How do I Monitor Computer Usage in the Classroom?

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It is important that the children understand why you need to monitor computer usage.A monitoring software helps you monitor computer usage. A good monitoring software program will capture all activity on a computer through a variety of means. The price of the software ranges from free to over $100 with the more effective ones charging a fee for the program.

Monitoring services generally include 1-2 years of upgrades (enhanced features or technical “bug” fixes) to newer versions before a fee is charged to upgrade. It is however not critical to keep these programs up-to-date as they only monitor and log activities.

Monitoring software is an effective way to track what others are using the computer for. A good monitoring program will allow users to do the following:

  • Set up user accounts which allow the administrator to control the level or types of activity that will be monitored.
  • Completely block Internet access to individual users or during particular times of the day.
  • Capture screen shots at regular intervals for reply by the primary user.
  • Capture all email, inbound and outbound.
  • Capture and log all chat, instant message, Internet and program (what programs are being run) activity.
  • Capture and log all keystrokes, uploads and downloads.
  • Operate in an optional stealth mode.
  • Set up a keyword alert that will send an email to the primary user when a particular word or website is accessed.
  • Operate with no impact on the host computers performance.
  • Be easy to set-up and use.

An important consideration when using monitoring software is whether or not to operate in a stealth mode. Privacy issues and boundaries should not be taken lightly. It is good internet policy to include a monitoring program in Internet safety discussions. Tell everyone that it will be on the computer and share plans for reviewing the material it captures. Random and occasional checking is an effective practice and presents a good look at what children are doing online.

How can you explain the need to monitor computer usage to your students without them feeling threatened?

Learn More… Take this course: Internet Safety: Protecting Children in an Online World

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