Nowadays, Internet crime is becoming a big concern. Many people have been cheated by unscrupulous predators who take advantage of their good faith or innocence. Since children have access to chat rooms, social networks, message forums, and date sites, they are open to the dangers of Internet crime. Parents are becoming worried because there have been cases where children go missing after communicating with some stranger on the Internet. Recent studies at the Michigan State University (MSU) show that among people who fall prey to cyber crime, the highest percentage is represented by students and teenagers.
Why Monitor Your Kids?
Parents should not make the mistake of assuming that the Internet is just a virtual world. On the contrary, there have been enough instances to prove that serious relationships can be formed over the Internet. If adults can fall prey to Internet predators, wouldn’t children and teenagers be easier targets? Parents should be very alert to the risks because online predators have a way to draw the children in, gaining their confidence. At the opportune moment, they will strike, causing unimaginable damage. If you don’t monitor your kids’ activities on the Internet, they may be too far from your reach when you discover that something is not right. Here are some of the facts that show that it is very important to monitor your kids.
- Research has shown that 1 out of every 5 victims is a teenager.
- In cases where online predators send inappropriate sexual content to children, only 25 percent of them inform their parents.
- More than 75 percent of children reveal their personal information on social networking sites, inviting more danger.
- Many predators are young people who can easily win the trust of children and teenagers.
Ways They can be Monitored through Technology
If technology can be used to divert a person from the right path, it can also be used to help a person stay on the right path. Technology can be used to prevent kids from falling prey to immoral elements or other risks. Parents can use various types of products and services to keep track of their children’s website visits as well as their physical whereabouts. Here is a list of some useful technology.
- GPS System: With the GPS system, parents can locate their children by tracking their cell phones.
- Rescue Time: The Rescue Time software helps parents to keep track of their children’s website visits. The software saves the records which can be viewed by the parents to find out what websites their kids visited on the Internet.
- Stealth Mode: The program makes it possible for parents to view their children’s online activities, secretly.
- Spy Cobra: The computer surveillance system can be used to download all the keystrokes that have been typed on the keyboard. The gathered information is saved and hidden so only you can access it when you plug in the specially configured USB.
Phones: Monitoring Text Messaging and Phone Call
Parents can also monitor their children’s text messages and phone calls with the appropriate spy software. This way, they will know when the kids are receiving calls and messages from a person who is not in the list of names which have been approved. Some of the top systems are My Mobile Watchdog, Flexispy, and PhoneSheriff.
Parents should take an interest in their children’s online activities. It is important to continually check the friend list of the children’s social networking sites. Parents should also keep an eye on their accounts and the information that the children share with others. This way, they can be sure that the kids are not revealing personal and confidential information on social sites.
Parents can use a tool like Paralert which scans the activities of the children on social sites. It also sends SMS and emails to the parents regularly. Another option is to review the browsing history. To do this on Internet Explorer, click on the tiny star icon located in the top left-hand corner. Then, click on the History tab and you can check on the browsing history. This option may not be reliable because more savvy kids can delete the browsing history before they log out so that nobody can keep track of their activities.
Sites and Software Used for Monitoring
There are a number of sites and software which can be used by parents to keep track of their children’s cyber activities secretly. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Bsecure Online
- Computer COP
- Guardian Software
- Net Nanny
- Parental Control Bar
- Software 4 Parents
- My Mobile Watchdog
All these software can help parents who want to keep an eye of their children’s activities and protect them from cyber predators. It’s also recommended that parents take some time to sit down and have an open talk with their children, informing them about the dos and don’ts of using the Internet. Better yet, get them to visit some of these sites.