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Parent Tips > Health Care & Wellness > Technology Safety

Choosing Internet Safety Software...for YOUR Family

Submitted By: Joshua F. Finer, MBA - President, Software4Parents.com

 

Parents are quickly becoming aware that Internet Safety is an important issue to deal with. However, many don't know what the first step is, or what type of software products are even available. Sometimes the range of choices can be overwhelming. However, it is our #1 priority at Software4Parents.com to help you choose a great product to keep your children safe online!


There are two main types of Internet Safety software:

MONITORING SOFTWARE - This is software that lets parents see everything their kids are doing online. It can be installed either totally invisible or in a mode that warns children that they are being watched. Monitoring software can record every single email, instant message, chat session, website, and even children's passwords.

FILTERING SOFTWARE - This is software that blocks kids from inappropriate websites such as pornography, hate, violence, or generally any other topic a parent does not want their child to see. It is usually quite customizable (parent can add words/phrases that interest them) and also has some supplemental features: the ability to limit the amount of time kids spend online, privacy filters that can prevent a child from revealing their name, address, phone, or any other personal detail, etc.

 

Once you decide if you are more interested in MONITORING or FILTERING, the next step is which specific product is best for your needs.


MONITORING PRODUCTS

Our #1 recommendation for monitoring software is Spector PRO. It recently won PC Magazine Editor's Choice for "Activity Monitoring" and is by far the easiest, most reliable, and
best supported package we sell. It is also our #1 seller. It captures ALL instant messages, ALL email (including Hotmail and Yahoo mail) all websites, keystrokes, and more. However, to view what has been recorded with Spector PRO, a parent must sit down at the computer to access it.

For parents who may work late or travel a lot, a REMOTE MONITORING solution may be best. eBlaster is similar in features to Spector PRO, but will EMAIL you the recorded information remotely. That way, if your child comes home from school and you are still working, you can set it to email you exactly what they are doing while you are at work. eBlaster is also a very reliable product and includes live phone support, just like Spector PRO.


Last is our best value monitoring package: IamBigBrother. It includes most of the same features as Spector PRO, but only has email based tech support available. This product is best for people who are somewhat computer familiar, and are comfortable downloading and installing software with limited tech support.


FILTERING PRODUCTS

Our #1 recommendation for filtering is Cyber Sentinel. It is based on words and phrases that are totally customizable, but also the context in which these are used. The software is very easy to use and flexible, and includes live phone support. Features include: web/email/chat blocking, time limitations, privacy filters and more. One limitation is that you can only set up a "master" profile - not separate preferences for different children.


For parents with children of different ages, Net Nanny may be a good choice. It is similar in features to Cyber Sentinel, but you can set up specific preferences for each child who uses the Internet in your home. That way, you can be more flexible with a 16 year old, but more restrictive with a 11 year old. Please note that Net Nanny is NOT for AOL users!

Lastly, we have Cyber Patrol - our most expensive product. Cyber Patrol is licensed on a yearly basis...all other products are a one time fee only. Cyber Patrol has similar features but is even more powerful as it allows various categories of content to be blocked or unblocked.


Overall, choosing a safety product can seem like a tough task, but with the right experts and advice, it does not have to be. Please feel free to email us with questions specific to YOUR family!

 

Resource: Joshua Finer, Internet Safety expert and CEO of Software4Parents.com - Please feel free to email us at support@software4parents.com for help choosing!

 

 

Guideliness for Parents of Pre-Teens (under 9)

Submitted By: savekids.com

NOTE: This advice is for parents of young children. As children get older, especially as they enter their teens, they generally get more freedom. For example, it is now commonplace and usually safe for teens to post (unprovocative)photographs and give out the name of their school, though this of course varies depending upon the situation.


By taking responsibility for your children's online activities, parents can greatly minimize any potential risks of being online. Make it a family rule to:

 

* If your child is young - say under 7 - consider being with your child when he or she is on the Internet. Children at this age can become confused or upset if they come across content that they don't understand or that might be inappropriate for their age.

 

* Warn your child not to give out identifying information- Kids should never give out home address or telephone number or when they are home alone in a public message such as chat or social networking sites, and be sure you're dealing with someone that both you and your child know and trust before giving it out via E-mail. Teenagers often give out school information on social web sites but kids under 13 should avoid doing so.

 

* Get to know the services your child uses. If you don't know how to log on, get your child to show you. Find out what types of information it offers and whether there are ways for parents to block out objectionable material.

 

* Never allow a child to arrange a face-to-face meeting without parental permission. If a meeting is arranged, make the first one in a public spot, and be sure to accompany your child.

 

* Remind your children to never respond to messages that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening, or make them feel uncomfortable. Encourage your children to tell you if they encounters such messages. If you or your child receives a message that is harassing, of a sexual nature, or threatening, forward a copy of the message to your service provider and ask for their assistance.


