Private MAC Addresses v.s. Parental Sanity

Piyono

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My sister is trying to maintain control over her kids' internet time.
When all devices used a single MAC address it was fairly simple to block an individual device on the fly.
But now that all phones have inbuilt MAC address spoofing, managing access has become a lot trickier.

I've proposed solutions. None of them are great:

1. Whitelist hardware MAC addresses and turn off Private WiFi or equivalent setting on device in order to connect.
2. Separate kids' and parents' SSIDs.
3. Separate SSID for each kid.

How are others managing this scenario?
 
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ddrueding

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I was considering separate SSIDs, but decided against it. Not for technical reasons, but parenting reasons.

Something something technical solutions to social problems have more negative consequences than they're worth something something.
 

Mercutio

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Disney has a thing called Circle that gives parents decent control over screen time. It's $10/month, but I'm told it's very flexible.

I'd probably segregate everything on distinct SSIDs and then enforce connectivity limits with a combination of a proxy server and more restrictive DNS, if someone really wanted me to do that. I'd probably also have to start futzing around with an authentication server to figure out which VLAN to put wired systems on at login.

I suppose the greater issue with someone leaving me responsibility for children would be the global societal collapse that got the world the point where I'm the best candidate to make these choices.
 

LunarMist

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It's not rocket science. When the children act up they need to have their toys taken away for a while.
Unless the kid is a sociopath any parent should be able to identify when their children are lying.
 

Mercutio

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Unfortunately, screens are on some level a necessity. Most educational programs at this point incorporate Chromebooks or ipads. Take the device away and the kiddo can't do homework.

The GenZs who live with me all have stories about how much they got away with even with a desktop PC in a public area of the house, mostly because parents didn't particularly investigate what all was on tumblr or reddit or fanfiction.net. These days, plenty of yucky stuff lives on Roblox.
 

Mercutio

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...aaaaand I don't even know what that is.
Guess I must be old.

Roblox is a massively popular game construction platform. People who make games using it can even get paid if their creations get popular enough. The very first time I saw it, several people were sexting in the open world text chat, and a little more exploration found games within it that were pretty clearly meant to be sexual in nature.

Roblox and Minecraft are sort of the #1 and #2 favorites games kids want to play.
 

Piyono

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Roblox is a massively popular game construction platform. People who make games using it can even get paid if their creations get popular enough. The very first time I saw it, several people were sexting in the open world text chat, and a little more exploration found games within it that were pretty clearly meant to be sexual in nature.

Roblox and Minecraft are sort of the #1 and #2 favorites games kids want to play.
Okay, on second glance I have definitely seen Roblox in passing, here and there.

I don't know if it's possible or practical to try and sanitize online spaces. It'd certainly be a hell of an undertaking.
I think it's wise for parents to heavily moderate the online activities of their younger kids and to teach older kids to recognize and report predatory behavior.

If I ever marry and have kids I think I'd like to raise them in the wilderness like in that movie, minus the part where the wife dies. That part sucked.
 

jtr1962

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Throughout history kids have been exposed to "adult" stuff, yet somehow managed to deal with it. To me it's a losing battle trying to sanitize the world. If anything, it's better if kids grow up knowing the world isn't all unicorns and fairies and castles. At least they won't be stunned when they get older and realize life really sucks and the world isn't fair. I was exposed to sexual stuff before I was even in kindergarten. It's not the end of the world. Kids cope with things a lot better than adults give them credit for.
 

LunarMist

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I have no idea how you jumped to that.
The original question was "My sister is trying to maintain control over her kids' internet time."
 

Mercutio

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Disney Circle is still a pretty decent option if you don't want to spend that much time faffing around with it.
 

Chewy509

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May or may not help, but this is my home LAN setup:
  • Use Cloudflare for DNS. (1.1.1.3 - malware and adult content black-holed). https://blog.cloudflare.com/introducing-1-1-1-1-for-families/
  • Router has basic parental controls enabled:
    • MAC address whitelist for 24/7 access. (TVs and parents systems/tablets)
    • All others not in whitelist are 8am - 8pm access. (all others)
Otherwise we have annual lessons on appropriate online behaviour and what our expectations are. For my family it in comes down to trust (with occasional verification) and education. Like JTR mentions, kids will see what many consider to be not age appropriate all the time, so the best you can do is have open communication and ensure that nothing is taboo in discussion with your kids.

Also on roblox:
 

ddrueding

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Yup, Chewy nailed it. Ours is 10, and at that age we trust her to keep her devices but only use them when appropriate. There is nothing preventing access, but the firewall logs everything so I can help her if her self-control starts failing. ;)
 

sedrosken

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Oh, the things I got away with as a kid. And my parents were actually pretty savvy! I just happened to be savvier. But man, if they'd known about logging DNS requests, I'd have been a goner. :whistle:

Yeah, honestly, if I end up in a situation where I'm somehow raising a kid, I'd implement the MAC whitelisting and 1.1.1.3 for DNS -- I'm already using Cloudflare through DNSSEC via my PiHole anyway, so it wouldn't be a big stretch to reconfigure or anything. But it'd also be a lot of trust and verify, too -- logging DNS requests would be a good start, checking them every so often.

