Part 1 of this story can be read here.
I should have said that while the computer guy was here my older son talked with him a lot. My son said he didn't want the program installed. My son said that he would hack through it and the tech issued him a challenge to just try. While the program was being installed, my son was researching on the Internet and shooting out ideas and the tech was knocking done each idea one after the other and chuckling. My son continued to be annoyed at the idea of the parental controls so my husband and I explained that if he would only do the work as required by law then he would have free time to do as he pleased. Goofing off during the school day and not doing the assignments completely then wanting the night off for fun also is just not going to continue to happen.
We had our first homeschool day as I explained in yesterday's post. After dropping the kids off at practice I came home and started wondering if my son did something he should not have as he was no longer acting angry and almost was acting a bit smug. Knowing him, he would have been tense and angry at the new restrictions if the restrictions were working. I called my husband to say hello and he told me that our son phoned him to say he found a way to hack through. I was not happy.
A little while later I received the batch of emails from KidsWatch reporting to me the usage on my younger son's computer. Users can select to receive any number of reports. One that we see is the list of websites frequented, how many times and at what time of day. Another shows all the computer programs used (such as PC based video games). I did not get a report for my older son which was a red flag that something had been tampered with.
When my husband walked in the door he said that our son said on the car ride home, that not only had he hacked through the program but he uninstalled it from his laptop. This was accomplished by finding a program that was free online to get all the computer's passwords (a program which will remain unamed). The system had been set up as usual through Windows so he cracked it by getting the admin Windows password then uninstalling with with permission as the admin.
I lost it at that point. I didn't yell or scream. I simply exited the room, shut my bedroom door and locked it, went into the walk-in closet with a box of tissues and the portable phone. I broke down and cried. Then I phoned a friend who has a child who was every bit as obstinate and oppositional as my son. I poured my heart out. After perhaps an hour I asked my husband to come in and speak with me.
I explained that I felt we had a breach of trust which went above and beyond anything that had ever happened before. I said that I felt that my son was showing that he was unwilling to do the schoolwork by his own choosing, because he refused by spending his time on YouTube entertainment videos, sneaking entertainment videos on NetFlix instead of watching the educational documentary he was assigned. He was also not abiding by our authority to do either the assigned work or to work within the constraints of the parental control software. He also had not been meeting deadlines for his live local chemistry class so the teacher's authority was being defied as well. I felt that he was exploiting and misuing the privileges with the systems that we put in place to be used for academic pursuits (provided a laptop for homeschool work and it was mainly being used for entertainment).
I felt that not only did I have no control but I was unable to guide or facilitate and also that my son showing by his actions and inactions that he was unable to lead himself. I decided at that point in time that perhaps it was time to stop homeschooling because it felt like it was something I was trying to do "to him" not "with him". Homeschooling was also something he was refusing to do to and for himself also.
And so my investigation into what school to enroll my son began. I'll share the next part of the story in another blog post.
KidsWatch update: I should also report here though that in a survey I received from KidsWatch asking if we were satisfied with the free trial I used the free text area to tell about how easy it was to hack. The program had been installed through Windows. An employee contacted me with directions on how to install the program linked to the root of the operating system that was virtually unhackable. When my husband gets time he is going to reinstall that software.