* Remember that everything you read online may not be true. Any offer that's "too good to be true" probably is. Be very careful about any offers that involve your coming to a meeting or having someone visit your house.

 

*Set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use by your children (see "Kids Rules for Online Safety"). Discuss these rules and post them near the computer as a reminder. Remember to monitor their compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your children spend on the computer. A child or teenager's excessive use of online services or bulletin boards, especially late at night, may be a clue that there is a potential problem. Remember that personal computers and online services should not be used as electronic babysitters.

 

* Consider using parental controls but know their limitations
There are software tools available that can limit what your child can see or say online. Some block objectionable websites and others will attempt to prevent your child from revealing personal information. Still others will monitor what your child does online and report back to you. Some controls are included with Microsoft Vista and Macintosh OS X. These tools can be useful, especially for younger children but before you rely on such tools, know their limitations. They only protect your child on the computer(s) where they're installed - not on other computers or cell phones. And older kids can often get around these filters.


* Be sure to make this a family activity. Consider keeping the computer in a family room rather than the child's bedroom. Get to know their "online friends" just as you get to know all of their other friends.


* Remember there are many ways to access the Internet. It's not just computers, but mobile phones and game machines too.

 

Tracking Kids Online - Cookies

Submitted By: The Online Mom - www.theonlinemom.com

A short while ago, we wrote about the practice of web sites and other interested parties placing small computer programs or "cookies" on people's computers to track them as they move around the Internet. A lot of the time, these cookies are helpful, allowing web sites to remember passwords, buying history, and other useful information.

 

Other cookies are not so welcome. Ad networks install tracking tools to find out about our likes and dislikes, so they can serve up more relevant ads. You may have noticed that some ads have a habit of following you from one web site to the next in an almost magical fashion. Blame tracking tools: a cookie has reported that you have an interest in a particular topic or product and has told the network to keep serving you the same targeted ads.

 

Now, a wide ranging investigation into online privacy by the Wall Street Journal has found that popular children's web sites install more tracking software than the top web sites aimed at adults.

 

The Journal looked at 50 of the most popular sites among U.S. children and teens. In total, the sites placed over 4,000 cookies, "beacons" and other pieces of tracking technology. That's over 80 cookies per site and 30% more than the 50 most popular U.S. sites overall.

 

The worst offender was Snazzyspace.com, a site that helps teens customize their social networking pages. A total of 248 tracking tools were discovered, most of them placed by advertisers.

 

Although tracking tools do not normally collect names and addresses, they can be used to build a detailed individual profile, such as location, age, gender, race, tastes, and shopping habits. From there, it's relatively easy for agencies to tailor ad banners and other specific marketing messages.

 

It's also not unusual for the data-collection companies to sell the tracking information to third parties, without knowing how the information is going to be used. While it might be OK for a 14-year-old girl to receive ads for teen magazines or TV shows, it's quite another matter if she is served up promotional information for diet pills.

 

Current federal law requires that web sites obtain parental permission before collecting "personal information" such as name, e-mail address or phone number from children under the age of 13. The FTC is considering whether to broaden the definition of personal information to include data "collected in connection with online behavioral advertising."

 

In the meantime, kids and parents can limit the number of cookies placed on their computers by adjusting their Internet browser privacy settings.

 

The Real Dangers to Kids Online and How to Avoid Them

Submitted By: Joshua F. Finer, MBA - President, Software4Parents.com

Did you know...?
1 out of 5 kids has been sexually solicited online
1 out of 4 kids has been sent a picture of naked people or people having sex online
May 21, 2002 there was the first death of a child linked directly to an Internet Predator?

Parents' biggest concern about the Internet used to be pornography, but there is definitely a greater fear today.

 

You have probably taught your child not to talk to strangers, and in many situations, they would remember this. But the Internet is different.

 

Due to the Internet's anonymity, strangers are talking to children all the time. They try to gain the child's trust by having friendly conversation at first, but over time, their true objective of sexually soliciting the child becomes evident. Children and parents alike are unaware of this, yet this is exactly what is going on via the Internet.

 

What can today's parent do? Armed with information, there's quite a bit a parent can do.

Software4Parents.com's Top 5 Internet Safety Tips:

 

1. Tell your child to NEVER EVER reveal their name, address, phone number or any other personal information to ANYONE online. Once you give out this information, it is impossible to retract.

 

2. Communicate regularly (not just once) with your child about WHAT they do online and WHO they talk to online. If you have actually met the friends they are talking to in person, you'll know it is OK for them to chat with them online.

 

3. Take computers out of kids' rooms and put them into public areas such as the family room. Many parents think they are helping with homework by giving the kids a computer, but it also opens certain dangers that you may be unaware of.

