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Where Ya Been Surfin’?

Where Ya Been Surfin’?

Are you suspicious that someone in your house is visiting web sites they shouldn’t? Everyone probably knows that your Web browser collects information about the places you visit and stores it on your computer. If you know where to look it’s easy to find, but it’s also easy to delete—especially by tech-savvy kids.

History files are the most obvious place to check. With Internet Explorer and Netscape , just type Ctrl+H to bring up History. There should be a list of sites visited each day and you can just click to return to the scene of the crime. If the history is empty after junior spent three hours online, then he is probably covering his tracks—you may want to make it family web-usage policy that if History files are deleted, then internet privileges will be revoked for a set period of time.

Cache Files (a/k/a Temporary Internet Files) keep temp copies of web pages visited on your computer. These make frequently visited pages come up quicker by saving them on your hard drive. With IE, just go to Tools / Internet Options then under “Temporary Internet Files” click ” Settings “.


In the Settings Window choose “View Files” and a list of all visited sites will come up.


Again, if this folder is empty after someone has been online, then you ought to be suspicious.

Cookies are files that websites leave on your system to keep track of passwords, shopping patterns, what type of pages you like, your preferences for that particular site, and more. Porn sites leave these on your computer too, so you will find them in your temporary internet file folder (Windows XP has a separate cookie file). You’ll be able to tell if there are any from porn sites.

Search for “naughty words” using Start / Search (“Find Files” in older Window OS). Even a word like “babe” could bring up cookies and image files that are still on your system.You could also search for .jpg files and see what comes up—these often remain in your temp files even after they are emptied. Double click the file to view it if you dare.

If you have kids in the house, it is a good idea to make up a family Internet Usage Contract with guidelines and rules for everyone to follow. Have your kids sign it and hold them to the rules. And, of course, you all supervise your pre-teens and check in on your teens when they are online, right?

~ David