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Scammers Target Neopets Users 122

Posted by Soulskill
from the guess-wow-finally-dried-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "If you have children that play on the popular virtual world game Neopets, you might want to warn them of a social engineering scam gleefully targeting 12-year-old kids. Neopets users looking for rare items are sent private messages from the scammers, who direct them to sites hosting keyloggers & trojans. They then use the infected PC as a means to get to data the parents might have stored there, be it credit card details, Paypal accounts or online banking. Seeing the screenshots of some of these people talking about putting these children into botnets is just unbelievable — if ever you wanted proof that people up to no good online will go to any lengths to get their hands on some money (or even just feel good about outsmarting a 12-year-old), here it is."
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Scammers Target Neopets Users

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  • Scumbags (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bigbutt (65939) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:07PM (#28543719) Homepage Journal

    Jeeze, all scammers are scum of the earth. Why would you expect them to be any different with 12 yo kids?

    [John]

    • And the parents? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Toe, The (545098) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:17PM (#28543893)

      Whatever you do, don't blame the parents for:
      1. Putting sensitive info on their computer, then
      2. Letting their kid use that computer unsupervised, while
      3. Leaving that computer relatively unguarded against intrusion.

      Sure, not every parent can be expected to be a genius, but if you're going to let children use a computer on the internet, you have responsibilities to act as a sysadmin.

      Not to mention responsibilities to act as a guardian. Just as with TV, the computer is not a babysitter. Worse, a net-connected computer is a social interaction tool where every pervert and scammer in the world has direct access to your child. And you're really going to just let them hang out alone with those people?

      • by snl2587 (1177409) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:44PM (#28544489)

        Sure, not every parent can be expected to be a genius, but if you're going to let children use a computer on the internet, you have responsibilities to act as a sysadmin.

        I'm sorry: are you joking? So many people can't even act as their own sysadmin to the point that there's little difference between a child inadvertantly downloading tons of malware and the parents' own activities. No, no: the ordinary person's computer will only be safe when the next "version" of the internet is only accessable through cryptic terminal commands and the only people online are the ones who know what they're doing.

        /semiTongueInCheekStatement

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I'm more than happy to let the laptop my wife's daughter uses get rooted. We don't keep anything important on there and frequently monitor her activities. We've explained the dangers of the internet as best as we can, and if anything losing the laptop to a several day rebuild because of things we warned her against will help her remember far better than if I lock it down so tight that it never gets infected/attacked/etc.
        • Ooooh.... Boy, where do I begin? So this laptop presumably runs on your network. The same network that has your computers on it? So her computer gets rooted and that way the attacker has access to one host on your network. How hard do you think it is to probe where the other computer are and use vulnerabilities to attack your trusted computers.

          A compromised computer on your network means that your network is compromised. End of story.

          • by PitaBred (632671)
            Speak for yourself... I only let people with untrusted computers connect to an untrusted subnet on a rate-limited WAP (no encryption). They can get to the Intarweb, but not any of my machines.
          • by sopssa (1498795)

            Even tho your nickname is Corporate Troll, do you think home networks are run like corporate networks? :)

            Theres really really small change that any hacker will 'root' her laptop. If by rooting you mean it will get infected with some worm, well, just keep your stuff and updates up to date.

            You can secure and limit activies on corporate networks better, but theres no way any normal parent will keep her kids off the internet and computer just because it might get infected.

            • You want to know? I run my home networks like as if they were a company.... because that's the right thing to do.

              I am well aware that private entities cannot secure their computer. However, once a machine is compromised on your trusted network, it is game over.... If you do not understand that you have no place in IT.

              And for the record, I have been keeping my wife of the bad parts of the internet by having a outgoing OpenBSD firewall as well as incoming, No UPnP,,,,I only allow what I esteem worthy.

              My n

      • 3. Leaving that computer relatively unguarded against intrusion.

        How exactly do you protect against your child clicking on a link, downloading a program, and executing it? Security goes out the door as soon as you choose to execute arbitrary code. A young child can't be expected to understand all of the security implications of using a computer online. I don't see a lot of blame for parents in this situation, nor for the kids (simply because they're too young to have been exposed to this before - this is where they learn not to trust people online). Ideally, you woul

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Toe, The (545098)

          How exactly do you protect against your child clicking on a link, downloading a program, and executing it?

