Need to monitor son's internet activity

Discussion in 'iPad' started by mrmatthew, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. mrmatthew macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2016
    looking for some program that is REAL TIME that monitors my son's internet activity.
    We all use the same Apple Login and Password, so I can actually look on my Iphone and update the history every few minutes. however, I think he is deleting sites shortly after he visits them. When he deletes them quickly, they don't show up on my phone because there is a delay.
    Don't want to alter his physical Ipad, would rather use something that either monitors the cloud and records activity every 5 minutes or so.

    Does anyone know if anything like this exists???

    Thanks so much!!!
  2. Feenician macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2016
    Before I start I don't have a complete answer for you but maybe something will point you in the right direction. Someone else may have a better solution if none of this helps.

    Firstly, you might look into Restrictions, settings you can restrict and configure on the device itself and put behind a passcode. As far as I know that doesn't do quite what you need though.

    It sounds like you may be looking for an MDM (Mobile Device Management) solution. These are products or services that allow you to lock down or monitor iOS devices. More usually they are used in a corporate setting so companies can lock down and monitor their devices and they can be complicated to use. I'm not sure if there's something that's more geared to the personal or family user (though if there isn't it seems like a gap in the market).I had a quick google and something called Spiceworks came up but I've never tried it and didn't look deeply into it. Maybe this will help point you in the right direction (though maybe not)

    In before someone comes in and gives you a lecture on trusting your children :rolleyes:
  3. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    Move his computer to the living room, such that the monitor is visible to everyone at home.
  4. Feenician macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2016
    This is the iPad forum.
  5. bluespark macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2009
    New York
    I unfortunately don't have anything to offer, but I'm watching this thread with interest as my kids won't stay young forever. It seems like something that sits between your modem and router and monitors all connected devices would be very popular and might even save lives.
  6. Feenician macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2016
    But would only help when the device is at home, which may or may not be the case for an iPad.
  7. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    Yes but not user friendly, the name of the program is called Wireshark. As for something more user friendly, the OS itself might have some built in tools to provide this information, macOS can limit by outright blocking connections, Windows has a parenting feature that they keep reducing which may not produce the desired effect.

    I'm going to start off listing what you should know and what it doesn't do so you can skip what it does if I lose you.

    What you need.
    A network card that can work in monitor mode.
    General knowledge of IP addresses and IP packet structure.
    Using regular expressions to filter your results is a plus but not required.
    An Ethernet (not wireless) connection to the end most device before the modem. (most often this is a router)

    Alternatively you can turn your computer into the Access Point and route all wireless traffic to your computer and send it through the Ethernet connection

    What it doesn't do.

    It does not grab login information from encrypted websites (https websites)
    It does not provide an easy to read chart when you are ready to review.
    It does not work without a network card that can be run in promiscuous (monitor) mode.

    What it does do.

    It can grab snapchat images sent to and from a device on your network.
    It can grab login credentials from unsecure websites accessed from your network.
    It can grab images sent to and from your network.
    It can grab unsecure text messages sent over data connections.
    It can grab voip phone calls.
    It can provide a list of websites that your son has accessed since you started monitoring.
    It can provide forum posts on an unsecured forum such as this one.
    It can provide access times to the nearest millisecond on when a website was accessed.

    My child thought I was lying, I proved her wrong when I showed her a message that she would never have let me see until she was 25 and over it.

    This also monitors all of the devices on your network but you can filter it down to just your kid's devices.
  8. Khalanad75 macrumors 6502


    Jul 8, 2015
    land of confusion
    Take a look into "Circle by Disney"

    It's a plug in monitor that also allows you to block or even disable completely the wifi. You can blacklist by levels and by site directly. You can also limit usage time as well.

    Only downside, is they can work around this by connecting to a different wifi.
  9. Feenician macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2016
    This still assumes an iPad will be on the home network. Also, given the OP's question I think (with no insult intended to him or her) that pcap captures might be a beyond their technical capability.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 13, 2016 ---
    And this. Only works at home
  10. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    Have you considered looking into setting up an Apple Configurator profile? If your child did not buy the iPad then you can do whatever you want, this might also scare the child enough not to go off and browse/say things they shouldn't.

    I'm pretty confident there is a checkbox in there that prevents a user from deleting the history on the device. There should also a content blocker that blocks adult content.
  11. Feenician macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2016
    This is a good suggestion. I hadn't though of configurator (which I guess is the simplest example of MDM), just local restrictions. Configurator maybe more granular.
  12. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    Ehh, not really, it gets pretty good, but I've had some that went way more granular (Group Policy for one). It's good for home users and good enough for Enterprise.
  13. Feenician macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2016
    Yep, I'm definitely not suggesting it's the best possible MDM but it might just fit the bill for the OP, technically and cost-wise(being free, assuming OP has a Mac)
  14. joeblow7777 macrumors 603

    Sep 7, 2010
    That was a great way to monitor Internet use in the 90s, before laptops, tablets, and smartphones became far more popular tools for surfing the web than a desktop computer. In this case, the original poster specifically mentions than an iPad is being used.
  15. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    See here for more on AC2 -
    --- Post Merged, Jul 13, 2016 ---
    It still does a good job, things haven't changed that much, be an adult, force them to use devices in front of you and let them know you'll be monitoring their activity. You didn't pay $600 for a tablet that you never see.