 

4. Choose your child's screen name, email address or instant message name wisely - don't' reveal ages, sex, hobbies, and CERTAINLY NOT suggestive or sexy names. Predators are more likely to pursue a child with the screen name "sexyteen5" than "happygirl5"

 

5. Use technology to help you protect your child. Monitoring software gives you the ability to review your child's Internet usage. Even if you don't look at each and every email or instant message they send, you'll have a good idea if they are making smart choices online.

 

The Internet can open many doors and provide useful information for children. An aware and informed parent can help keep children safe.

 

Software For Parents - Internet, Email & Mobile Phones

Here's some of the best Software for parents we've found:

 

INTERNET:
MonitoringNet Nanny 6.5
-Net Nanny remains PCMag's Editors' Choice for traditional parental control. It does everything you'd expect and goes beyond the competition in real-time per-page content analysis and resistance to attack by budding hackers.The newest version includes a new filtered search function and now also blocks pop-up and pop-under ads. NEW: Net Nanny Mobile version...keep your child's cell phone safe!

Safe Eyes -Safe Eyes 6.0 focuses more on what the family likes to do online than on how to control what they do, though it retains all its protective features. Its online activity reporting needs work, but it's still the best choice for families using both Macs and PCs.

 

Spector Pro - It was awarded the coveted Editor's Choice by PC Magazine. Records emails, chats, IM, web sites, keystrokes typed and ALL FACEBOOK. PLUS includes Internet time Blocking and danger alerts! Version for MAC users, too!


SOCIAL NETWORKING:
IamBigBrother 10
-Want to know what all those Facebook Messages say?? IamBigBrother will record ALL incoming AND outgoing Instant Messages, AOL, and MySpace. Gets web based email and BOTH sides of chat, keystrokes and screenshots. Very easy to use spy software.


MOBILE PHONES:
Cell Spy Software
- Do you know how your teen is using their cell phone? If you are paying the bill, you have a right! Secretly check tex messages, all calls, pictures, GPS and more. Very full featured, easy to use, and secret. Works with most cell phones.

Net Nanny Mobile - Now available w/Net Nanny monitoring.


EMAIL:
eBlaster
- It is the ONLY software in the world that will capture their incoming and outgoing email and then IMMEDIATELY forward that email to you. eBlaster also captures BOTH sides of chat, instant messages, all keystrokes, websites and screenshots. Download today.


PC Magazine's Parental Control & Monitoring Software Review>>>

 

Setting Strict Rules for Using the Internet

Submitted By: The Online Mom - www.theonlinemom.com

As your children move from pre-school through elementary school and on to becoming fully-fledged tweens, their curiosity will mount and they will start to be exposed to a whole world of outside influences. From playground chatter to sleepovers, from Zack and Cody to High School Musical, your children will rapidly learn that there is a lot of stuff going on out there that they aren't exposed to in the cozy confines of the family home.

 

Much of this activity will center on the Internet. Whether it's the latest cool web site to visit or a social networking site that everyone at school is on, there will be pressure to push back the frontiers of what's allowed and where they can go. This will no doubt result in conversations that feature lines like "Well, everybody else does it!" or "We were allowed to when I stayed at Ben's house!".


A good way to reduce these mini-confrontations is to have a firm set of rules in place. Now, these rules are not universal - what suits your children may be very different from what suits your neighbor's children - but having rules in place is essential for your peace of mind and theirs.

 

Make the rules as strict as you like or as flexible as you like but make them together. Make sure your children understand what each rule means and why it is in place. If a rule is going to be relaxed later - like no Facebook or MySpace pages - tell them when that is likely to be. And make it conditional on them following the rules that are currently in place.

Above all, make sure that your children understand they are your family rules, not anyone else's, and you expect them to follow the rules inside and outside the home. If they are going on a play date or a sleepover, make sure the other parents understand your rules or steer them away from the computer altogether.

 

Need some suggestions? Here are a few recommendations for establishing guidelines for the 9 - 12s:

* Decide when each child can be on the computer and for how long. If you have more than one child, draw up a roster and keep it next to the family computer. You can always "reward" a child with extra sessions if you think it's merited.
* For younger children, agree a list of web sites that each child can go to. (These can be programmed into parental software controls.) Again, keep it next to the computer. If your child wants to visit a new site, make sure he knows he needs your permission and, if it's OK, it gets added to the list.
* Share your Internet guidelines with the parents of your children's best friends and the families that they spend the most time with.

And some hard and fast rules for your children to follow:

* Never give out personal information. No last names, addresses, telephone numbers, birthdays or school info.
* Let a parent know if you are ever asked for this information.
* Ask permission before downloading games, movies or other programs.
* Agree on passwords with your parents and write them down next to the computer.
* Restrict all e-mail to family and an approved list of friends. Never respond to e-mail or instant messages from people you don't know.
* If anyone says or does something online that makes you uncomfortable or upsets you, tell your parents.

