What You Can Do to Protect Children from Unwanted Sexual Solicitation Online

Programs to use and top tips for parents

(page 6 of 7)

Trust But Verify

You don’t have to be the NSA or a corporation with a huge IT staff to keep an eye on how your family uses the Internet. There are relatively easy and inexpensive ways to detect which sites family members are visiting; limit access to risky ones; and view the—perhaps surprisingly extensive—info that exists online about your family. 

K9 Web Protection (k9webprotection.com) is a free Internet filter and parental control software for home computers and mobile devices. Very easy to install, it blocks major bad sites, and locks and unlocks with a parental password. It’s not a total solution, but it’s great for a free program.

Net Nanny (netnanny.com) is one of the easiest filters to use, as well as one of the most established. It blocks dangerous sites, and is designed to analyze site content in context—for example, it’s supposed to permit access to information about a breast cancer charity, while barring a visit to a pornography site.  

uKnowKids (uknowkids.com) reports on your children's social-networking activities so you can monitor their social media interactions. The package includes mobile monitoring, social monitoring, and family locator tools. 

MinorMonitor (defunct) is a free tool that enables parents to analyze their kids’ activities and who their friends are on Facebook (even showing how many friends they have in common with each). MinorMonitor identifies and sends alerts about dangerous activities related to bullying, hate crimes, drug use, sexual references, and more.  

Bsecure Online (bsecure.com) has two main products: Family Safety for Windows and Family Safety for Mobile Browser. Family Safety for Windows has social-networking protection, online-media filtering, and parental text and email alerts. The mobile product protects iPhone/iPod touch/iPad users from accessing objectionable websites. Bsecure has categorized millions of sites and the list is updated daily, so your iPhone/iPod touch/iPad is always up to date. 

Spokeo (spokeo.com), which is commonly used by private investigators, searches White Pages listings and public records and organizes the information into reports. It’s good to go into Spokeo with your kids and show them how much information about them is out there. There’s a free version that provides minimal details, and, for in-depth details on searches, Spokeo also has memberships starting at about $4 per month.  —Russell Dean Vines



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