    Alternatively, people could be parents and stop relying on devices to consume their kid's time.
  16. joeblow7777 macrumors 603

    Sep 7, 2010
    I don't know what I'm going to do when I have kids. My parents were pretty overprotective about a lot of things, but not so when it came to the Internet. I was a teen in the 90s and early 2000s, and my parents were (still are) clueless when it comes to computers, so other than putting the computer in a "public" place (which they didn't) they wouldn't have known how to monitor my internet use even if they wanted to. They didn't even know what a browser history was!

    Yes, I visited sites that were not intended for minors, but I was a teenaged boy! If I have my own kids one day, I really don't know to what extent I should monitor or censor what they're exposed to. I grew up without such censorship and I'm a fine upstanding citizen, if I do say so myself.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 13, 2016 ---
    That's the kind of thing that I'm talking about above. My parents never forced me to surf in front of them, I don't know if it seems right to not give my own (hypothetical) children the same freedom and privacy that I had.
  17. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    Just so you know, FowlLanguage is a pretty good Internet comic that explains parenting, here's some insight for you.

  18. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    You can set your router to log websites. If your router doesn't do it out of the box, get one that does. Software solutions, in my opinion, are very easy to circumvent.

    I also believe that monitoring or censoring the internet is an exercise in futility, but could have good unintended consequences:

    My parents never restricted my internet, and allowed me to have a computer in my room. I grew up in the 90s and early 2000s. This is despite the fact that my father is a software and hardware engineer, knows quite a lot about technology, and at that age tough me everything I know. Finding whatever I wanted online was no problem for me.

    My best friend's parents though were crazy about it though. We liked going to steak and cheese dot com, which was blocked for obvious reasons. Initially they installed a little snooping and lockout program on his desktop in his room (initially Windows 98SE, later Windows 2000). After telling his parents we were doing research for school, so they unlocked his browsing, we proceeded to find instructions online on how to disable this snooping program without letting the administrator know that something was up. Later, they installed a different program. Again, we manually found keys in the Windows registry that let us disable certain functionalities.

    Later, his parents installed a network-based censoring program that was configured to block his computer. We learned how to spoof a computer's MAC address. They upped the security restrictions to include all computers but their own, we learned how to kick their computers off the network and spoof their MAC address. They upped the security restrictions to apply to all computers all the time, we found a program that brute-forced the admin password for the router. They got a different router... and we went to college. Both of us went into some form of engineering, armed with the large amount of Windows registry and IP networking experience we learned fighting his parents.

    Moral of the story, locking your network might encourage your kids to learn to hack.
  19. joeblow7777 macrumors 603

    Sep 7, 2010
    Actually I'm pretty familiar with FowlLanguage. A lot of my friends have young children, so FL appears on my Facebook feed quite often. Even though I'm not a parent myself, I find it hilarious!
  20. Feenician macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2016
    "Your router" : it sure seems like no-one bothers to read the thread or even which forum they're in. As for "software solutions being easy to bypass", sure on the Windows 98 machines you mention but with Windows Group Policy or iOS MDM, not a chance.

    Anyway, thread has basically devolved into the predicted unasked for parenting advice. I'm out :)
  21. RossMak macrumors 6502


    Jun 14, 2012
    Could he be using "In Private" mode as well or another browser?

    If I was him I would have Facebook etc on safari so you think I am being safe and then my hardcore porn on chrome.
  22. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    Still works with iPads, iPhones. Set a rule that no internet unless used in the living room. Trust me, no one wants to watch porn in the living room when someone else is in the house.
  23. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    What is the issue with this? iPads do connect to routers, and the only real-time monitoring solution, that doesn't cost some silly monthly fee, is router-based. OP did not say it is a cellular ipad, and WiFi-only ipads are the vast majority so it is reasonable to assume it is a WiFi only ipad.

    This guy is obviously not sophisticated enough to find a commercial solution, let alone implement WGP or iOS MDM on his own. Further, both of those will alert the administrator when there has been tampering and the administrator can take certain actions to protect data, but both are very easy to circumvent in terms of actually using the client machine.

    On a PC, WGP will not prevent me from booting a Linux distro from a USB drive. On iOS, the owner of the device can easily delete the MDM profile. Both are not the solution the OP is looking for.
  24. Feenician macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2016
    iPads have a tendency to leave the house and connect to, you know, other routers.

    As for being able to bypass MDM policy on an iPad? No, absolutely not. Not without a jailbreak at least and at the point you have root all bets are off and all solutions are a waste of time.

    Definitely last post. Thread is just noise.
  25. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    If that is the case, what's to prevent your son from changing this password and locking you out of your own Apple ID account? If you trust your son not to do that, why don't you trust him to be responsible with his internet browsing?

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