, I’ll be able to monitor their browsing habits remotely.

I don’t care if they have friends on facebook or whatever, but I’ll know which websites they’re going to.

I think it’s irresponsible to let children cruise on the internet unsupervised considering the levels of depravity on the web.

DominicX's avatar


Well, I don’t think my parents are “irresponsible”. (Yes, I found that offensive). My parents are excellent parents and far from irresponsible. I’m not stupid. I know what to do and what not to do. Believe me, I’ve had more than enough of my share of internet safety lectures…

Ivan's avatar

Goatse and 4chan are not going to turn your child into a axe murdering rapist.

casheroo's avatar

I have an older brother, and we only had one computer…we did just fine with it when it came to school work. Oh, and there’s this thing called a library ;)
I’m sure my husband and I will always have our own laptop. If they really need it, they can use it for school, but not for surfing the net.
like @Bri_L I don’t want it in their room to take away from family time, and I don’t like the idea of them secluded off like that. I don’t think it’s healthy. I mean, I spent quite a lot of time in my bedroom, but I would be reading or listening to music on a cd player.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I still have a say in what I want my children looking at. If they want to move out at 18 and look at goatse that’s their decision. Until then, I’m responsible for their browsing habits and will do what I feel is best for them. This is where I get conservative.

DominicX's avatar


I listen to all my music on my computer. lol

Ivan's avatar

Yes, you most certainly do have a say in what you want your children looking at. But again, there is a difference between what you have the authority to do and what you should do.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Pardon me if I decide what I should do. I’m a free thinker like that.

Ivan's avatar

Perhaps you should award your children the same luxury.

YARNLADY's avatar

We’ve pretty much always had a computer room, with several computers and game systems in it. Hubby started out in the computer industry over 35 years ago, and we had one of the first 1,000 Apple computers, along with a Comodore, and several other early sets.

Computer use was always based on earning it, through school work and household chores. I’ve never had any reason to be concerned with their use, because sons and grandsons alike are very trustworthy.

WifeOfBath's avatar

My children will only use the Internet under my supervision, as I have had and seen many online people with many accounts with devious and underhand motives. I have learnt to observe online and I am now very reluctant to make online friends in fear of being deceived again or have my email hacked like before.

Being creative and using programs on the computer they are aloud to use but it is a computer not connected to the Internet.
But the programs are fairly new and very informative.

Children and young adults are still very vulnerable to the real world out there. And they should be made aware of the dangerous of the Internet and examples should be shown to them of how easy these predators target them.

Aethelwine's avatar

If the kids need to use the computer they go to the library or use the one that is in full view of the family. wtf? really? Since when is it a necessity to have a computer in the bedroom?

If they need the computer for school work, they use it in full view of the parents. Since when is it a right of the child to have a computer in the bedroom?

dynamicduo's avatar

I would give my children their own laptops, possibly OLPCs, and let them use them as they want. This includes going into their own rooms with it. I would rather my children become smart and aware and maybe even learn to troll the predators rather than shelter them and protect them from ever encountering a skeevy net folk, cause they WILL eventually encounter one whether it’s at school or at a friend’s place or wherever and I’d rather they be prepared versus not.

I had my own computer (an old beater, but still mine) from a young age in my room. Not sure if that first one had internet or not, but the second old beater sure did. It’s what helped me to become a great web developer. I wouldn’t dream of depriving my child of the ability to do so, or the ability to read Wikipedia at their leisure, or to tinker around with 3D modeling, or playing games or talking to friends etc. As their parent, I would retain the right to monitor the traffic at the router level, but I would make sure my children knew this and I doubt I would actually look unless I had a reason to suspect something.

DominicX's avatar


I think that sounds really cool.

If my parents found out the kinds of things people have said to me on the internet, they’d probably freak out. Even some of the things people have said to me on this site would no doubt make them angry. But I am able to deal with it on my own. I don’t need my parents looking over my shoulder and watching my every move. I read Wikipedia at my leisure, thank you very much.


It’s not a necessity. I never said that; I’m not sure if anyone else did. But there is nothing wrong with having one in their bedroom and I don’t think my parents are “irresponsible” for letting me use my computer and the internet whenever I want without any supervision. I can handle things myself; I’m not a moron. Maybe when I was a younger child, it was different, but I didn’t really start surfing the net until I was a teenager and I didn’t get my own computer until I was 11.

Bri_L's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic – How are you preparing your children to decide what they should do when they leave?

Under the best circumstances, while surfing the web, you run into unwanted browser pops and windows, be they business ads or worse. Or, at least, don’t you think your creating a situation where they are going to run like hell to explore all that which they have been denied?

I am not suggesting you bring them to porn sites at 12 or 15. I don’t think you should show them how to download illegal copies of songs or programs. I think you should have rules about age appropriate chat rooms, etc.

I just think that I made good choices away from home because I was give the chance to make bad ones at home.

hearkat's avatar

My son recently turned 18. I did not allow him to have a TV in his room until he was 13 and he had to pay for the set with his own money. I ran the cable from my room into his, so if/when he misbehaved, the cable was disconnected.