          I can think of several ways, all of which should be practiced.

          1. Don't let your kids log in with an admin account. Heck, don't let ANYONE log in with an admin account, including yourself.

          2. Only let your kids run certain apps (at least on a Mac, this is as easy as clicking the Parental Controls option and choosing which apps to allow; dunno on Windows, but if nothing else there are 3rd party utilities for this).

          3. Tell your kids not to open e-mail from strangers.

          4. Tell your kids not to give out their e-mai

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by amicusNYCL (1538833)

            I don't think you understand the mentality of a young kid. It's easy to say "don't open things you don't know about". But then they're playing their game, and they're looking for that one item that no one else has, and someone says "I used this program to just give myself the item, it works, here's the link", the kid is not going to flash back to you telling them not to open untrusted things, they're going to be so caught up in the fact that they think they're so close to getting this item that the progra

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Toe, The (545098)

              Which is why my first two suggestions make so much sense (and are pretty much sysadmin 101). Don't let kids be admins and don't let kids execute anything but allowed apps.

              As for whether or not people could actually be expected to follow these simple rules... well, you got me there. Plenty of sysadmins aren't even clever enough to deny admin privileges to their users.

              • It seems like the consumer computing model just needs to be changed. As a software developer I realize that things that are obvious to me are not at all obvious to the people using my stuff (over 90 days, 30% of about 3,000 support calls for one application were essentially "how do I login"). I haven't used a Mac in a while, but it sounds like it would be a good policy to ship the OS with the default of the parental controls being enabled and only allowing the currently-installed applications. That way,

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Jeeze, all scammers are scum of the earth. Why would you expect them to be any different with 12 yo kids?

      hmmm... good question, so good, I think people should mod you up. Where will they get the mod points? Well, the secret Slashdot mod-point-getter! Just log into your slashdot account using their secret admin backend [string-emil.de] and you'll have all the mod points you want!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is extreme, but assuming they can be found, I think a revival of "indentured servitude" might be useful. At least until they can pay back all the money that they stole. And not to the government, either, to the victims.

    BTW - feel free to disagree with this. I don't mind. Do __try__ to be polite. Name calling is not usually very helpful and generally only reflects poorly on the poster. Not that such care.

    • Amputation. (Score:4, Informative)

      by El Jynx (548908) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:18PM (#28543913)

      Amputation. At the hip. Preferably sterilization. And THEN let them do public service for the rest of their lives.

      Ok, ok, a wee bit drastic. Or is it? It's the only way I can think of (the sterilization thing, anyway) which gives humanity a chance somewhere in the future, if not now.

  • Webkinz (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:09PM (#28543743) Homepage
    My kids never got into Neopets, but they have been really into Webkinz for the past year or so. I like the way Webkinz handles things a lot better...there are no open areas where people can chat about just anything. They can chat in common rooms, but only by picking things to say out of a list. There is no possibility of sending links or other such nastiness.

    Even sites that do have forums like Nick.com have moderators approve every post. I'm sure it's more expensive to run it that way, but I would think if your site is built to cater to young children, it's incumbent on you to either moderator-approve every posting like Nick does or limit postings to pre-approved phrases like Webkinz does. Anything else is just asking for trouble.
    • by jandrese (485)
      Do people actually use such constricted environments for actual chatting? I would think such an environment would become a ghost town populated only with macro spammers in a hurry.
      • Eight-year-olds are apparently less picky about their online freedoms than you are. Which is unsurprising, given that if their parents are smart they have pretty limited "freedom" to begin with.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hmar (1203398)
        The webkinz world is one in which children can have a limited interaction with other children (and not a few adults) while playing games and taking care of a cute virtual pet. My kids love it, they all have quite a few "friends" on Webkinz. They don't know the name, address or even gender of these friends, as the software doesn't even offer a way to ask. It is not designed for social networking or communication, it is simply a way for kids to go online and play, in a safe manner. Very little chatting goes o
      • by Culture20 (968837)

        Do people actually use such constricted environments for actual chatting?

        NAME
        JOB
        BYE

      • Do people actually use such constricted environments for actual chatting?

        A/S/L?

    • by Haoie (1277294)

      I believe this also happens on any number of virtual sites [kids, or otherwise], such as Gaia Online.

