Saving Kids from the Dangers of Social Networks

With parental controls, social network monitoring, and Internet filtering, Trend Micro Online Guardian gives parents the tools they need to keep up with their children’s Internet and social networking activities, says the Internet security company Trend Micro. 

So they can take action to keep children safe while they are using their cell phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.

Also, in an effort to educate teens about how to be smart about what they post and share online, the Ad Council has embarked upon a new collaborative initiative, the Internet Safety Coalition. It is developed to provide research-based messages to teens and their parents. (Read: Leaders Join Hands for Online Safety of Youth)

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“Keeping our kids safe online is critical. As busy parents who may or may not have the technical know-how, it’s hard to keep up with our kids online,” said Carol Carpenter, executive general manager for the consumer and small business units at Trend Micro and also a mother of two digitally savvy kids.

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It is estimated that over 90 percent of kids aged 12 to 17 are on the Internet and over 70 percent of teens have a social networking profile. To fully attain the social networking sites’ benefits, these sites require users to provide personal information.

While social networks are heavily used by millions to keep relatives up-to-date, find lost friends, or make new ones, they can also be popular places for people who have bad intentions.

Risks such as unwanted contact, scams or identity theft, computer security issues, cyberbullying, and harming one’s reputation are things parents need to watch out for, suggests Trend Micro.

[ Also Read: Kids-only New Social Network for Tweens ]

While young adults and teenagers are concerned about the risks that come with social networking sites, they don’t always act on that concern.

  • 68 percent of teens have at some point accepted friend requests from people they don’t know.
  • 31 percent of teens have shared content on social networking sites they do not want their family or teachers to see.
  • 18 percent of teens have been disciplined as a result of sharing something on a social network.
  • While 56 percent of teen girls feel social networks help them feel more connected to friends, 68 percent have reported having negative experiences on them.

Trend Micro Online Guardian allows parents to:

  • Monitor Internet activities 24/7 on web sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr.
  • View browsing history, wall postings, messages, photos and videos (shared and viewed), and chat logs to help prevent damage to their reputation.
  • Stop access to adult and other inappropriate content.
  • Limit Internet time and set daily access schedules.
  • Block sharing of personal information to shield kids from online predators, identity thieves and cybercriminals.
  • Install on as many computers as needed and monitor up to five children.

Trend Micro Online Guardian is available for purchase at a retail price of USD$49.95 starting March 7, 2011 in the U.S. through retailers and the Trend Micro online store.

It will also be available through retail channel partners in select countries worldwide, and at various retail locations online.

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Rakesh Raman