I do also think that people pin too much responsibility on technology to stop these things and not enough on proper parenting. Kids are going to get into stuff they shouldn't, that's what they do best. They should be able to trust you enough as a parent that they're willing to discuss things with you. So the answer isn't to just give them no privacy whatsoever, as that just teaches them to lie better and do stuff behind your back.
 

Mercutio

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Funny parental sanity story:

My domestic partner is still a part-time stripper. She doesn't dance very often and summer and fall are the busy times for her real job but every once in a while, say for example when she manages to get a championship-grade traffic ticket (22mph over in a construction zone but the cop was nice enough to not call it reckless driving), picking up a few shifts at the club is still a great way to cover expenses.

Dancers very often a Snapchat, an app normally used to show show people ephemeral photos, to show off what they're wearing and to let customers know that they'll be working. In my partner's case, she doesn't go in that often, but there are guys who will make the trip in specifically for her, so she took a bunch of what the kids call thirst trap pics.

She is currently wearing what could generously be described as fishnets and very long shoelaces that cover the legal minimum of what it has to be covered. She got a pretty major tattoo over the weekend and she wanted to show it off.

She's had the same personal Snapchat since she was 12 years old.
... And she used the wrong phone and therefore the wrong Snapchat account to post the photos.

Both her father and grandmother screenshotted the pictures she took in the ~90 seconds between when she posted them and when she realized her mistake and deleted the pics.

I am absolutely dying over this. 🤣
 

ddrueding

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Ouch. I must say it might be worthwhile to just not have a personal Snapchat account to avoid this. Also impressed that grandma knew how to take a screenshot ;)
 

LunarMist

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Young people do foolish things and now it stays around potentially forever. In earlier times what happened in the 1980s stayed in the 1980s for example.
 

Mercutio

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Attractive people have been using looks to their advantage since forever, LM. No generation has a monopoly on it. With the GenZs, the fact that there are sexy pics around somewhere is absolutely taken for granted. They grew up with cameraphones and instagram and they've been taking racy pictures for their SOs basically since middle school, and don't even get started on what happens with people on dating apps. But even boomers had Polaroids and OG Camcorders.

Ouch. I must say it might be worthwhile to just not have a personal Snapchat account to avoid this. Also impressed that grandma knew how to take a screenshot ;)

Somebody in their early 60s has likely been using a smartphone for around a dozen years. OUR parents are probably in their 70s and they retired befuddled, but somebody who had a Blackberry in their early 40s probably transitioned to Android or iOS just fine.

Also, guys, we are the ones who are old now. Other than sed.

People who segregate between personal life and adult entertainer life like to keep several physical phones. Usually one Apple and one Android, if only because a Moto-whatever is $200 and works OK for Snapchat and social media identities and the Apple thing will DEFINITELY have a better camera than that $200 POS. My partner currently has an iphone 14 Pro and a Samsung S23+, thanks to an admirer. Turns out that with the cases they're in, they're basically the same size with the Apple being a little thicker and heavier. Historically Apple's stuff tends to be the smaller, thinner of the two. It's just not true in the current generation. I can see why she could get it mixed up.

Helluva way to let grandma know what you've been doing for a living, though.
 

ddrueding

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Yes, the old. I do forget every once in a while. Then I try to move without making some kind of sound, and the old returns ;)

I've already had conversations with my daughter about information: That it spreads and cannot be taken down. Be very careful what you put out there. Notice I didn't tell her not to do anything, just to consider the consequences.

I do have some hope that there is less judgement about adults making decisions about their own lifestyle. When I mentioned that some are doing quite well while operating their own business (Amouranth was quoted as pulling in 1.5 million a month just from OnlyFans) to an older friend, that seemed to legitimize it a bit. I suspect the stigma comes from the potentially predatory nature and greedy middle-men that used to be so prevalent in the industry. That people were taking risks while not profiting adequately from them.
 

Handruin

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I don't know if all Android versions have the Secure Folder feature like my Samsung has, but it would give the opportunity for someone like Mercutio's domestic partner to add another instance of Snapchat into the Secure Folder and log in with her special provocative account to reduce this situation from happening. Not a perfect solution but could be useful to also keep things separated.
 

Mercutio

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Google Photos has private albums even if the underlying version of the OS does not and TECHNICALLY Snapchat is an app that supports dual logins, which allow a user to quickly switch from one account to another. Snapchat only grants the ability to log in on more than once for a single account at the same time to VIP users and celebrities though, so the better answer from a logistical standpoint is usually to just keep one login on one device and one login on another. This is also standard operating procedure for Instagram, Twitter, Reddit and Facebook, for people who need a public and private facing form of access.
 

Handruin

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Dual login's make sense, my reddit app also does that even though I don't use it. I was approaching it as a separate process when using the Secure Folder because one has to biometric and password into it which makes it a more conscious effort to switch to the more private account. Looks like this is specifically a Samsung feature so it may not be viable for everyone.

Since it's an additional encrypted install of the various apps, it would function like it's on a different phone since it uses a different partition and encrypted filesystem that's separate from the regular part of the phone.
 
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