Tools for Internet Safety – Commentary by PC Pandora Monitoring Software

I haven’t done this in a while. I like to showcase various news reports on the overall issue of safety and offer my ingenious commentary. Hah… :)

Seriously though… below is an excerpt from a great story done by Linda Brees of The Greenville News in lil’ ol’ South Carolinny. This isn’t a rebuttal, as I do agree with much of what she says; this is more just my initial reaction to some things.

As always, I encourage and urge you to click on the story and read the full article… below are just highlights and my thoughts…

Get tools to protect children using Internet
By Linda Brees

Don’t ever let anyone tell you Internet predators aren’t a problem in our region.

When an administrative assistant from the Upstate installed a program that let her observe her 13-year-old daughter’s instant messaging sessions, she didn’t expect to learn anything alarming. Instead, she was stunned to discover the eighth grader was drinking and smoking pot. The mother was able to intervene early enough to curtail the problem and turn the girl’s behavior around. She also informed the parents of two of her daughter’s online friends of their children’s potential involvement so they could also address the problem before it escalated.

Meanwhile, a North Carolina father who monitored his 13-year-old daughter’s online chat activity discovered that the girl was having a sexual relationship with her 37-year-old middle school teacher. Using records of chat sessions, he was able to gather enough evidence to convict the teacher of statutory rape.

Two excellent and common cases of what happens when parents use monitoring software like our PC Pandora 5.0… we have our own such testimonials from parents and even teachers who were able to deter potentially dangerous and harmful behavior.

It’s stories like these, of course, that fuel the sales of parental control software. But as the technology of parental oversight has improved, parents and caregivers face tougher questions about when responsible supervision turns into paranoia or an invasion of children’s privacy. Five years ago, most parental control software was used only to filter the Web, blocking children from pornographic or violent sites. Now, parents can have godlike powers over their children’s online lives — viewing everything the kids do as they surf or chat, and immediately stopping any activity that the parents disapprove of.

Interesting take…

Naturally, every parent wants their child to be safe, whether the child is online or on the school bus. And certainly if you suspect your child is involved in drugs, inappropriate relationships or other dangerous situations, it’s your responsibility to step in and intervene using whatever tools necessary. But, if parents have no particular reason to suspect trouble, should they be reading their children’s digital diaries?

I’m going to pose two responses here: first, it is hardly a digital diary. MOST of what kids are doing is public and the parents are the only ones not reading the writings. This is not the lock-and-key diary of centuries past; those diaries weren’t portals through which kids were able to literally talk to and showcase themselves to the world. Stop comparing it to a diary. Second: this is also where parental duties and parental courtesy have to be separate. You don’t need to know who has a crush on who, but you need to know if your daughter is talking to someone whom you are smart enough to see is not who they say they are.

Psychologists and child safety experts say yes under two conditions: First, establish a set of ground rules and standards for going online that both you and your child can agree on, and, second, let your kids know you’ll be checking in on them.

Excellent…

Parents have a responsibility to monitor the whereabouts of their kids, whether it’s in the real world or the cyber world. But it’s important to keep a balance between looking over your child’s shoulder every second and putting your head in the sand — somewhere between the two extremes is the prudent parent.

Exactly as I stated above!!! Same wavelength…

What about old-fashioned trust? Many parents — even those who know the perils that exist online — are confident that their kids will make good decisions and believe that monitoring their online activity would send a damaging message that they’re not trusted to behave responsibly.

Even so, given the right situation, any kid can make a poor set of choices. If we parents think that our children are immune to temptation, we’re kidding ourselves. If there’s no accountability, the chance of a child breaking the rules increases.

You answered the question before I could, but I would also like to toss this idea to the jury: what about old-fashioned respect that “youngsters” had for their “elders”? It is gone. Kids today have zero respect for their parents or teachers. Shows like Super Nanny and Nanny 911 would not have existed 25 or 30 years ago because kids did not act like that. What started out as a righteous movement (known as the “self-esteem” movement – Google it) has given way to a topsy turvey world where kids get what they want and think they are always right. Parents stopped being stern rule enforcers and behavior instructors and became friends with their kids. There’s no better example than the usual control of the Internet and the average American household. In addition, kids see the Internet in a different way: to them, it is not a convenient tool; it is a necessary part of life – which, as anyone over 30 knows, is not true. So when you have a younger generation more proficient in technology, with the upper hand of authority, and yet still possessing the immaturity and under-developed real-life skills of a teenager, bad things happen. And that is why parents need to take back control, stop being scared to be a real parent, and monitor their kids. It’s not so much the predators (though they aren’t taking things easy in their hunts) as it is cyberbullying and protecting your child from doing something stupid on the world’s wide stage that will haunt them later. [/rant]

While discussions of online hazards and Internet monitoring often focus on blocking porn sites, the greatest danger may lurk in chat rooms and e-mail in-boxes. This is especially true for older kids who spend time instant messaging and hanging around in chat rooms, where none of the usual social controls are in place and it’s easy to hide behind a false identity.

Again, nothing is private – why are the parents the only one’s not aware of what their child is saying? This is where PC Pandora monitoring software comes in…

But parents and caregivers have a new tool to help keep their children safe — the upcoming Predators in Upstate South Carolina: How to Keep Your Children Safe Symposium, an invaluable guide to learning about abductors, how they operate and what you as parents can do to prevent your child from becoming the next victim…

Sorry this is a bit long. I’ve been trying to shorten or make shorter the posts… but it’s an addictive topic. It’s a real issue that many chose to ignore. Others like to discredit it. Yet, just like cervical cancer (someone once told me), it is the only [social malady] that can truly be prevented. The answer is right there. Monitor your child’s PC activity – not just online, but offline too (to make sure they aren’t distributing illegal content or originating evidence of cyberbullying). Take a look at PC Pandora and what it can do for you and with you.

Knowledge is power! You can be a powerful 21st century parent with PC Pandora 5.0 monitoring software… BUT, with great power comes great responsibility. Don’t abuse it. Know what is effective proper parenting, and what is a senseless invasion of privacy and teen growin’ up.


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