How to Childproof Computer
It’s easier than you think to keep kids away from your files
You have only one computer in your family? And you want to childproof computer? Sharing the home computer with your brood seems like a good idea, both financially and familiarly – until your seven-year-old deletes an important business report from your hard disk. A solid hardware solution to kid intervention may be a hard disk partitioning.
Disk partitioning allows you to divide a single hard disk into several drives, assigning one to kids, the other to adults. If you’re a computer whiz, you have probably tried this already. Otherwise, you’re best off taking your computer to a good service store. When kids boot up the computer, they are automatically routed into the drive assigned to them. Password protection prevents them from accessing the adult’s space.
If you decide on this option, just make sure that you have a hard drive that is large enough to divide, leaving you enough hard disk space to run powerful applications, while still providing kids with enough power to run games. If not, this solution may compromise functionality.
You may also buy two external hard drives, for true division – one for parents and one for kids, this is still cheaper than two computers.
Piece of advice from the past (in the early 1990s):
Software solutions to childproof your computer: Give your kids their own desktop software. Kid Desk from Edmark is a graphical interface – computerese for what appears on your computer screen after you turn it on – that looks like a child’s desk. Like the Microsoft Windows or Macintosh desktop, Kid Desk displays icons for those applications that your children use, and identifies parents’ territory with a single icon, which is password protected. If parents want to access their own applications from Kid Desk, they simply click on the Adult icon, type in their secret code, and return to their own desktop interface. Launch Pad, Berkeley System, works in the same way, but kids are given the option of selecting one of several desktop wallpaper designs: a spaceship, dinosaurs, a castle, a unicorn, or a creepy old haunted house. If you have a multimedia PC, Launch Pad runs neat features for kids, such as a talking clock and calculator, as well as a mini-recording studio that lets children record.
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Children playing. Illustration: Megan Jorgensen
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