9 Tips for Setting Up a Multi-user Family Computer

by on 09/06/2010 in Security, Security Info & Tips

Computer SecurityWhen setting up the family computer, there are many considerations to take into account. You want every person to have the best experience possible while not wasting their time or jeopardizing their safety. You also want to make sure that each person is productive while using this valuable resource. Here are thoughts on setting up your family’s computer.

1. Placement: You want to make sure that the computer will be set up in a secluded yet public area. This will allow you to keep an eye on your child’s activities and bond over experiences that they may be having. Put the computer in the living room or a little used area of the dining room.

2. Leave yourself room: You want to have enough space for your computer. Make sure that there is enough room for all of the cables and accessories like the printer and monitor. Nobody wants to be working in a tiny, cramped space. If there are small children in the house, leave enough room so that the computer is not damaged.

3. Create separate profiles: Every member of the household should have a separate log in. Create a separate username and password for each person as well as creating an administrator profile which is separate from your own user profile. Different profiles allow you to customize the computing experience for each child. They can change the wallpaper, save their favorites in the browser and be safe while surfing. You can examine surfing habits with the separate administrator password.

4. Give the homework priority: Work takes precedence. If one of the children needs to do their homework and study, that child should take priority over everyone. Research and papers are more important than video games and music.

5. Time limits: There is a lot you can do on the internet. You and your kids can get distracted with video games, music and general surfing. Set fair schedules and time limits for each person in the household to eliminate arguments. Exceptions can be made with everyone’s agreement.

6. Antivirus: Viruses, malware and spyware can prey upon your family’s machine. Even the most careful of clicking can lead to devastating effects. As a matter of course, you should install free antivirus software like Avast or Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on your computer to keep it protected from vulnerabilities and exploits.

7. Install internet blockers: There are some things on the internet that your children do not need to see. Install an internet blocker like Netnanny [$39.99, PC, Mac] or Cybersitter [$24.95, PC] to filter out pornographic and violent sites. These programs will let you see what your children are doing as well as protect them from the Internets dangers.

8. Block Strangers: Everyone in the family needs to be protected from internet predators. Set your instant messaging clients to block strangers from talking with you and your children. Keep them safe by letting them talk with people they know.

9. Communicate: Have a family meeting to tell everyone the rules of using the family computer. Let them know about the measures that you are taking to keep them safe as well as solicit their suggestions on making the usage fair for everyone. A plan runs more smoothly with everyone’s input.

There are many needs that the family computer meets. You can have your decompression time. Kids can study and do their homework. Teenagers can keep up with their friends and download music. With a little planning, you can meet everyone’s needs.

James Adams is a full time blogger who writes on the topics of advertising, art and design at one of the UK’s leading toner cartridges stores. Much of his time is spent writing reviews of hardware such as the HP 350XL, but posting on their blog is what he enjoys most!

James Adams writes about technology at one of the UK’s leading online toner cartridges stores. He spends his days writing reviews of new hardware such as the CB540A. When he has enough free time, he particularly enjoys posting about art and advertising on their design blog.

4 Responses to “9 Tips for Setting Up a Multi-user Family Computer”

  1. C'est La Mode

    Sep 7th, 2010

    Thanks for these practical tips shared. They are a lot of advantage to every family out there. I highly recommend these to people who are up to one’s safety and best experience.

  2. Don

    Sep 9th, 2010

    Great tips, and information here! And in regards to anti virus Avast is a good free one, also Avira Personel. Malwarebytes is about the best scanning detection program out there, and free to! Ad yes, a good filtering program for the kids safety to! Good stuff here! Thanx!

  3. Spanish Lessons

    Sep 13th, 2010

    It’s very important to make separete accounts for your children. As the grow up, they will demand some privacy, however you, as administrator wil have access to the info of all the accounts.

  4. Lyndsey

    Sep 19th, 2010

    I would add another recommendation – the computer needs to be located somewhere where you can pull two or more chairs up to it. It is important that the computer becomes a means of facilitating discussion and joint exploration of the online world, not a way of preventing families spending time together.