Thursday, April 7, 2011

Online Security for your Kids

Internet safety for your kids should be one of your top priorities as a parent. Read some of the statistics below to see just how dangerous the internet can be:

--Your child has a nearly 100% chance of meeting a predator in an online chat room
--Only about 25% of youth who encountered a sexual approach or solicitation online told their parents about it
--2 - 4 weeks is the average time it takes a child to be lured from an online relationship to a personal contact meeting
--60% of all websites (1.2 billion) are considered to be pornographic
--The average age of first exposure to online porn is 11 for boys and 13 for girls
--85% of kids surveyed said their parents are not aware of sites they visit while online
--50% of kids have encountered cyber bullying and 1 out of 4 have encountered it on more than one occasion
--73% of victims targeted by online predators were between the ages of 12 and 15 and 33% of those were initiated from social networking sites
--71% have received messages from people they do not know online
--87% of teens worry about consequences of making risky posts online
--67% of boys and 71% of girls admitted to sexting nude or semi-nude photos of themselves to friends.

After reading such alarming statistics, how could you not consider getting some sort of monitoring device to keep yourself informed what your kids are doing online. I recently saw a news segment on two companies that offer internet monitoring for parents. I still have yet to decide which of them I will be purchasing for my home but I will definitely be investing in something like that as soon as my daughter is old enough to go online. There are others besides the two below but these are ones I've chosen to research.

True Care is an online monitoring program that makes it easier for parents to keep their children safe from online social networking. It offers:

--24/7 monitoring of your child's social networking accounts whether they access it from home, school, the library, a friend's house or even via their cell or smart phones!

---Locates questionable content on your child's pages using a customziable database of over 50 key words relating to potential dangers. For example, if you are concerned that your children are talking about marijuana, sex, raves, etc, you simply customize a search that will alert you whenever the key word or words you choose are written anywhere on your child's social networking page

--Parents receive automatic e-mail alerts anytime new relevant content pertinent to your customized key word search is posted

--Know who your child's online friends are with a feature known as Friends Network and Investigate Friends links

--Program also provides one click access to locate sex offenders in your area

--Difficult for you as a parent to understand your teens language and slang terms? The program enables you to know what they are saying with a dictionary of hundreds of commonly used slang and acronym terms.

True Care is easy to use, even if you are not computer savvy. The online monitoring through True Care is provided on a membership basis and can be canceled at any time. It is not something that needs to be downloaded or installed on your computer or purchased at a store. You access the program through a user identification and password selected by you. True Care also offers a 30 day risk free trial period to see if the program is something that will work for you.

WebWatchers is different in that it's a software that needs to be purchased or downloaded and installed on your computer. Some may prefer this option as opposed to a membership service that True Care offers. Web Watchers features include:

--Monitoring of your children's key strokes in real time from anywhere

--Ability to block any webpage based on content or web address

--Read Instant Message (IM or Chat) conversations

--Read incoming and outgoing mail

--Logs every keystroke

--Take pictures of screenshots to you can see exactly what is typed, surfed, read and then show your children later if confrontation is necessary

--Record online and offline activities

--Quickly sift through data using keywords chosen by you.

--Sorts, sifts, rearranges and prioritizes recorded data instantly

--Completely invisible so your children do not know they are being monitored.

These are just some of the features offered by Web Watchers. Once the software is purchased or downloaded, you have 5 days from the date of purchase to request a refund if you are not satisfied. Parents do not need to have advanced computer skills to use the program.

Below is a page with excellent (free) online resources for parents on internet safety. Articles include Adding Privacy Settings, Starting Dialog About Internet Safety, Educational Video Tools to Watch With Your Children and more. Click Online Resources for more information.

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