  • Solution: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Setup whitelist of sites your children can go to.

    One way of doing this is via your router (Newer D-Links have this feature).

    You can also use opendns.com, set it to filter everything desired, then make exceptions if needed.

    This prevents them from going to domains without you first checking them out. I suggest you ask them to write a sites they frequent or check their browser history to get a base whitelist.

  • by Twillerror (536681) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:15PM (#28543847) Homepage Journal

    Probably already is one of these, but can we get a plugin for Firefox that dumbs down the browser for them.

    I think one of the toy company's had a toy/software setup where kids could visit a limited amount of sites using a special controller. Something to keep them out of trouble.

    I want to give my kid a login with just a link to firefox and this plugin on the desktop. They click it an are presented with a list of safe sites. Any attempt to go outside of the domain is blocked and the sound card goes crazy with ("hey mom and dad get your ass in here and watch your kid")....hell have it text me. If the domain is safe I simply type a password and it gets added.

    Sure just surfing in Firefox will prevent some of this, but I don't want any chance of any sort of firefox bug getting exposed. Remember that even firefox can fall victim to some sort of buffer overflow.

    A little offtopic, but I think a Live CD of Ubuntu that accomplishes this would be great. Just give my kid an older computer with no harddrive and the CD and let them go...

    • or a throwaway install on a USB stick...
    • by hedwards (940851)
      It's easier than that, just set up the firewall to block traffic to and from any IPs other than 127.0.0.1, believe you me, that would get it to stop right there.
    • by fermion (181285)
      For the under 14 year old set, a white list is the only way to go. A firefox extension is one way to do it, until they start figuring out how to use IE. One might think that a filter might work, but kids know how to use proxies, even HTTPS, and will spend all day trying to get to that one site they want. Whitelists are about the only way to go.

      Separate user accounts might work, as long as the kid cannot possibly install any software. Mac OS allows this, as well as whitelists and execution restriction

      • by hmar (1203398)
        Another option, my children aren't allowed to use the computer unless I (or my wife) am in the room. They are aware of this, and also aware that I will take all the cables or the router, or if they get around that the whole damned computer, to work with me if they break that rule. The computer is absolutely not a "necessity" for a child, and I see no reason that they should have complete and unfettered access to it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by xaxa (988988)

        My parents restricted my freedoms in all the ways they could think of in the late 1990s. For instance, I was 15 before I was allowed to take the bus home from school alone, and I had to come straight home from school too (no wandering round the shops, or going to the park).

        As a result, I put myself in more danger (albeit minor, but not from their PoV), since I'd lie to them. I'd say "Can I go to X's house after school, pick me up at 9pm?" and they'd agree. Then I could do what I wanted for a few hours, get

        • This.

          I had unrestricted internet access from about age 11 (which would have been around 1994), with my own computer in my bedroom, and I even (*shock* *horror*) saw porn now and then. It somehow failed to turn me into a serial killer, neo-nazi, sex addict, communist, pedophile or whatever other boogeyman we're all supposed to fear. Mostly, it led to me discovering an early version of Slackware and turning into a huge nerd. I can barely even imagine growing up with the kind of control-freak lockdown peopl

    • ...except that people who run Firefox are probably (just guessing here) more likely to perform better computing habits anyway.

      Making Firefox safer for surfers is like trying to make people who live in the country safer from street crime.

    • by mtremsal (1554627)

      A little offtopic, but I think a Live CD of Ubuntu that accomplishes this would be great. Just give my kid an older computer with no harddrive and the CD and let them go...

      That would be edubuntu right ?
      Didn't try it. Just guessing from its name...

  • by eck011219 (851729) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:16PM (#28543865)

    My daughter spent an entire road trip (two days in the car each way) unlocking her NeoPet. The beeping was enough to make you drive with your elbows so you had both hands free to pull your ears off. Now I can simply say, "honey, if you play with your NeoPet character online, bad people will take all Daddy's money away and we'll have to live under a bridge." Aaaahhh, another aggravation averted. Thanks, scammers!

  • The real solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Informative (1347701) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:22PM (#28543999)

    The real solution is for the kids to have their own computer. And the adults do not use it for online banking, or anything else.

