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Protecting your children online

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Hundreds of thousands of children surf the Web every day. While the Net can be a good influence, and assist with learning and education, it also poses enormous dangers.

It is because of these threats and risks to children, that parents need to step in and help protect them. This is where parental control software comes in. So says Lutz Blaeser, MD of Intact Software Distribution, who adds that although the vast majority of parents are aware of the dangers that lurk on the Internet, very few are in possession of all the facts, and are up to speed with the statistics regarding Internet dangers.

“According to enough.org, child pornography is one of the fastest growing businesses online, and the content is becoming much worse. There are thousands of individual child abuse domains. This is over and above adults posing as kids to lure children, inappropriate spam and other dangers.”

He says giving parents the alarming facts surrounding the dangers of the internet will encourage them to take security measures, and start using parental control software to protect their children online. “It is estimated that one in five kids are solicited online by an adult, often aggressively, leaving the children afraid and unsettled. It is so important for parents to monitor their kids’ online activity, including social networking and chat room sites.”

Too many teens do not think there is any problem with posting pictures or other private information over social networks. “Many of them will even willingly post their cell number and other private contact info on the Web, and even more of them will have private conversations online with people they don’t know, too often sexual predators. “These facts are just the tip of the iceberg when looking at the gamut of dangers on the Internet. Research shows over and over that children are soft targets in an online environment.”

According to him, as the Web becomes an increasingly dangerous place for kids, something needs to be done to protect them. “Much in the same way that parents need to provide a safe home for their kids, they need to provide a safe environment for them online. The dangers are real.”

He says there are several ways parents can protect their children. “Firstly, they need to take control of social networking, as these sites are used for instant messaging, and for people to ‘hang out’ online. Merely browsing your child’s profile occasionally might not be enough, installing software that is designed with recognising the dangers on social media in mind, is a far safer option.”

Tools such as Bitdefender Parental Control does this and so much more. “It offers total online safety for children, with features that include Website blocking and monitoring, application control, mobile phone tracking, IM blocking and monitoring, location tracking, and Facebook monitoring. Using these tools means you can control what your children get up to online and protect them from risks – kids expect to be able to use the internet, and it the parents’ job to ensure they can do this safely,” Blaeser concludes.