Google offers security tips for staying safe online

Be it the ubiquity of hacking or widespread government surveillance, better online security is something that we could all use more of these days.

Google offers security tips for staying safe online

Google is pushing to educate users on how to stay safe online. The company released a batch of security tips on Thursday. They can help you better protect your identifying information (like passwords, for one) and sensitive files, as well as fend off hackers.

Here are five of Google’s 12 tips for staying safe when using its resources — that can mean search engines, browsers and even mobile devices.

1. Create a better password than “password”

It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by completely terrible passwords some people use. It’s important to use different passwords for each service you use — and there are some pretty solid password managers, like LastPass.

2. Protect your account and your selfies from hackers

Google’s suggests using its two-step verification, an easy-to-use and fundamentally important security measure. How it works is when you sign into a Google account from an unfamiliar computer, you’ll be sent a verification code (usually to a mobile device) to be doubly sure that you are who you say you are.

3. Keep prying eyes off your device

This refers to mobile: Use PIN numbers, passwords or any number of biometric options (like fingerprint sensors, for example) to keep your devices safe from unwanted attention.

4. Let questionable content be known the minute you see it

If you see content that breaks the rules or is questionable in any way (on, say, YouTube) flag it. Don’t wait to report — Google’s team works to monitor this, but your help can create a better experience for everyone involved.

5. Keep the hackers out by updating your browser

We all get annoyed by update reminders, but it’s a super important part of keeping your online security intact. Old browser versions might have security holes that need patching, so don’t hesitate when a Chrome update comes through.

For the full list with more details on protecting yourself, head over to Google’s page that includes step-by-step guides (plus pictures) on how to get started.


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  • Track web browsing history
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Reference: http://mashable.com/

How to Track Sites Visited History on a Computer

Websites visited on your computer are stored in the Web browser’s memory. If you need to view the sites searched from your computer you can use the built-in features of the browser to view and edit the browsing history. This becomes useful when you work on a public computer and don’t want anyone to see which sites you have been visiting, or want to check what your children have been up to while browsing the Internet.

track website visit history

Instructions

Internet Explorer

  1. Start Internet Explorer and click on “Internet Options.”
  2. Click on “Settings” under “Browsing History” and then on “View Files.” Sites visited using the browser will be displayed in a Windows Explorer window.
  3. Press “Ctrl,” “Shift” and “H” keys at the same time as an alternative and quick method to access the browsing history in the left portion of the screen.

Mozilla Firefox

  1. Open the Mozilla Firefox browser, click on the “History” menu option and select “Show All History.” Visited websites will be displayed in a Windows Explorer window.
  2. Press “Crtl,” “Shift” and “H” for an alternative access to the browser history.
  3. Click on the “History” menu option to view the last 10 visited websites at the end of the drop-down menu.

Safari

  1. Open the Safari browser.
  2. Click on the “History” menu option and then on “View All History” to check the browser history. Using a combination of “Ctrl” and “H” keys allows for quicker access to this feature.
  3. Click on the “History” menu option and view the most recently visited websites in the middle of the drop-down menu.

Tips & Warnings

To delete websites from history, simply click on the sites you want to remove and press “Delete.”

Surveilstar browser history tracking software

SurveilStar browser history tracking software is an ideal browser history tracking application to track browsing history on other computers. SurveilStar browser history tracking software includes agent, server and console. The server is used to record browser history and the console is used to track browsing history, they can be installed on same computer or on different computers. The agent is used to install on a computer where you want to track browsing history.

SurveilStar browser history tracking software will record any visited websites including visit time, computer name, user name, page caption and detailed URLs. SurveilStar browser history tracking software also comes with convenient search features which can help to track browsing history by time, user, URL and title.

It doesn’t matter if any one deletes browser history on an agent computer. Once the pages are opened, SurveilStar browser history tracking software will record. Recording will always be earlier than deleting, thus, SurveilStar will help you track any browser history whether browsing history is kept or deleted on the target computer.

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SurveilStar browser history tracking software not only supports the mainstream browsers stated above, but can also record website visits using any other browsers like Maxthon, K-Meleon, Flock, Avant Browser, Sleipnir, Slim Browser and many other more.

Do not hesitate to try Surveilstar if you want to track browsing history as a company administrator or as a guardian of your child or children.