    It's hard to believe the cost would be a problem, but if a netbook is too dear, old PCs are being given away. Put Linux on it, and it's their online playpen.

    No need to argue about porn and whatnot. All of those concerns can be addressed depending as the age of the computer's owner varies.

    • by Em Emalb (452530)

      The real solution is for the kids to have their own computer.

      Right, cause when I own that kids computer (YAY ME, I'm the man, I can pwn a child's computer) it'll be so frigging hard to hack the parent's computer...on the same network.

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        There are ways to separate the kid machines from the sensitive boxes. However, unless one gets a BSD (or other OS of choice) box which can be configured have multiple segments that don't communicate with each other, but yet route out to the Internet, one's best bet is to have two firewalling routers. You have your edge router that connects the unwashed Internet to your subnet with the kiddie machines. On that subnet, you have another firewalling router, then the adult machines. Now, if one of the kid ma

    • That is assuming the network and computer are setup properly.

      If the computer the child uses becomes infected, the malware may try to infect other computers on the network.

      By using network sharing features, UPnP, or even a dictionary attack on other networked computers user passwords, the malware could compromise other computers on the network.

      I also believe maturity and knowledge of threats on the internet are more important than age, but we don't want any laws broken.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Remus Shepherd (32833)

      Giving kids their own computer is not a solution. You have to instruct them what is, and what it not, acceptable online.

      I'll give you an example. I visited my nephew was he around ten, and he showed me some of the online games he liked to play. A window popped up advertising some kind of contest, and asking for information. I warned him to avoid it, but he said, "Oh, I enter these things all the time. It's okay, I use my dad's email address and social security number."

      I had a talk with his father, and

      • by gnick (1211984)

        "Oh, I enter these things all the time. It's okay, I use my dad's email address and social security number."

        Umm.. Why in the hell would a parent give his SSN to a 10 year old? My kids don't even have their own SSNs at this point, much less mine.

        • My girls had SSN's within months of being born, it's used for our tax returns, their college savings plans.

          • by gnick (1211984)

            OK, maybe I phrased that badly. My kids, of course, have SSNs assigned. But I see no reason to give those numbers to them until they're ready to go off to school. I can't imagine why somebody would give his SSN to his 10 year old - I don't even understand why a 10 year old would need to know his own, much less his parents.

            • It is trivial for a smart kid to find out their parent's SSN. Go through Daddy's papers and you'll find it pretty darn quick. Right now there is a doctor bill I need to deal with on my desk, with my SSN right there on top. Thank goodness I don't have any kids.

              Even a paranoid uptight parent can't keep everything with their SSN on it out of view all the time. Heck, a lot of phone calls require you to say your SSN out loud. I still have a doctor that uses SSN for patient number, and it is viewable thro
    • The replies are all legitimate concerns, but they are still only details that you have to work out, until the time that your child knows more about computers than you do. It is still the real solution.
  • Seriously: " who direct them to sites hosting keyloggers & trojans.", not much of social engineering - if your basic setup is secure, it wouldn't work

    • True.... but how many people do you know run Windows in Limited User?

      I know many, but only because I set up their computer.... I also Administer them: you want to install a program. You have to ask me first. Yes, I know it's Administrator-Nazi, but it's the only way to protect them from themselves. Running Limited User isn't hard, but you have to know a few things and these few things are beyond the knowledge of the average user. UAC (and thus Vista) will not prevent these things. Not unless your kids

  • Gee, really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by muridae (966931) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:23PM (#28544027)

    Targeting the weakest link in the security chain? Who would have thought the spammers would do that? Alright, it's scummy to target this towards kids, but it has happened since the start of the internet. Think back to the bad old days of AOL and Compuserve chats, or telling scriptkidz that your ip address was 127.0.0.1 and to 'hack me if you dare'.

    What does surprise me, is that people are letting their kids play on websites while logged in as administrator. How computer savvy do you have to be to realize this is a bad idea. Admin on their own computer, maybe. If you make them clean up their own mess and just smile when they lose their Neopet.

    • What does surprise me, is that people are letting their kids play on websites while logged in as administrator. How computer savvy do you have to be to realize this is a bad idea. Admin on their own computer, maybe. If you make them clean up their own mess and just smile when they lose their Neopet.

