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How can I check where my kids have been on the Internet?

I received this question from someone who was worried about what their kids had been viewing and this was my response:

What I have done with my own kids: The computer is placed in the family room so that anybody can view the monitor, that way we can monitor their surfing habits in much the same way that we monitor their TV viewing habits. My kids are younger so there is always an adult around when they are home.

If you have older kids and they are viewing stuff that they shouldn’t be then they are most likely erasing their trails so they won’t get caught. Kids are smart and they know how to hide their tracks. Since you suspect they have been deleting entries they may have something to hide.

If you use Internet Explorer you can check the history by typing Ctrl+shift+H to view the history and then type Ctrl+shift+H to hide it again.

Windows Vista offers some built-in parental controls. Select the link below for additional information from Microsoft:


Check with your service provider for any parental controls and/or software that they may provide. Our cable provider COX provides its users a free McAfee Internet Security Suite that can be used on up to 3 computers.

You may want to purchase and install some monitoring software yourself that they will not be able to disable. Look for a product that not only monitors Internet usage but one that also has a keystroke logger so that you can monitor what they type such as Emails or Instant messages.

Let them know that you have monitoring software installed and from time to time you will be checking their computer use, you want to keep the lines of communication open.

- updated 04-06-2008