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References
SurveilStar: Browser History and Browser History Tracking
Ehow.com: http://www.ehow.com/how_5887595_search-sites-visited-computer.html

Web Browser Cookies

What are browser cookies?:
Cookies are very small text files placed on your computer by a Web server when you view some sites online (not all Web sites place cookies). They’re used to store data about you and your preferences so that the Web server doesn’t have to repeatedly request this information, potentially slowing down load time.

Cookies are commonly used to store personal registration data like your name, your address, the contents of a shopping cart, your preferred layout for a Web page, what map you might be looking at, and so on. Cookies make it easy for Web servers to personalize information to fit your specific needs and preferences when you’re visiting a Web site.
Why are they called “cookies”?:
There are different explanations for where cookies got their name. Some people believe that cookies got their name from “magic cookies” which are part of UNIX, an operating system. Many people believe that the name originates from the story of Hansel and Gretel, who were able to mark their trail through a dark forest by dropping cookie crumbs behind them.
Are cookies dangerous?:
The easiest answer is that cookies, in and of themselves, are completely harmless. However, some Web sites use them to track users as they browse the Web, collecting highly personal information and often surreptitiously transferring that information to other Web sites without permission or warning. This is why we often hear about Web cookies in the news.
Can cookies be used to spy on me?:
Because cookies are are simple text files, text files cannot execute programs or carry out tasks. Nor can they be used to view data on your hard disk, or capture other information from your computer.

Furthermore, cookies can only be accessed by the server that initiated them. This makes it impossible for one Web server to snoop around in cookies set by other servers, grabbing sensitive bits of your personal information.
What makes cookies controversial?:
Although cookies can only be retrieved by the server that set them, many online advertisement companies attach cookies containing a unique user ID to banner ads. Many of the major ad companies online serve ads to thousands of different Web sites, so they can retrieve their cookies from all of these sites, too. Though the site that carries the ad can’t track your progress through the Web, the company that serves the ads can.

This may sound ominous, but tracking your progress online isn’t necessarily such a bad thing. When tracking is used within a site, the data can help site owners tweak their designs, enhancing popular areas and eliminating or redesigning “dead ends” for a more efficient user experience. Tracking data can also be used to give users and site owners more targeted information or to make recommendations on purchases, content, or services to users, a feature many users appreciate. For example, one of Amazon.com’s most popular retail features is the targeted recommendations it makes for new merchandise based on your past viewing and purchase history.
Should I disable cookies on my computer?:
This is a question that has different answers depending on how you want to use the Web.

If you go to websites that personalize your experience extensively, you won’t be able to see much of that if you disable cookies. Many sites use these simple text files to make your Web browsing session as personalized and efficient as possible simply because it’s a much better user experience to not have to keep entering in the same information every time you visit. If you disable cookies in your Web browser, you won’t get the benefit of the time saved by these cookies, nor will you have a completely personalized experience.

Users can implement a partial stop on Web cookies by setting Web browsers on a high sensitivity level, giving you a warning whenever a cookie is about to be set, and allowing you to accept or reject cookies on a site by site basis. However, because so many sites use cookies these days that a partial ban will probably force you to spend more time accepting or rejecting cookies than in actually enjoying your time online. It’s a trade-off, and really depends on your level of comfort with cookies.

The bottom line is this: cookies really do no harm to your computer or your Web browsing experience. It’s only when advertisers are not as ethical as they should be with the data stored in your cookies where things get into a bit of a grey area. Still, your personal and financial information is completely safe, and cookies are not a security risk.
Cookies: What They Really Are:
Cookies, small text files containing very small amounts of data, were originally designed to make life easier for Web searchers. Popular sites such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook use them to deliver highly customized, personal Web pages that deliver targeted content to users.

Unfortunately, some websites and Internet advertisers have found other uses for cookies. They can and do gather sensitive personal information that might be used to profile users with advertisements that seem almost intrusive with how targeted they are.