 

IM & Texting Acronym Glossary

121 one to one
143 I love you
182 I hate you
420 marijuana
4eae for ever and ever
86 over
aaf as a friend
aas alive and smiling
aatk always at the keyboard
adih another day in hell
adip another day in paradise
aeap as early as possible
afaik as far as I know
alap as late as possible
aml all my love
asap as soon as possible
a/s/l age, sex, location
ayatmtb and you are telling me this because?
aysos are you stupid or something?
ayt are you there?
b4n bye for now
bau business as usual
bbl be back later
bcnu I'll be seeing you
beg big evil grin
bf boyfriend
bff best friends forever
bfn bye for now
bl belly laughing
btdt been there done that
btw by the way
brb be right back
bwdik but what do I know
cb chat brat
csl can't stop laughing
cu see you
cul8r see you later
cuns see you in school
cwot complete waste of time
cyr ma call your mother
cyt see you tomorrow
degt don't even go there
deti don't even think about it
dhyb don't hold your breath
diku do I know you?
dk don't know
dkdc don't know don't care
dltbb don't let the bed bugs bite
dltm don't lie to me
dnbl8 do not be late
dyfm dude, you fascinate me
dyhab do you have a boyfriend
dyhag do you have a girlfriend
dyjhiw don't you just hate it when
eg evil grin
ema what is your email address?
eod end of discussion
em excuse me?
ewi emailing while intoxicated
f2f face to face
ff friends forever
fmtyewtk far more than you ever wanted to know
foaf friend of a friend
fofl falling on the floor laughing
fomcl fell off my chair laughing
fos full of sh
ftbomh from the bottom of my heart
ftr for the record
fubar f up beyond recognition
fud fear, uncertainty and doubt
fwiw for what it's worth
fyeo for your eyes only
fyf from your friend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


g1 good one
gal get a life
gbh great big hug
gf girlfriend
ggoh got to get out of here
gmab give me a break
gmta great minds think alike
goi get over it
gol giggling out loud
gos gay or straight
gr8 great
gth go to hell
h&k hugs and kisses
hb hurry back
hf have fun
hhok ha ha, only kidding
hsik how should I know
ibrb I'll be right back
idk I don't know
idky I don't know you
ihno I have no opinion
ikwym I know what you mean
ily I love you
ilu I love you
iykwim if you know what I mean
imo in my opinion
imho in my honest (humble) opinion
ipn I'm posting naked
irl in real life
iwalu I will always love you
iukwim if you know what I mean
iukwimaitud if you know what I mean and I think you do
jik just in case
jk just kidding
jt just teasing
jtlyk just to let you know
jw just wondering
kfy kiss for you
kit keep in touch
koc kiss on the cheek
kol kiss on the lips
kpc keeping parents clueless
l8r later
ldr long distance relationship
lmho laughing my head off
lmirl let's meet in real life
lmk let me know
lol laugh out loud
lulab love you like a brother
lulas love you like a sister
luwamh love you with all my heart
ly love you
lyl love you lots
mitin more info than I needed
moos member of the opposite sex
moss member of the same sex
mos mom over shoulder
musm miss you so much
naz name, address, zip
ne1thr anyone there?
nmu not much, you?
noyb none of your business
np no problem
nqa no questions asked
nt no thanks
ntim not that it matters
nuff enough said
nw no way!
omdb over my dead body
omg oh my god!

orly oh really?
p911 parent alert
pal parents are listening
panb parents are nearby
paw parents are watching
pda public display of affection
pir parent in room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


pm private message
pos parent over my shoulder
pov point of view
prw parents are watching
ptb please text back
rb@y right back at ya
rlf real life friend
rme rolling my eyes
rngl8 running late
rofl rolling on the floor laughing
ruok are you OK?
rumorf are you male of female?
rut are you there
ruup4it are you up for it?
s2u same to you
sh sh happens
sit stay in touch
spst same place, same time
stfu shut the f up
str8 straight
stys speak to you soon
swalk sealed with a loving kiss
swl screaming with laughter
syl see you later
sys see you soon
tiail think I am in love
tic tongue-in-cheek
tisc this is so cool
tm trust me
tmi too much information
topca 'til our paths cross again
toy thinking of you
ttys talk to you soon
tw teacher watching
tbc to be continued
tbd to be determined
tcoy take care of yourself
tfn thanks for nothing
tgif thank god it's Friday
uok are you OK?
vm voice mail
weg wicked evil grin
wibni wouldn't it be nice if
wtf what the f?
wtgp want to go private
wuf where are you from?
wuwh wish you were here
wycm will you call me?
wyrn what's your real name?
xoxo hugs and kisses
xtc ecstasy
ydkm you don't know me
yoyo you're on your own
yt you there?
yttt you telling the truth?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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