      Speaking from personal experience, it takes quite a bit of savvy in order to figure it out. A lot of times, it takes an incident for them to figure out. A long while ago, my girlfriend 's little brother accidentally downloaded a ton of viruses and such (I never asked specifics, she was on a raging rant when she told me and didn't want to interrupt) and her parents removed admin status from both her and her brother's account (she needed admin access so she could get the programming software installed). That

      • by muridae (966931)

        My cousin's son did the same thing about 10 years back. No one used the computer for banking at the time, but the sudden 20 thousand dollar phone bill had them confused. They weren't even home when the computer made these phone calls to 1-900 numbers.

        It's just not new. The direct risks are, since people do store credit card and bank information now, but the scammers have always targeted whoever is using the computer, whether it is boys looking for desktop pics of hot women, men looking for midget videos, or

  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:23PM (#28544031)
    We could just get our kids real pets...
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by RobotRunAmok (595286)

      My kids have real pets, for which they very responsibly care.

      They also play Webkinz.

      What's your point? Or was that just a condescending breeder-hating snark?

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        Well, I don't have kids. Nor do my non-existent kids have neopets. ;)

        I'm not really all that against neopet-esque things. But there does seem to be a trend of having rather ignorant children. As in the old jokes, where it used to be funny, of kids thinking milk came from the milk man and wouldn't believe it could come out of a cow. I realize some of that is simply age, but it sure seems like a lot of kids are getting more and more used to using "technology" with no clue how it works or where it came fro

    • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:51PM (#28544601) Homepage

      This brings up an interesting side issue...

      At some point, we (the human race in general, although Slashdotters more specifically) will be giving our kids robotic pets. What happens when they get hacked?

    • by porcupine8 (816071) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @01:22PM (#28545247) Journal
      I dunno, I've downloaded a couple of those myself and they're even more trouble.

      First there's the TCO. Keeping them virus-free is a couple hundred a year, plus if you let your subscription to the Kibble service lapse your Pet will stop functioning completely.

      They all come preloaded with Poop.app, which can't be removed but needs constant maintenance. And in my models, at least, this sometimes will randomly upgrade itself to Poop 2.0 (code named Diarrhea) - that's a mess to clean up from your desktop, believe me.

      And mine always seem to be blocking my access to the Furniture suite of utilities - there are workarounds, sure, but it's just one more thing to keep in mind.

      Don't get me wrong, they have a lot of features that make them very worthwhile, but they're not for everyone!
  • Having no idea what Neopets was, I decided to Google it. A quick glance at the front page www.neopets.com tells me it's sort of an MMO for young kids.

    I'm no parent, but hell, the intended audience of this game should be PLAYING OUTSIDE and PRACTICING SPORTS, not learning to get hooked on MMOs. I know I was, even though my parents got me an Atari, I still had to go to swimming lessons at 6 a.m. before school (oh yeah, no heated swimming pool).

    And they wonder why obesity rates are at an all-time high, geez!!
    • by Em Emalb (452530)

      Love the fact that you put OT in the TITLE of your post and some kind moderator decided to moderate your post as off-topic.

      LOL, you think?

      back on ...er...off topic: It's okay, comrade. The government will take care of the fat kids just like they do crack babies now.

      SLOWDOWN COWBOY IT HAS BEEN ONE MINUTE SINCE YOU LAST POSTED AND YOU MUST WAIT. WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT.

    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:39PM (#28544373)

      I'm no parent

      What you do, then, is you print out your post, and save it in a safe place. Then, read it again, on your first child's 9th birthday, and realize what an ass you sounded like in your callow youth. It's very humbling, and good for the soul. When I first started posting on Usenet in 1991, before I had children, I wrote some incredibly stupid and glib things about parents and parenting. I ran across a box filled with print-outs from that era about six months ago (yes, I did print out my Usenet posts... I was in love with the sound of my own voice way back then too) and was startled by my trite ignorance. I am trying to learn from that experience in lots of ways, but it's a wisdom only painfully won.

      • Neither is any other Slashdot poster. Think about it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You're 'startled' mostly because parents spend a great deal of time compromising their [parenting] ethics away. It's hard to raise kids the way you think you will when you don't have - and 99% of all parents give up trying, while convincing themselves they aren't. (And loudly bleat "you don't have kids, you can't possibly know" to drown out their conscience.)