Cookies do offer quite a few very useful benefits that make Web browsing very convenient. On the other hand, you might be concerned that your privacy has the potential to be violated. However, this isn’t something that Web users should necessarily be concerned about. Cookies are absolutely harmless.
Article Source- http://websearch.about.com/od/webbrowsers/p/Web-Browser-Cookies-Just-The-Facts.htm

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Privacy Browsing

The term private browsing encompasses a wide array of precautions that Web surfers can take to ensure that their activity on the Web cannot be traced. Motives for private browsing are plenty, with both privacy and safety at the forefront of many Internet users’ minds. Whatever the inspiration for browsing privately may be, the bottom line is that many people want to avoid leaving tracks behind.
Proxy Servers for Private Browsing

Private browsing can involve utilizing firewalls and proxy servers to prevent those in the outside world from viewing Web surfing activity, including rogue individuals as well as Internet Service Providers and even the government. These types of private browsing measures are commonly used in countries where access is limited as well as at the workplace or on campus.
Private Browsing Within the Web Browser

For many Web surfers, however, private browsing involves clearing their tracks from others who may have access to the same computer or mobile device that they’re currently using. Most popular Web browsers offer ways to browse privately, with no history or other private data such as cache or cookies left behind at the end of your browsing session.
How to Activate Private Browsing

The methods for activating this type of private browsing differ across browsers, operating systems, and device types. The following step-by-step tutorials teach you how to browse privately in the browser of your choice.

Private Browsing in Google Chrome

In Google Chrome, private browsing can be achieved through the magic of Incognito Mode. While surfing the Web incognito, your history and other private data are not saved on your hard drive. Entering private browsing mode in Chrome is easy to do, and our Windows tutorial shows you how it’s done.
Private Browsing in Other Versions of Chrome

Private Browsing in Firefox 3.6

Private browsing in Firefox involves utilizing Private Browsing mode, where sensitive items such as cookies and download history are never recorded locally. Activating Private Browsing is a simple process, and this private browsing tutorial makes it even simpler for Windows users.

Private Browsing in Safari 5

Private browsing with Safari 5 can be accomplished by entering Private Browsing mode via the Action menu. While in Private Browsing mode all private data including browsing history and AutoFill information is not kept, ensuring a private browsing experience. This graphical tutorial explains how to use Private Browsing mode in Safari 5 for Windows.

Private Browsing in Opera 10.6

Opera 10.6 allows you to enable private browsing in your choice of a new tab or new window. Depending on your preference, the private tab or window can be accessed via the browser’s Tabs and Windows menu or through a keyboard shortcut. Our private browsing tutorial details privacy in Opera 10.6 for Windows.

Private Browsing in Flock 3

Flock, also known as The Social Browser, includes a nifty feature called Stealth Mode which opens a new window in which private browsing takes place. No private browsing data whatsoever is saved to your computer while in this mode. Activating private browsing in Flock is quick and painless, and this tutorial explains it thoroughly.

Private Browsing on the iPad

The iPad’s default Safari browser does not offer a built-in feature for private browsing. However, there are several alternative browsers available via the App Store which do offer this added level of privacy.

Private Browsing With Perfect Browser

Perfect Browser is an iPad application that offers a plethora of features, including some unique to this app. One of these features is Private Mode, which gives iPad users the ability to browse privately.

Private Browsing With Atomic Web Browser

Atomic Web Browser for the iPad offers a robust feature set normally reserved for desktop browsers. The main selling point lies in its full screen browsing mode, but it is the other functionality that really makes this app stand out from the pack. A key piece of this functionality is Atomic’s Private Browsing mode, which does not record private data and includes an optional passcode lock.

Private Browsing on the iPhone and iPod touch

The default Safari browser on the iPhone and iPod touch does not offer a built-in feature for private browsing. However, there are several alternative browsers available via the App Store which do offer this added level of privacy on both devices.

Private Browsing With PrivateWeb

PrivateWeb for the iPhone and iPod touch is a Web browser that deletes your cache, cookies, and browsing history each time you exit the application. Based on the same core components as Safari, PrivateWeb offers a basic yet private browsing experience on your portable device.

Private Browsing With Aquari Browser

Aquari Browser provides a secure browsing experience without sacrificing other functionality. Access to the application can be protected with an optional 4-digit passcode, giving you the ability to prevent others from accessing your bookmarks, history, and other configuration items. In addition to this secure access, Aquari also includes a private browsing feature. When browsing in Incognito mode, your browsing and search history is never saved. Also, session cookies can be automatically wiped out each and every time you close the application.