The computer was originally in my room, and I always knew his passwords and I logged his activity and had a Parental Control program on it. I also logged all his AIM chats… which I’ve discussed on other posts about a child’s privacy ‘rights’.

I only looked at his chats on occasion, and I did not punish him for what I read on there, but I used it to open a dialog between us about the issues at hand. Once he was 14 and I let him have a computer in his room, I didn’t restrict access. When I did find a porn site in the history, I discussed it with him; especially how he should never expect any of the girls he knows to behave that way or to do anything that they do not want to do.

Bri_L's avatar

@hearkat – Good solutions!

Aethelwine's avatar

@DominicX I know that you never said that it was a necessity to have one in your room. When you mentioned that you would never have gotten your homework done because your siblings needed the computer also, that’s what I take issue with. Not you personally but school work in general. Only recently did my husband and I buy a computer. My sons are 15 and 17 and have had to walk up to the local library to do school work. They managed just fine. I find that it is a necessity to have a computer at home for school work and it’s not fair to the families that cannot afford it. This is my problem. I also feel that children will end up stuck in their bedrooms with all of these electronics and not get outside. That is why I feel that a child should not have a computer in their room. It’s wonderful that it has worked for you. :)

DominicX's avatar


My high school was a school where some of the kids lived in tiny houses with a bunch of people. Where plenty of them were poor. There are rumors that a couple students may have been homeless during periods of time. I live in a big city, so going to the library is difficult, especially if you live far from it or don’t have a car. Walking to a library in a big city can be dangerous in general. But the people at my school do all they can to make the computers at school accessible and they often give these students lower-cost computers if they need them. I know a girl from a really poor family who won a brand new computer.

And as for children getting stuck in their bedrooms, it just varies from kid to kid. Like you said, it worked for me; I myself am athletic and healthy and don’t need any extra consideration. But I know kids who do seem to have a problem with too much computer and video game usage.

wundayatta's avatar

I think the rules for life and children’s upbringing are the same, no matter what media they occur in. I want to teach them to be safe. How to trust but verify. How not to get in trouble. Like all people, my children have private thoughts and I don’t want to intrude on their private lives. I just want to make sure they are safe, and not in danger of getting hurt badly (I assume some pain will always happen).

Our daughter, 13, spends a lot of time on the computer, chatting with her friends. She has a facebook site, and I am her friend. Sometimes she puts up cryptic comments about things bothering her, but she doesn’t say specifically what they are. She seems pretty happy at home, and she seems pretty together, so I’m happy with that. I believe she knows that we are always there to support and help her if she gets in trouble. She won’t want to rely on us, but she will if she can’t handle it on her own.

Mariah's avatar

My computer useage experience has been almost identical to yours, and I’m quite happy with it. I don’t think a lot of freedom for computer useage is dangerous or inhibiting or anything, depending on the kid. I guess I’d step in if my kid spent all his time doing mindless video games on the computer. But, if the kid’s anything like me, allowing for a lot of privacy and freedom on the computer actually should promote growth of creativity and intellect. I try to use the computer for activities that are actually mentally stimulating more than for mindless entertainment. If my parents were watching over my shoulder all the time, I certainly wouldn’t do much writing or debating on here like I do, so I appreciate the freedom. But, like I said, not every kid will spend his time doing worthwhile things, and I’d probably restrict my kid’s computer useage if he was completely wasting his life on mind-numbing crap.

jamielynn2328's avatar

My children are younger at six and eight, but I do allow them to spend one hour a day on the computer. Since it is in a common area, I can observe what they are doing. They just go to their favorite sites and play games at this point. As they get older, I know that I will monitor their computer use, require passwords to accounts and educate them on the dangers of the internet.

Val123's avatar

@DominicX Not happening. If they need to do research then they can go to the library.

DominicX's avatar

Luckily my dad builds his own computers and knows everything there is to know about them (except maybe mastery of Facebook). I think that’s part of the reason why I’ve had a computer in my room from an early age and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

And wait a minute…isn’t this the very first question I asked with this user name? I think it is…

superjuicebox's avatar

My parents used Learn then Play on our computers. They took it off of mine when i turned 18 but for my younger siblings they still use it. For my 10 year old sister, it controls everything she does on the PC. It makes sure she doesn’t go onto any offensive websites with its heuristic content scanning engine, they can watch what she is doing from work from the parent portal on the ltp website, it makes sure they can only go on at allowed times ( which windows can also do but you can break the windows one in the bios i tried with learn then play and it checks what time it is online so it’ll still kick you off ) and it even makes sure we did our homework. I think its a great product, and any parent with children and a PC should definitely have it. Its also cool that its completely free. If you want to check it out you can at

superjuicebox's avatar

- I also forgot to mention stealth mode which they use on my 16 year old brother. With stealth mode, the software does not restrict any websites or any content, it doesn’t shut down i.m.s for offensive content either, instead it tracks everything the child is doing( which it does in the normal mode too) but the child doesn’t know. The program logs i.m. activity, internet activity, what software or games were opened. To put it simply, if they do anything on the PC you’ll know and in stealth mode they won’t know that you know.

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