I have been active on the Internet since I was 16, which these days seems quite late, but I would frequent in Yahoo Chat Rooms and a few Forums. I think I was always quite sensible and seemed to be able to sense who was genuine and who wasn't, and even then there didn't seem to be the problem with online protection as there is now.
I worry that the boys may be bullied online. I worry that they may be targeted by people pretending to be someone else. I worry that they could say the wrong thing to the wrong person/people.
One in five parents have been 'shocked' by content they have discovered on their children's email, text or Facebook account, a study by internet and mobile security firm BullGuard has revealed.
The alarmingly high figure emerged amid a study of 2,000 parents of kids aged 10-17, which showed 61 per cent regularly snoop on their kids.
It also emerged that one in five mums and dads are convinced their offspring lie about their age to gain access to social networking sites.
More than one in ten parents have had to deal with their child being bullied online and a whopping 17 per cent have had to intervene after their child was threatened.
What’s more concerning is that 23 per cent of parents said their child didn’t know the perpetrator.
It’s no wonder then that one in four parents have confessed their snooping to their children because they were so concerned about what they found.
The worrying stats also revealed the average child doesn’t actually know 40 per cent of the people they are friends with on Facebook.
TOP 10 WAYS THAT PARENTS SNOOP
1. Reading messages on social networking sites
2. Checking their internet history
3. Reading their text messages
4. Monitoring their list of friends on social networking sites
5. Checking their pictures on social networking sites
6. Reading their emails
7. Checking their call list
8. Finding out their passwords
9. Asking teachers to keep an eye on their internet use
10. Getting a sibling to help to snoop
Bullguard have come up with an Identity and Social Media Protection Programme to help parents, and children, keep safe on the internet.
I am familiar with Bullguard as my mum used their software on her computer but I am yet to use it myself.
Setting up the Social Media Protection was really easy. You are given an activation code which you need to set up on their website. Once you have entered your code you simply refresh the page and then explore the new tabs available to you.
I used my own Facebook profile to test out the Social Media Protection. If you are setting this up for a child's account you will need for them to click on a link you will send via an email. It's all pretty simple and doesn't take long to do.
I was amazed at the information the software was able to pick up and how it was able to detect what it saw as risks.
I am 28 and am friends with a range of people on Facebook. The oldest being someone in their 60's. The Bullguard Software flagged this up to me, along with some other friendships it detected as a possible risk, and I liked that it told me why it felt these people were a risk to me for example: Significant age differences, few mutual friends or because the other user didn't supply their age to Facebook.
The Social Media Protection app is easy to find on Facebook by simply looking at the sidebar on the left.
The app is broken down into four pieces of information:
Here's a summary of the items we flagged for you and that require your attention. We only flag activities and items with inappropriate or malicious content or that can harm your reputation online.Friends, which is as I explained above.
Messages. Bullguard scans messages either private ones or timeline/status messages and picks up on certain words. This can look a little worrying when you see a long list of alerts and risks but words such as 'pot' 'balls' 'wine' are picked up, which aren't necessarily offensive but I like that these are flagged anyway.
I follow a local paper and have 6 'malicious links' alerts but when looking closely at the words detected it is simply because there was a fatal car accident last week and the software has picked up the word killed.
In the 6 hours I have had the programme installed I have had two emails alerting me to activity on my Facebook page. One email being an overall summary and another one alerting me to High Risk Activity.
I think this programme really works and would help set a parents mind at ease. It's not going to fix online bullying, or completely protect our children but it is a fantastic way to monitor Facebook.
I would warn parents to not over-react when they receive a High Risk Alert email, I think this is the only way the programme could cause issues for families. The high risk alerts I received are simply for the newspaper article and because a friend had said that her workout had almost killed her.
Of course, it's essential to check out any warning alert received, but best not to over-react because it could be nothing.
I think every single household should have one of these if there are children who use the Internet.
I was sent the Bullguard Identity Protection Software for the purpose of this post.