Private Browsing With iBrowse2

iBrowse2 gives you the ability to view two Web pages simultaneously by displaying them side by side. In addition to dual page viewing, this browser offers a number of desired components found in some of the most robust Safari alternatives. This includes a private browsing mode in the event that you do not wish to save a record of where you have been.

Private Browsing With Privately

Privately is a Web browser designed with your privacy in mind. Based on the same core components as Safari, Privately ensures that no tracks are left behind when you are finished surfing the Web. The addresses of any and all Web pages that you visit are instantly deleted when you press your device’s Home button. Cookies downloaded by websites are automatically wiped out upon arrival. In addition, any keywords entered in the Google Search box are not recorded. All of this results in a true private browsing experience on your iPhone or iPod touch.
Article Source- http://browsers.about.com/od/faq/tp/Private-Browsing.htm

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How to Keep Your Kids Safe on Facebook

Boasting 500 million users worldwide and still growing, Facebook is now ubiquitous. Because of its popularity, minors have jumped onto the social media bandwagon, too, and they use networking the same way adults do–to share pictures, connect with friends, organize events, and play social games. And that can be a problem.

For the most part, Facebook provides a fun and safe way for users of all ages to communicate with their pals. But because kids and teens are, well, kids and teens, they’re the ones most at risk of falling victim to the dangers of Facebook.

With a bit of strategic parental guidance, you can educate your kids about the potential hazards of social media and give them the tools they need to protect themselves from online predators, guard their personal information, preserve their online reputation, and avoid suspicious downloads that could harm your PC.
Facebook and Kids

An iStrategyLabs study documents the growth rates of Facebook profiles in the United States based on age, gender, location, education level, and interests. The study shows that from January 2009 to January 2010, the 13-to-17-year-old age group grew about 88 percent in the U.S., jumping from about 5.7 million teenage Facebook users to almost 10.7 million. Those figures, of course, don’t include minors who lied about their age upon creating their profile.

Facebook

Despite a legal requirement that kids must be 13 or older to sign up for Facebook, many younger children are using the service. Because no perfect age-verification system exists, younger kids are able to slip by unnoticed through falsifying their age. (For instance, I have one friend whose 12-year-old daughter listed her birth year as 1991 on Facebook, thereby claiming that she was 19 years old.)

The safety and public-policy teams at Facebook are aware of their young audience, and the site has rolled out privacy settings specifically for the under-18 set. Users between the ages of 13 and 17 get what Facebook’s privacy policy calls a “slightly different experience.” Minors do not have public search listings created for them when they sign up for Facebook, meaning their accounts cannot be found on general search engines outside of Facebook.

The “Everyone” setting is not quite as open for minors as it is for adults. If a minor’s privacy settings are set to “Everyone,” that includes only friends, friends of friends, and people within the child’s verified school or work network. However, the “Everyone” setting still allows adults to search for minors by name and send them friend requests (and vice versa), unless the account owner manually changes that. Also, only people within a minor’s “Friends of Friends” network can message them.

Facebook recently premiered a new location-based service called Places, which has some restrictions for minors as well. Minors can share their location through Places only with people on their Friends lists, even if their privacy settings are set to “Everyone.”

As for the teens who lie about how old they are, Facebook does have a way of verifying age. If, for instance, a 19-year-old is mostly friends with 13- and 14-year-olds, and they seem to be taking lots of photos together, then Facebook might suspect that the user is actually 12 or 13–and then it may flag the user’s page for removal or give the user a warning.
The Basics: Protecting Personal Information

Even with Facebook’s privacy policy for minors, a child’s personal information is still widely on display. A young person’s Facebook account is just the beginning of their online footprint, and they need to take that fact seriously, since it can affect their reputation today and potentially come into play later in life when they’re applying for college and for jobs.

Personal privacy
Facebook public-policy representative Nicky Jackson Colaco advises parents to sit down with their kids and talk about the importance of protecting one’s online identity. Maintaining open communication with your children is the key to understanding exactly how they’re using Facebook.

“I’d never send my son onto the football field without pads and knowledge of the game,” Colaco says, “and it’s exactly the same with Facebook.”

