A New Dad’s Perplexed Ramblings on Internet Security

I recently had the pleasure of becoming a new father, complete with all the joys of sleepless nights, diaper changing, and the almost-complete loss of personal time. One thing I’ve learned since we got the good news is that you will never stop worrying about your children, no matter what age, and no matter where they are.

As a security professional, I am dreading what is going to happen when my child starts peeling back the proverbial onion that is the Internet. In the past, I always had a very strong stance on how I would monitor my children’s activity on the Internet, and it was to monitor everything. I wanted email alerts for keywords, URL filtering with daily reports, and emails of chat logs each night. That would be a good start, right? 

Since looking into the adoring eyes of my first child, however, I have had to ask myself some morality questions. How do you know when you’re going too far?  When do these protections change from monitoring into spying? Will all of these protections affect my child negatively instead of positively in the end?  Will I be using my child’s future education funds to maintain all these protections?

These questions (and many others) have caused me to look at how businesses handle the same issues and whether their solutions can translate to the home front.  No, I’m not talking about writing a security policy for usage of family computers and the Internet.  The best proactive deterrent in business is education.  Educate your staff (my children in this case) about the dangers of the Internet, appropriate surfing, what to look out for, and what to do if you think something bad has happened.  Without education, we really are just letting ourselves bang our heads against the wall of overprotection, and – let’s face it – that hurts our heads and our wallets!  All of this being said, there is still a time and a place for a little additional protection to ensure that some of our more deviant staff (or teenagers) are kept in check.  

Speaking of teenagers, does anyone have a manual?

Finding yourself in the same predicament? Check out our post on Child Safety Resources Online.

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