Parental controls for the parent

Big Brother AustraliaBig Brother made its return to the box last night. And I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ve been a devoted fan since 2001, since my now 14-year-old was a funny little toddler of 3.

My daughter joined me on the couch not too many years after, and it became ‘appointment viewing’, as they say, in our family each year. The opening strains of the theme song at the start of the first episode, signaling the start of each new three-month season, brought much excitement, year after year. And I remembered the hole in my life when the season finished. When you dedicate that much time and energy to a project over three months, there is a real feeling of emptiness to contend with.

I know this must sound terribly sad, especially to people who don’t get the appeal of Big Brother (of which there must be many in my age bracket).

Because the show has been on hiatus for four years, I’d actually forgotten about my previous levels of engagement. Watching last night, it started to come back to me. I remembered how addicted I was to the Big Brother website, checking the forums constantly – WHILE WORKING – to see what new gossip or tidbits equally nutso fans were posting. The website also used to post live updates on what was going on in the house – I’d be refreshing the browser every ten minutes or so to get the latest as soon as it happened, before watching the televised version at night. Yep, I was a Big Brother tragic.

Remembering this last night, I mentioned it to my daughter – who was a bit shocked I think, and may even have lost a little respect for me. I have a lot of work on right now, and really can’t afford an addiction like that again. I wondered aloud if you could lock someone out of just one website. Well, didn’t that bring her to life. “Yes, you can!” she exclaimed, jumping up to race to my laptop to exact a little bit of child-to-parent revenge. I didn’t try to stop her. Unlike most teenagers, I knew it was for my own good.

So I now have a parental lock on the Big Brother website on my computer. But in a classic newbie fail, she forgot I had two browsers on my computer, and she only put the lock on Firefox and not on Safari.

She has a lot to learn.

Have you ever used parental controls on your computer? Or would you?

Blocking websites

If you need to block a website on your home or child’s computer, there are a few different methods.

To manage time spent on sites:

Firefox: install LeechBlock. This is good for managing sites that waste time, locking your teenager out for fixed time periods and/or after a time limit. You might use it to restrict their time on Facebook, for example, during the school week. Find out more
Safari and Chrome: install the extension WasteNoTime. Works similarly to LeechBlock above. Find out more

To block sites altogether:

Firefox: install the add-on BlockSite. You will create a password before entering the address of the website to block. Find out more
Internet Explorer: click ‘Tools’ from the menu bar and select ‘Internet options’. Select the ‘Content’ tab and click ‘Enable’ to enable the content advisor. This will open a pop up window – select the ‘Approved sites’ tab, enter the full address in the text box of the site you want to block and click ‘Never’. You will then be asked to set a password for the IE content advisor system so no one else can remove the block. Find out more.
Mac Parental Controls: apart from the browser add-ons, the other method if you own a Mac computer is through the parental controls in Account Preferences.ย  Find out more.




  1. Haha… that’s funny! I forgot how addicted I got to the old episodes too! I’ve chosen not to watch it this year (we’ll see how long that lasts though :-/ hehe)
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  2. Priceless.
    I was a massive BB fan when the show first started in the UK, I was totally hooked for the fist 4 years. Then it started going off the rails a bit and I lost interest. I’ve never seen the Aussie version – perhaps I should check it out!
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  3. I never saw the fascination in BB. Maybe coz I was out of the country when the initial hype happened. My husband’s the worse kind – he’s a closet BB viewer. As soon as I walk in the room, he changes channel.
    Parental control on computer? Hells…YES!!!
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  4. Ha ha ha, This sounds like something i need. Thanks for sharing!
    I forgot i BB was on and watched Once upon a time. ๐Ÿ™‚
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  5. I’m not at that stage yet but I think my daughter wld like me to put a permanent lock on my iPad.
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  6. That is gold! I hope my kids are clever enough to do this for me when they grow up. I have quite an addictive personality (take this blogging for instance) and could use a little discipline! I was a little bit excited about the new Big Brother too ๐Ÿ™‚
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  7. Never had to use the parental controls, but am sure I will have to one day. I have always watched BB too. Think I will keep watching it this season, but am not sure I have the same enthusiasm for it so far… Early days!!!
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  8. I am a mad BB fan!! ALl the UK and US series are fabulous.. aussie.. mmm it may take me a while to get into!
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  9. Ha ha! Guess you will have to give self control a work out as well! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I didnt know about parental locks, but if I needed to use them I definitely would. Nothing wrong with admitting you need help!
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  10. We watched BB from the first season as well, and our daughter was in love with Sara-Marie. She used to jump up and down when it came on and shout her name. I remember ringing my husband when he was driving home late from work when the last show of the first season was on because I had to give him a running commentary on who won. Our enthusiasm waned a bit over the years but for some reason we were really excited to see this new season. Has to be better now its on nine.
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    • Ha! You sound as passionate as I was about that first season. My partner at the time walked in the door after 3 weeks away and apparently I glanced at him and said “Oh hi” before returning to the TV screen. Terrible.

  11. I had to block Redtube from my teenage son after his friends showed him it and I used parental controls on times he was allowed to use the computer ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sadly, I’ve never been a BB fan. I read the book !

    • Trish, I’d never heard of Redtube. Thanks for the heads-up – I just Googled it. There are probably a whole heap of other similar sites! Great to hear how you used parental controls to manage when he was using the computer. It might come to that in this household too.

  12. Lol. I watched BB for the first season and enjoyed it (can’t believe that was 2001!). I haven’t watched it since thankfully. I can get a little obsessive about things like that too. I don’t want to say how many times I have visited and re-watched clips on the voice website. Glad your daughter has got your addiction under control!



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