Friday, March 6, 2009

Want to keep track of what your kids are doing online?

I grew up with the Internet, before it had pictures, and yes I once visited every single website that was available on the Internet. Mind you this was the early 90s and that was no big feat back then, but a ton has changed since my days and children's accessibility and knowledge of all things computer including the web far exceeds my abilities at the same age. In a way this sometimes scares me as I know the sort of dangers I was exposed to online. I also know what sort of trouble I got into online, heh, don't even get me started as I'm most likely the queen of "things you should not do on the Internet as a kid". And though I'm totally for a child's privacy and giving them room to make their own mistakes there are just some mistakes that are not worth the risk. Not to mention the fact that my niece could use a computer well enough to get to an online game at three, and my own son knows how to turn my computer on and off as well as can manipulate my mouse well enough to open and close browsers at 20 months. I have a feeling I will be dealing with his own Internet safety sooner than I bargain for.

You know ironically it was just about a month ago a friend of mine called to ask what was a good way to monitor her kid's usage on the Internet. With a family of five kids all wanting to use the computer it has to be difficult to not only keep track of what they are doing online but keeping their Internet usage to a reasonable amount. What I didn't know then that I know now is Norton has a new tool that not only will monitor your child's usage including their keyword searches, posts on forums, and what websites they visit. It also gives you the ability to allow a child a certain amount of hours per week of Internet time. So not only do you get to track what your kid or kids do online but you can limit the amount of time they spend and even what websites they can go to. I think by far the most useful feature especially for the very young children is limiting the websites as really as far as I'm concerned non school age children do NOT need access to anything other than parent approved sites.

If you have children of different ages in the household you can set the permissions and the amount of supervision you enforce on each child based on that child's needs. Obviously an 17 year old may be ok to have supervision turned off but may need usage limits. Where a preschooler may not need a time limit but may need complete supervision and a limit on websites.

You can check it out for yourself at the Norton Online Family website! Norton Online Family is still in its beta stage of testing so that means at the moment you can try it out totally for free! Thanks Mom Central for letting us know!

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely looking into this... Thanks!

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