If your internet’s not secure, your family might not be either

Parenting “digital natives” means that computer and Internet connections have a daily presence in our families’ lives – we check the weather, confirm museum hours, get phone numbers and directions, and find out when schools are cancelled due to weather conditions.

A parenting challenge to us as Moms becomes making sure our kids are safe when they use the Internet and talking to them about real-life dangers from online predators, cyber-bullying or accidentally visiting an inappropriate site.

It’s a scary world out there. Kids may not view Sponge Bob and Webkinz as dangerous, but seemingly innocent games meant to teach computer skills can rapidly turn problematic without the proper guidance and tools.

My pre-teen daughter opened an email that, of course, was intended to seem as if sent from a friend. Instead it provided a graphic representation of body parts that no respectable biology textbook would consider. We were both a wee bit traumatized by that one.

And, as a high school teacher, I’ve sometimes heard parents complain about the amount of computer time required for my assignments. When they tell me that their child spent three hours on the computer, I’m astounded that ten vocabulary definition require such exhaustive research. Well, of course they don’t.  The ratio is probably ten minutes looking up the words on dictionary.com, then copying and pasting. The other two hours and fifty minutes, who knows? IMs, Facebook, chats, My Space. . .

McAfee Family Protection software gives Moms peace of mind that our kids are safe online. Through separate accounts, you can set up a tailored filter for each of your kids – no matter how old they are, and how they use the Web – and prevent them from accidentally visiting inappropriate sites. Some of the cool features include:

· Social network and email blocks to prevent strangers from contacting your kids

· YouTube filtering

· Instant Message and social network monitoring to let you know if your child posts inappropriate or personal information

· Text message and email alerts if your kid tries to visit one of those questionable or inappropriate sites

Children are susceptible to a variety of threats and exposures when online, including access to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and the distribution of personal information. According to  recent studies:

  • 42 percent of youths report exposure to pornography (Internet Safety Technical Task Force, December 2008)
  • 1 out of 17 kids have been harassed, threatened, or bullied online (www.netlingo.com)
  • 43 percent of parents do not know what personal information their children have posted on the Internet (Virtual Parenting Report, March 2009)
  • 52 percent of teens have given out personal information online to someone they don’t know offline (Harris Interactive, McAfee, October 2008)

Despite these dangers, Internet usage by children is growing. With the proliferation of social networking and online communications, the PEW Internet and American Life Project, January 2009, shows that:

  • 70 percent of teens use social networking sites
  • 68 percent of teens use instant messaging
  • 75 percent of teens access video sharing sites

About McAfee Family Protection
McAfee Family Protection is the easiest, most complete way to keep your children safe online. Designed to empower parents to say “yes” to their children’s online interests, McAfee Family Protection enables parents to adjust security to meet their children’s changing needs, as they grow from young children to tweens to teens.

McAfee Family Protection is designed to provide fast, easy setup so parents can start protecting their children within minutes. It keeps children of all ages safe from exposure to inappropriate content, social networking risks, strangers, and otMcAfee Family Protectionher online threats. With McAfee, kids are free to safely explore, learn, and enjoy their online interests—and parents can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing their children are safe.

  • Easy —Fast, simple setup so parents can start protecting their children within minutes
  • Empowering —Lets parents say “yes” to their children’s online interests while keeping them safe as they learn and explore
  • Complete —Protects children of all ages from accessing inappropriate content, social networking risks, strangers, and other threats

Key product features
Web blocking —Blocks up to 35 categories of objectionable websites, and filters inappropriate content
Time limits —Offers two ways to manage the time children spend online: 1.) allows families to schedule Internet usage times, or 2.) limits the total amount of time spent online per day
Instant message reporting —Monitors and records instant message conversations so parents are aware of cyberbullying and improper dialogue with strangers
Social network monitoring —Records when personal information (for example, phone number, address, location) is posted to a social networking site, and monitors the use of profanity and sexually explicit terms

Online access —Provides remote, online access for any time, any where changes to user settings.  Go to http://www.mcafeefamilyprotection.com to login.
Usage reporting —Provides parents with a complete view of all Internet and instant messaging (IM) activity through activity reports, which can also be used as a tool to teach appropriate online behavior
Instant alerts —Sends instant email and/or text alerts to parents when inappropriate website access is attempted. Parents can also adjust the alert level from “less sensitive,” to “normal,” to “very sensitive”

Product highlights
YouTube filtering— Blocks objectionable YouTube videos via keyword filtering technology, yet allows access to other appropriate YouTube content for entertainment
Text message alerts— The unique text alert feature gives busy parents the option of getting a text alert when inappropriate website access is attempted
Program blocking— Blocks access to programs on the computer, plus blocks programs from communicating with the Internet. Parents can choose from preselected categories and programs, or enter the programs of their choice
Encrypted site blocking— Provides a deeper layer of protection against access to secure proxy websites that may also include inappropriate content preventing a “work around” for kids

McAfee is offering a discount through August 31, 2009 to save $5 off the McAfee Family Protection. The promo code is: 5familyprotection. In addition, if you have any questions you’d like to ask an expert, McAfee’s Chief Cyber Security Mom, Tracy Mooney, is available at cybermom@mcafee.com or at www.mcafee.com/cybermom.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of McAfee and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. In addition, McAfee sent me a blanket and care package to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

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2 thoughts on “If your internet’s not secure, your family might not be either

  1. i’ve tested mcafee and i wasn’t pleased of it at all. then i tried Bit Defender Total Security 2009 and i was very pleased of it. It offers a very good solution and it has lots of features like: Antivirus&Antispyware, Anti-phishing, IM ecryption, Home Network, Laptop Mode, Gamer Mode, Antispam, Firewall, Parental Control, File Vault, Tune-up, Backup, File vault and many others. You can give it a try at: http://download.bitdefender.com/windows/installer/en/bitdefender_tsecurity.exe

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