Norton Online Family
As the internet becomes more integral to
our daily lives, there is also a downside to the internet which comes in
the form of abuse. One only needs to watch the news or a current affair
series and sooner rather than later, a topic will be discussed regarding
cyber bullying or internet predators.
Even though there are a
few programs that monitor these aspects, including questionable websites
and chat programs, Symantec have released their own version, called
Norton Online Family (onlinefamily.norton.com)
which allows parents and children to set their own boundaries when using
the internet. Best of all, the software is web-based.
It also allows for
parents to monitor their children's activities while they are online,
including detailed reports if needed and alerts. With that said, parents
will also be alerted should an incident occur which assists in
minimising the harm as it is dedicated early.
Apart from monitoring
children, the program also has the ability to monitor others, whether
it's a cyber bullying or inappropriate web content which is a must have
considering what is available on the internet. If your child does visit
a website that they should not have, a pop-up will appear to inform the
child and of course this can be recorded for parents.
Where this program
shines above others is the ability the detect whether children are
masquerading themselves as someone else that will alert the parent and
ensures that their safety is paramount.
Although children should
have their own privacy, this software is fully customisable in that the
parent can give certain access to children such as ignoring "friend
chats" but monitoring "chats" with new users. Of course the internet can
become addictive to some users, and Norton Online Family has the ability
to add time constraints to net usage such as access only between 7:00pm
to 8:00pm which is definitely a powerful feature, especially when it
comes to schooling.
As noted by Symantec,
the goal of Norton Online Family is to come up with an amicable
agreement between parents and children or "house rules" and this is
program not keystroke monitor but rather, if appropriately setup, it can
be a very powerful tool in protecting your child's safety, both online
Setting up the software
is quite easy and even the most novice of computer users should have no
difficulty when it comes to setting up the "house rules". If you have
different ages of children in your household, the program can even be
configured for different ages which ensures that the program is not a
Available for both the
PC and Mac, I would encourage all parents to check out