Parents everywhere should be concerned about the real dangers of Facebook and how kids are increasingly opting to connect with friends to perpetuate sharing, whatever kids like to share, with friends and possibly unknown users. In addition, these connected kids are becoming younger, and while the age limit for Facebook is 13; your child could be lying about their age to create an account and taking part in conversations with older kids, possibly sharing and receiving information about inappropriate subjects. At the same time, parents are concerned about openly hovering or monitoring kid’s activity, wanting to give them some sort of limited autonomy to be connected with their peers, realizing it is an important part of growing up. See (Should kids be allowed on Facebook?)
What are Parents to Do?
Many parents are reluctant to become a friend of children on Facebook. Kids know parents are monitoring, so do their friends; this creates a point of contention that some parents may want to avoid. The answer may lie in a company named ZoneAlarm. Created to protect PC’s from viruses, spyware, hackers and identity theft with its Check Point Software Technology, the company created SocialGuard, a way for parents to monitor kid’s activity on Facebook without them knowing they are being monitored. Parents do not have to have a Facebook account to monitor children, just the software from SocialGuard which scans millions of records using an algorithm and sends a message when certain pre-determined criteria for threats appear. It alerts parents to red-flag data relinquishing the need for inspection of all data on the account.
- Cyberbulling: Detects inappropriate language in private messages, wall posts, and status updates
- Strangers: Sends an alert when a stranger may be trying to interact with your child on Facebook
- Age Concerns: identifies and Flags friends who are much older than they claim to be, or someone who may be pretending to be a kid
- Dangerous Links: Checks and finds dangerous links in messages, wall posts, or status updates. Protects against viruses and identity theft
- Hacked Account: Monitors your Childs account for signs it has been hacked
- Inappropriate Content: Checks for content that has been posted related to sex, violence, drugs and more
Video: How to use SocialGuard
SocialGuard is not free and is listed at $19.95 per year (with a free trial), downloadable on their website. It will handle up to 5 Facebook accounts.