Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail Internet
Some email providers allow parental controls, that is, a way to monitor a child's use of email. Gmail, however, does not. Here's one way to monitor the amount of time your child spends on Gmail. First, if you have not already done so, create a Gmail account of your own. In iChat preferences under accounts, create a Gmail jabber account -- Google provides more detailed instructions about this on their site.

Then, make sure that chat is turned on on your child's Gmail account. This is easy to do, as the button is located at the bottom of the Gmail inbox page. Make sure that your child does not disable chat, obviously. Then, make your child a buddy who appears in your buddy list. iChat will now show when they log in and out of Gmail, so long as you keep iChat open.

You can even make a customized sound to alert you when they log in. You can make note of the time when they log in, or start a chat with them, and iChat will automatically note the exact time. This can be used to know exactly how long your child spends on their Gmail account.

[robg adds: While this isn't an ideal solution -- you have to be at your own machine with iChat running, for one -- it does provide at least some level of knowledge about someone else's Gmail usage. There is, of course, a much larger question about how to best monitor and control your children's computer usage in general ... and that's one question I'm not looking forward to facing in a couple of years!]
    •    
  • Currently 2.50 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (8 votes cast)
 
[18,312 views]  

One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail | 12 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail
Authored by: frgough on May 28, '08 08:23:07AM

A better way is to simply include their gmail account in your own lists of email accounts and monitor their email and notify them you are doing so. If they have a problem with it, clarify for them the definition of child and parent. If they are teenagers, explain to them that in the real world, trust is earned.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail
Authored by: FiaLisa on May 28, '08 10:14:57AM

"If they are teenagers, explain to them that in the real world, trust is earned."

Then watch them get their own account, and understand that real world rules apply to parents too. Then be prepared for some hard work as you try to regain the trust of a person whose privacy you denied.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail
Authored by: coolsoldier on May 28, '08 10:34:51AM

This really only works until your children figure out that they can change the password (or create a second account, or make their evil plans by instant message, etc., etc.). If your children are teenagers and it's lost on them that, in the "real world," email privacy is *not* an earned privilege, then you just have dumb children.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail
Authored by: leamanc on May 28, '08 07:59:45PM

One would have to set an Open Firmware password to fully lock down an OS X machine. Even then, that password can be defeated by taking out a stick of RAM. So unless you're using a tower that can take a padlock to keep the case from being opened, any reasonably bright adolescent/teenager can find a way around parental controls.

Physical access=full access.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail
Authored by: xoc on Jun 07, '08 03:27:33PM

I'm not a child by any stretch of the imagination, but I've got to say that not only will parental attempts at lock-down control always be defeated, they will also diminish your child's respect for you and make them more distant. I understand the impulse to protect them, but its the wrong way to go about it. A parent's job is to prepare children for the world, not prevent them from experiencing it. Children understand this, which is why their curiosity and ingenuity will trump your attempts at control every time. If you think you have been successful, that is only because that is what they want you to think. If you love you children, don't make them feel bad for following their natural curiosity.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail
Authored by: roser1832 on Dec 18, '12 07:32:54PM

I am searching a solution to monitor my child's gmail.
But there is some shortcoming with this method to monitor child's gmail. If you have a better solution?



[ Reply to This | # ]
One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail
Authored by: ckilner on May 28, '08 10:48:42AM

My kids are 8 and 12 - I have parental controls turned on and have enabled screen sharing on their Macs so that I can see what they are doing - whether they are using Gmail, yahoo mail, etc. I've explained this to them and that the parental controls are logging where they go online (when I'm not home)... so far, they haven't tried anything - a VNC server and client can do the same thing on any other machine/OS.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail
Authored by: J172 on Jun 02, '08 05:42:04AM

Right, how young are we talking here? I mean I'm 17 and have had a gmail account since I was 14. I, nor anyone else I know with Gmail ever uses Gmail's chat...we just dont. We use things like AIM, MySpaceIM, etc (Or in my case, Adium). The main reason being most of the email at about 13 and on, until you're about 17 and 18 is related to myspace, facebook, hi5 and the like. Plus, if your kid knows why you want chat on..Guess what? It'll go right back off and without the password, what are you really going to do? Ground them until they tell you? They have computers at school, and if they're smart they'll make a new one and sign into the one you watch to humor you... I mean be practical...use the built in Parental controls to control the time on the computer and not on an email site when they're going to sign on, check the email and leave it open or close it as they chat with people they don't even know on MySpace.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail
Authored by: J172 on Jun 02, '08 05:46:06AM

One more note: If they're teenagers, they have friends that can likely help them bypass parental controls. I mean I've helped so many of my friends screw with their parents accounts, but I was young and naive :p. But really, Parental controls don't do enough...there are proxies that can easily be accessed at school and most schools dont block Gmail because teachers use it.. the internet is everywhere and being blocked at home (and maybe on the cell phone) isn't enough anymore. There is really nothing practical to be done anymore.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail
Authored by: robogobo on Jun 02, '08 03:56:10PM

My firstborn is only 4 months old now, so I'm paying attention to the varied theories/strategies I hear regarding monitoring, controlling, etc. I have a few ideas, but the best one so far is to keep my kid(s) off the computer for as long as possible, and in the dirt, books, and other physical real world (please save the relativities here) activities for as long as possible. I am nearly a computer-addict, and therefore know the good and the bad. I go from thinking the computer is the greatest good to the worst evil and back many times a week. So, what it comes down to is this: I'll teach my kids the best I can about the good AND the bad, just as I would with anything, and then trust that they'll do what's right, because I can't see and control everything, no matter how hard I try. Keep my eyes open, but don't push too hard or they may react even harder.

How's that sound?



[ Reply to This | # ]
One way to monitor a child's use of Gmail
Authored by: J172 on Jun 05, '08 12:14:35PM

Sounds great, but with more and more daycares, preschools, and kindergarten classes integrating computers into their activities....its not long at all. Computers are definitely part of the future and won't go away. The more time goes by the younger the exposure to technology will begin..



[ Reply to This | # ]
why do you need to monitor at all?
Authored by: Keakealani on Jun 07, '08 01:40:12PM

Maybe it's because I'm still a kid, but I never really understood why parents want to know how much time their children are spending on a website, assuming it's not porn or something illicit - what will that really tell you about their internet usage habit, that they're checking email? Besides, with all the desktop mail clients, this seems ridiculously easy to get around...



[ Reply to This | # ]