If you have a Facebook profile, consider sending your child a friend request–not necessarily as a spying tool, but to remind your child of your own online presence. If you don’t have a Facebook account, ask your child to show you their profile. It helps to familiarize yourself as much as possible with the site’s privacy controls and other settings, because the more you know about Facebook, the better equipped you can be if something serious ever arises.

It’s also a good idea to take a look at your child’s photos and wall posts to make sure they are age appropriate. Remind your child that the Internet in general, but especially Facebook, is not a kids-only zone, and that adults can see what’s on their profile as well. Maintaining an appropriate online presence as a teenager will help your child build a respectable online footprint. Remember: The Internet never forgets.

If your kid really has something to hide, they might make a Facebook profile behind your back, or have one account that’s parent-friendly and a separate account for their friends. If they show you a profile that seems skimpy on content, that could be a red flag. That’s where PC and Web-monitoring tools could come into play (see the “Monitoring Behavior” section on the next page).

Finally, go over Facebook’s privacy settings with your child, and show them how to activate the highest level of security. Emphasize that Facebook is a place for friends and not strangers, and then change their profile to “friends only.” Again, remind your child to be wary of what they post in their status updates, since oversharing online can lead to consequences in the real world.

“As the site gets bigger, it’s important to have everyone working together–us, parents, kids, our safety advisory board–to make sure the site remains a safe place,” Colaco says.
Cyberbullying

The suicides of 13-year-old Megan Meier and 15-year-old Phoebe Prince have brought media attention to the potentially devastating effects of cyberbullying. A study performed as part of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a division of the Pew Research center, reports that “32 percent of online teens have experienced some sort of harassment via the Internet,” including private material being forwarded without permission, threatening messages, and embarrassing photos posted without their consent.

Report/Block this PersonThe best way to deal with a cyberbully is to report them and block them from your kid’s Facebook profile.
Research performed at the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center shows that, while adults are inclined to moderate their online behavior, children and teens are “significantly more willing to ‘go further’ and to type very shocking things that they would never say in person… Kids believe that online statements simply ‘don’t count’ because they’re not being said to someone’s face.”

Because young people tend to believe that they aren’t accountable for their online actions, Facebook becomes a convenient place to target victims for bullying. Although you can’t do much to prevent your child from being bullied online, you can help them end the harassment if it starts.

The MARC Center has several guides offering tips on how to handle cyberbullying, and all of them start with communicating directly with your child–don’t be afraid to get involved. If you think your child is being bullied, advise your child to spend less time on the site in question, or flag the bully by notifying the Website. If the behavior is also happening at school, notify the school’s administrators so that they, too, can get involved.

Facebook also makes it easy to report harassment issues, and encourages users to do so. But what if you find out that your child is the one doing the bullying? Both scenarios are possible, and both should be dealt with.

In a New York Times Q&A session on cyberbullying, expert Elizabeth K. Englander of the MARC Center addresses an approach that parents should take if they discover that their child is the bully. She first recommends that you discuss with your child why cyberbullying is hurtful, and bring up some of the tragic cases of teen suicide related to online harassment. Try to understand that your child could be reacting to pressure from friends, or that your child may be retaliating against someone who hurt their feelings in a similar manner. Although such circumstances don’t excuse the behavior, learning about them could bring a larger issue to your attention.

Finally, establish a set of rules for your teen to follow when using Facebook and other social networking sites, and monitor your child’s usage, perhaps even placing a daily time limit.
Stranger Danger

Earlier this year, 33-year-old Peter Chapman was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, raping, and murdering a 17-year-old girl he met through Facebook. Chapman, a registered sex offender, had created a fake profile and pretended to be 17 years old to gain the victim’s trust.
Report a sex offenderIf you or your child encounters a known sex offender on Facebook, report that person right away. Facebook has a special form for this.

Despite Facebook’s valiant efforts to rid its site of online predators, the system isn’t foolproof. The site has banned convicted sex offenders from joining, and in 2008 all of the known sex offenders already on the site were removed. However, considering the case of Peter Chapman, predators are still finding ways to cheat the system.

As mentioned earlier, you can limit privacy settings so that your child is directly interacting only with people they know–and more important, you can hide information such as your child’s age, school, and full name from people who are not direct friends.

