CYBERsitter 11 – Keeping Your Children Safe on the Net

CYBERsitter 11 understands that the Internet is a great tool for children, but also recognizes that children and parents need help to explore it safely.  Parents can not monitor their children’s Internet usage 24/7.  CYBERsitter fills in the gaps where parents can not. 

A feature of CYBERsitter 11 is it allows different users to have differet filtering settings.  Parents can customize the settings for each member of the family.  Upon install, CYBERsitter will immediately block “adults only” websites for all users.  Parents can further customize the settings on an as-needed basis. Because the software allows multiple user profiles, each family member must log off after each use. 

A lot of other filtering programs can inadvertently block non-adult content. CYBERsitter solves this problem by allowing users to customize the settings according to what they want to block online and what they wish to allow.  Certain search terms may be deemed as being adult when they are not. When your child is doing research online for a school paper, parents can feel confident that they will still be able to access appropriate websites. 

This software also has a time-out option.  When your child reaches a pre-determined time limit, the connection will automatically time-out, causing them to be disconnected from the Internet. Even when you’re away, you can be sure that your child is adhering to the time limit for Internet use.  Parents can set-up times for the Internet to be active, and a time they want it to shut down. An administrator user name and password are required to modify these settings. 

CYBERsitter 11 monitors social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.  It can record your child’s status updates and conversations. Parents can also opt to block instant messaging applications.    Children can run into some dangerous situations while accessing these sites.  People are not who they always claim to be. 

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Online Safety for Children and Teens

In order to keep your children and teens safe online, it is important that parents know some simple tips about online safety.  Remind your children not to provide personal information includuing but not limited to their family situation, school, phone number or address. Children do have rights when it comes to internet use. They are not required to give out private information to anyone, without the expressed permission of their parents. This includes websites from reputable companies. 

The biggest threat to security is making plans to meet with someone they met online. Remember, you never know for sure whether the people they meet online are who they seem. If your child feels that it is appropriate to meet someone they met online, ensure that they talk with their parents beforehand and never go to the meeting alone.  If your child insists on meeting in person, talk with the parents of the other person. Parents should join their child or teen on the first meeting. Make plans to meet in a public place like a coffee shop or mall and NEVER go alone.

Keep in mind that not everyone is who they say they are.  An example of this is a person might say they are 14 year old girl form Minnesota but in reality they are a 45 year old male from Nevada looking to meet under-age girls or boys.

The Internet is useful and contains a vast information resource.  Your children can access of all types of information. With little or no effort, your child can come across sites that contain violent, hateful, and explicit sexual content. In addition, there are many sites that give instructions about how to make drugs, bombs, and other dangerous items. Make using the Internet a family activity. Place your computer in a family or living room and check the screen periodically. Be involved with what your children are doing online. Let them teach you about Internet if they are more familiar with it than you.

The internet is a great resource and by adhering to some simple online safety tips, your children should be allowed to navigate and explore the internet with confidence.

PC Tattletale- Parental Computer Monitoring Software

PC Tattletale adequately covers the basics of computer monitoring software for parents. It includes e-mail monitoring, chat room monitoring and can capture screen shots of the websites your child has visited. It also has a couple of extra features too. A great feature is that PC Tattletale is virtually invisible once installed. It will not appear on the Start menu, task bar, or the Windows Program Files folder. Children will not be able to uninstall PC Tattletale even if they happen to discover the program. It is securely protected with an administrator password.

PC Tattletale can recognize certain URL’s or keywords/phrases and block those dangerous sites. This feature is generally only found in more expensive products. Another important feature is an advanced screen shot system. A parent can “play back” screen shots and get a full view of what websites your child has visited. PC Tattletale can note the date, time,and user when the screen shot was taken. A hidden password-protected directory is in place to prevent even the most tech-savvy teens from detecting this software. A parent can easily access this directory and can and quickly browse through the screen shots via VCR-like play. This includes fast forward and rewind controls.

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