        And then the rest of us pay for your self delusions as yet another generation of Dr. Spock derived badly raised children reach adulthood.

        • by Ironica (124657) <pixel@boondo[ ]org ['ck.' in gap]> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:50PM (#28549373) Journal

          You're 'startled' mostly because parents spend a great deal of time compromising their [parenting] ethics away. It's hard to raise kids the way you think you will when you don't have - and 99% of all parents give up trying, while convincing themselves they aren't.

          There is definitely an element of that (google project yes badmommymoments for a really awesome essay about getting back on track).

          But I also see a metric ton of people who say they'll do this or that differently from people they know, and what they don't realize is, it WON'T WORK. Or, might not work with their kids. It turns out that children, far from being the blank slate at birth hypothesized by Piaget, have inborn personalities and temperaments that require individualized responses.

          My oldest is "low persistence," which was highly convenient in the toddler years, because I could just hold a cabinet closed for a couple minutes and then he'd forget he ever wanted to open it... but it'll be a really difficult thing for him to cope with as he gets older, and has to work at things that don't come naturally. My younger son is VERY persistent, and if I just hold the cabinet closed, he will keep trying for a good minute, then will scream and rant (at 14 months, he may not be much for talking, but yes, he can RANT), then will, I kid you not, try to FAKE ME OUT so I will let go and he can go back and open that cabinet. We never needed to install child locks and such for kid #1, but definitely need them for kid #2.

          A friend of mine followed the Continuum Concept parenting approach with her oldest, teaching him how to use the tools in his environment properly, rather than simply restricting access. At just over a year, he could put a DVD in the player right-side up, and they never had to worry about him sticking a cracker in there instead. So I asked her for advice when my oldest turned out to be the Implacable Destructo-Baby, who would systematically toss everything left on the coffee table over his shoulder, for example. She smiled, and nodded, and sort of implied I wasn't trying hard enough. Then her second hit that age, and she emailed me an apology... she now had her own Implacable Destructo-Baby, and wanted MY advice!

          So people who have never raised a kid talk about how *their* kids will do this or won't do that, but the truth is, they have NO IDEA what the implementation is going to look like until they get there.

          So while I agree that there's the issue of getting lazy and compromising one's parental ethics, I think a large part of the difference between what people say they will do and what they actually do has to do with having no idea how to actually implement their grand designs with the children they get.

          • MOD PARENT UP

            This is probably one of the most insightful things I've read here regarding the raising of children. We have four, and each is completely different (and has been since birth). Dealing with each individual child must be tailored to that unique personality. What works with one, will not work with the others.

    • Silly. Obesity comes from not taking a diet pill. Exercise and diet has nothing to do with it!

      Wait. You mean I can't believe all the ads?

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Daddy, can I come inside? It's 40 degrees out, raining, and dark."

      "No, it's not your bedtime yet."

      Yeah, you're right: you're no parent.
    • by nedlohs (1335013) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @01:33PM (#28545479)

      Because it is impossible for a kid to play baseball in the park all day and then play a video game for half an hour after dinner.

      And there's never weather conditions that make playing outside not such a great option.

      Oh wait you could have your atari and still do sports, but no one else can take part in more than one activity? You are special!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HiThere (15173)

      You clearly don't live in a city. It would be nice if nobody needed to, but most people do. Playing outside is ... risky. Traffic is only one of the reasons.

      I'll agree that staying inside at that age isn't healthy, but neither is being outside and unsupervised. (And, yes, when I was growing up I did that, and it was essentially safe. That doesn't make it safe now.)

      • by macshit (157376)

        You clearly don't live in a city. It would be nice if nobody needed to, but most people do. Playing outside is ... risky. Traffic is only one of the reasons.

        I'll agree that staying inside at that age isn't healthy, but neither is being outside and unsupervised. (And, yes, when I was growing up I did that, and it was essentially safe. That doesn't make it safe now.)

        I think it depends on a lot of factors, both the actual environment -- auto-oriented "american" cities tend to be worse than traditional people-oriented cities -- and attitude -- parents these days can be perversely risk-averse, to an extent which probably hurts their kids more than it helps.