Stress to your child the importance of avoiding people they do not know in real life. Even if the stranger’s profile says that they are the same age as your child and that they go to a nearby school, the profile could be a decoy. Your child can report to Facebook any stranger who tries to contact them or engage in inappropriate activity.
Third-Party Applications

Many third-party applications on Facebook are aimed directly at teens–often they involve games, establishing crushes, or sprucing up profiles. But many kids don’t quite grasp that these Facebook components are not actually created by Facebook, and that therefore they have different terms of service.
Be sure to explain to your kids that apps can’t use their profile without permission, and make sure they know what they’re allowing.

Even worse, some of these external downloads could contain malware. Sunbelt Software has reported several suspicious Facebook scams, from a Texas Hold’em poker app containing adware to various phishing scams under similar disguises.

Make sure you have an up-to-date antivirus program and ad-blocking software that could catch these threats. Talk to your kids about skimming through the terms of service and privacy policies for applications before they accept the download. Also advise them never to open a link posted on their wall from someone they don’t know–it could point to a malicious site.
Monitoring Behavior

If you want to keep a more watchful eye on your kids’ online behavior, you can use any of several effective tools.

SafetyWeb is an online service geared toward parents who wish to keep tabs on what their kids are doing online. It checks across 45 different social networking sites to see if your child has a registered public profile, and it monitors those accounts for any potentially threatening activities. Monitored platforms include Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube. It also recognizes LiveJournal as a social network and will monitor that site, but it has yet to include other blogging platforms such as Tumblr.
SafetyWeb monitors your child’s online activity for you, so you’re not in the dark about their accounts and activities.

The service will notify you, the parent, if your child has posted anything potentially unsafe or inappropriate, within categories related to drugs and alcohol, sex, depression, profanity, and cyberbullying. That way, you can check your child’s public activity without having to join every site or read every post they make.

McGruff Safeguard software takes online monitoring a step further: It can record every move your child makes on the Internet, covering everything from instant-message logs to search terms on Google. Parents can keep a close eye on their children and discuss any behavior found to be dangerous or inappropriate.

Whether you use a software monitoring tool or not, experts agree that having regular conversations with your children about their online usage is the most important element to keeping them safe and aware of the dangers of the Web.
View more, please visit- http://www.pcworld.com/article/206683/how_to_keep_your_kids_safe_on_facebook.html

How Parents Can Block Certain Websites from Children

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[For non-techie parents who have a computer at home and are worried about their kids safety online.]

A mother recently wrote saying she is very concerned that her young children are spending too much time on websites like Orkut, MySpace and Facebook.

Her worries are not just about children wasting time on the Internet – it’s more about the activities that children are doing on these sites. She is concerned that children could be interacting with complete strangers (or online predators) and even sharing personal information.

And with some news reports saying that criminal activities could have been planned on Orkut, the mother has finally made up her mind to restrict access to Orkut and some other websites on the home computer.

The only problem is that she has absolutely no clue about how to block websites – parental control software like Net Nanny or Norton Internet Security are pretty good but they cost money.

Now before you take this extreme step of blocking website (that is very likely to be opposed by children), try a few things:

Educate your children about the dangers of sharing information online with strangers. Family members should talk in detail about privacy and the web.
Place the computer in the living area of your home from where you can easily see the screen so you’ll have some idea about activities that children are doing on the computer including the websites they are visiting frequently.
Orkut is an open social network – that means you can easily see who’s in the friends’ list of your children and what kind of text notes (or scraps) are they exchanging with each.

Finally, to block websites on your home computer without investing in expensive software, here’s the trick (for Windows PCs):

Step 1: Click the Start button and select Run. Now type the following text in that Run box:

notepad c:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

Related: Edit Files as Administrator

Step 2: You will see a new notepad window on your screen containing some cryptic information. Don’t panic. Just goto the last line of the file, hit the enter key and type the following:

127.0.0.1 orkut.com
127.0.0.1 facebook.com
127.0.0.1 myspace.com

Save the file and exit. That’s it. None of the above sites will now open on your computer.

You can block as many websites as you like with the above technique. If you want to remove the ban later, open the same file as mentioned in Step 1 and delete the above lines.

Pretty simple but remember, our children are also very smart. And there are some popular ways to unblock websites.
Article source- http://www.labnol.org/software/browsers/block-websites-from-kids-home-computer/1602/