Now for an opinion from a father that drops in and noses around on his kids computer...

My kids have computers, and they're all networked to my servers. They have to log in, which makes my Admin account able to view everything on their systems. I also run a logging program to keep an eye on where thry're going. This may reek of big-brotherism to you (especially if you're the age of my kids), but it's a rule I have if they want to share my broadband connection.

Part of my job is to raise my kids, and to do it in the best manner possible. While never perfect (just ask them :}), I have to be aware of what they're up to. They all know that Dad is the network admin, and I have told them flat out that I will be monitoring their activities. When my 15yo was flirting with a self-confessed 45 year old guy via AIM, I took her aside and explained why I was concerned, backed up by several articles I downloaded about kids who run off and get in trouble with perverts. She doesn't do it anymore. I filter her email, allowing all of her friends email accounts to go right to her, with the caveat that I can get to them and read them if I need to. The rest I verify as not being crap, then forward.

While this may seem overly intrusive, I feel I need to set boundaries and enforce them. They are my kids, after all, and sometimes Dad needs to intervene. I'm always up-front about what is going on, and now they know to keep me informed should something odd occur, like a screen full of pop-up porn or virus-tainted emails. We keep the lines of communication open, and they're always glad when they do something silly and SuperDad the Admin can come to the rescue and fix their computer.

Sometimes we act like we don't know any better just to keep you off your guard. Don't assume we are as dumb as we appear, and always remember we're there for you always, whether you think you need our help or not.

Reply to the reply to Rancid_Pickle:

You're 19. You're an adult. My kids range from 8 to 15, and that is the big difference. When they're old enough (which may be before their 18th birthday), I won't bother poking around because I've done my best to raise them to be self-reliant, thoughtful and responsible. If I have to babysit when they're 17.5, then there are other issues that need to be addressed. Luckily, they're doing very well and I rarely have to poke around my computer system that is located in their room. If they find something that is questionable, they bring it to my attention now, and we talk it out. Since you're an adult, why are you hiding your porn stash from your father? Embarrassment, maybe you're not too proud of the stash, or just because you don't want to argue? Making the choice as an adult to keep a folder full of Ms. Saint is fine, my point is if one is old enough to have porn, they should be adult enough to own up to it and argue their decision. That's the crux where adulthood is attained, not because of chronological time spend on the planet. Again, that's my humble opinion, take it with a grain of salt.

One more quick point - almost every corporation monitors emails and surfing. While you may not like it, you may have to accept it if you're going to work in big business.