        I live in one of the most densely populated cities in the world and tons of kids play outside. They play in side streets (which are narrow, and traffic is rare), in parks (not just large obvious parks, but small parks

        • by HiThere (15173)

          Things are less safe around here than they were even a decade ago, much less two or three. Partly it's more traffic, partly it's drivers on cell phones, partly it's "other". But it's largely that there aren't any yards to play in. (Interestingly, some of the poorer neighborhoods have much more in the way of yards.)

          There seems to be a concerted effort to reduce the size of yards. This isn't really true, but that's the effect. Really it's just people adding onto homes that exist. Eventually they'll actu

      • by adavies42 (746183)

        Playing outside is ... risky. Traffic is only one of the reasons

        more media lies. grow up and learn to think for yourself. unless you're so far into the inner-city that random gunfire is a problem (in which case you couldn't afford a PC anyway), kids are probably safer outdoors than in. remember, the vast majority of abuse is by family members.

        • by HiThere (15173)

          I think you're worrying about the wrong things. I doubt that abuse is very common (though I'll admit that it's horrific when it occurs). And traffic is actually my major worry by a considerable margin. Drivers seem to have become madmen since cell phones became common. (Pedestrians too, but they mainly endanger themselves.)

          The figures I seen say that a driver talking on a cell phone is more dangerous than a drunk driver. Think about it, and count the drivers talking on cell phones. Then realize that o

    • by eln (21727)
      And really, why won't those damn kids stay off your lawn?
    • I'm no parent,...

      That is blindingly obvious.
  • Not just kids! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by uncle-gendo (1247352)
    My 28-yo girlfriend plays it, and so do many of her 20-30-something friends... there are plenty of adults on Neopets...
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      My 28-yo girlfriend plays it, and so do many of her 20-30-something friends... there are plenty of adults on Neopets...

      Which is worse - that adults play with them, or that they admit it? In a poll, either one would be the CowboyNeal option ...

  • Parents (Score:2, Insightful)

    by frozentier (1542099)
    12 year olds have no business being unsupervised on a computer with internet access.
    • That's an easy thing to say. But to do that, you have to limit the child to being on the computer only to that length of time you are willing to do nothing else but supervise them. Half-an-hour a day? 15 minutes? Assuming that you're also using your free time with your child to read with them, help them with homework, and otherwise hang out.

      12 years old, IMO, is borderline. I would start to allow some unsupervised online time at that point. My primary concerns, in any case, wouldn't be about identity theft

      • by hmar (1203398)
        And why does a 12 year old need more time online than that? My wife stays home, but my kids are still only rarely allowed online more than 20 minutes at a time (unless they are doing a school project, but even that rarely needs a computer) It also does not require your complete attention to watch a kid on the computer. If you are reading a book, doing paper work, or helping the other child with homework, you can do that in the same room as the computer. My kids are taught to ask me before they click on anyt
        • 20 minutes? really? Way back in the stone-age, when I was a kid we'd spend hours exploring what our amazing Commodore 64s and Apple IIs could do. We'd dial into BBSs, and run our own. We'd write our own software, and tinker with other peoples' code. Sometimes we'd end up in places we weren't welcome (Hello Joshua, shall we play a game?). Our parents hadn't the vaguest understanding of what we were up to (boys? Why is the phone making a funny whistling sound? Did you hook up that video game thing to it

  • If they picked on kindergartners that would be a fair fight.

  • Honestly, I think that's pretty funny. I had no idea neopets still existed.
  • ...and we're planning to build him an Ubuntu box for his birthday. He doesn't really read yet, he just likes playing Flash games. But you can be damn sure we're going to strongly supervise web browsing early on, not to prevent him from seeing bad things (oh noes, boobies will turn your kids into murderers!!), but to prevent him from making naive mistakes about trust and security.
  • While the loss of neopets items and whatnot might be a bummer to your kid, losing your banking info would be worse to the family on a whole.

    For this reason, my kids have their own machines... All 4 of them. They range in age from 5 to 15 and they all use old P3-850 machines. If something happens to one of their boxes I simply reimage it and they're up and running again. Their accounts on those machines are also restricted "User" accts, so anything that needs to be installed has to go by me first. This cuts

    • Their accounts on those machines are also restricted "User" accts, so anything that needs to be installed has to go by me first

      They must love their sense of autonomy.

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

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