Norton Online Family: Making the Internet Child-Safe? - Norton Online Family Features and Tools
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Norton Online Family is currently in beta. Parents who want to get a look at using this service can view this beta version of Online Family. But what can they expect once the full service is available for use?
Norton Online Family is designed for use with both Windows- and Mac-based computers and laptops. Using this service, you can view everything your children do on the Web -- everything from search engine information to the information they’re giving out on social networking sites.
Using a user-friendly browser, parents can monitor the activity on every user account in the household. This system is accessed through a password. Want to know how many social networking sites your child belongs to? Want to know what sort of information they’re giving out, such as age, on their social accounts? Norton Online Family provides this information and more; parents can even monitor conversations that take place via instant messaging.
Restricting Access with Online Family. Using Norton Online Family, parents will be able to set parameters on more than forty different types of Internet content, restricting or limiting access for each user account in the house. Parents can also limit the amount of total time their children spend on the Internet. For example, the youngest child in the house may be limited to five hours of surfing a week.
Norton Online Family also allows parents to restrict Internet usage per day, though parents can choose whether or not they want to cut their child off when the allotted time has run out. Parents will also have the option to enforce Internet curfews which don’t allow access past a certain time. Using the browsing feature, parents can view a list of every Web site each user account has visited. Unnecessary, third-party URLs (advertisements, etc.) are filtered out automatically.
When new social networking accounts are created, parents will be alerted. A special notification will arrive when a child creates a social account using false age information. It’s also possible to completely block some information your child might want to send, which helps parents protect privacy online.
Alerts and Messages. So what happens when a child breaks the rules, runs out of time or does something online you’ve placed a restriction upon? Customizable e-mail and mobile alerts will be sent to the monitoring parents, messages which are displayed in real time, to help you keep track on a moment-to-moment basis. This messaging system works both ways, however.
When kids come across a blocked site, a time limitation or some other restriction, they’ll be informed and have the option to send a message explaining the situation to their parents. They can also view a set of rules and restrictions at any time, so they’ll know exactly what they aren’t allowed to do when they’re online. Norton Online Family is open and straightforward both for parents and children.
Family Advice. Parenting can be a rough business, even when you have tools and features to make the job seem a little bit easier. The Norton Online Family Advisory Council, which is a group of child health experts and media professionals, are testing the beta version of Online Family to make this service even more family-friendly when it’s released for full public use.
User Accounts. For each child in the house, a user account must be set up to access the features and tools of Norton Online Family. It’s important that each child use his or her own account, as each one is specially designed based upon the age of the child and the settings you create. Once the account is configured, Online Family automatically creates settings based upon age.
Parents download an application to link the user account to the Online Family services and tools. When the account is set up and established with the Norton software, you’re ready to make full use of the features offered by this service. Because each user account is tailored to each child, you’ll be able to create a custom Internet experience and set of rules for every minor in the house.
Safe Searching. Search engines can be a potential minefield where children are concerned. Even perfectly innocuous searches can yield results that are anything but kid-friendly. Use Norton Online Family’s safe search mode, which filters out these mature or otherwise inappropriate sites even on general Internet searches. Safe searching is available with major engines and popular, searchable sites including Wikipedia, YouTube, Google and Yahoo. Using Norton’s monitoring tools, you’ll be able to view exactly which words and phrases your kids are seeking out, and see which terms are the most-searched on the list.
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