This is my first review on behalf of BlogHer as an official BlogHer Reviewer! I'm thrilled that the success of my main review blog, Cool Moms Rule! has brought me to this point, partnering with BlogHer to provide you with this ad-free, BlogHer Review website!
Recently, MySpace announced the removal of over 90, 000 online sex offenders from their site. That's right, up until last week, ninety thousand sex offenders were online with your kids on MySpace, just chatting it up. And that's just the tip of the iceberg--only registered sex offenders, people already in the system, could be identified and removed.
But now your kids are perfectly safe. I'm sure we can all trust those sex offenders not to try anything like that again, right?
Of course I'm not serious. We all worry about our kids being safe online. As good parents, we want to allow our kids access to chatting with their friends, having email accounts and exploring the internet, but we have (obviously well-founded) concerns about letting them roam the internet unsupervised.
Which is why Norton's Online Family is such a valuable asset to parents of kids of all ages. It's a simple to set-up, easy-to-use interface that lets you set safe limits for your kids and monitor their online activity from your own computer.
Here's how Norton's Online Family works:
First, Create your Norton Online Family account.
This is the initial, one-time setup. You won't have to go through these steps again. Basically, you register, choose a login name, and choose one of several generic avatars (just a simple featureless face--mine has a stylish hairdo!).
Then you add your family members. This is an important step, because you will want to take advantage of the Add Another Parent option so that both you and your partner will have access to your family's account. You will also add an avatar for each child.
Next, Install the Safety Minder onto all the computers used in your household.
This step is vital. The Safety Minder is like magic. It enables you to see what your kids are up to on their own computers, as well as allowing you to set the limits you want on their accounts.
Check on your child's activity, anywhere you are.
Once you have set up your Norton Online Family account, you can use any computer to track your child's activity. Just log in to your account, pick your child's avatar and click Activity.
Adjust the Settings to Customize your Norton Online Family preferences
The Settings include Profile, Web, Search, Chat, Social, Time and Notify.
You already set up the Profile for each child, with their avatar.
Use the other Settings to customize your childrens' computer use.
For example, suppose one of your children starts spending so much time on the computer that his grades begin to suffer. Choose Time to limit the time he spends online, or set specific hours during the day when he's allowed to use the computer.
Is your daughter spending too much time socializing? Choosing Web lets you make certain sites (like MySpace!) off limits.
Search lets you know if your kids are searching on disturbing topics you want to address with them, like teen depression or eating disorders, or viewing inappropriate material (which you can also guard against).
With Chat, you can block specific people from your teen's chat sessions.
Social lets you know if your children are accurately stating how old they are on the 'net. This keeps them from entering adult content sites. Personally, I also find the reverse scary--I don't want predators to know how young my kids are. So I would rather they don't share their age info at all whenever possible.
The Notify setting is what makes all of this work for you. You don't have to log in all the time to keep constant vigilance, watching your children like a hawk.
Norton Online Family will email you (or send a text message if you prefer) if your children have reached their time limits, visited a blocked site, or tried to add an unknown stranger as a chat buddy, etc., wherever you are.
I like this because you can be as involved as you want. You can log on all the time or just get messages when you want them. So, if you don't like 'snooping' on your kids, you just set it up so that you are only notified when there's a problem, and then rest easy when those messages don't come in!
Why I recommend Norton Online Family to your family
Bottom line, it's easy to use, and so customizable that it could be a valuable tool for all parents concerned with their kids' online safety. You can change the settings at any time so that they work best for you.
We all hope our kids never run into trouble online. But with Norton Online Family, if there IS a problem, you now have the information you need to open up a dialogue with your child. You can address your concerns while teaching them about important issues like age appropriate content and online safety.
Win an iPod Touch!
Monday, February 9th!
Monday, February 9th!
To enter for a chance to win an iPod Touch, please leave me a comment below, telling me how you stay in the loop with your kids and whether this new Norton Online Family software will help you.
For additional entries: Leave a link to your blog post or Twitter message about this contest in a separate comment for an additional entry.
The contest will begin at 12:00 a.m. (PST) on Monday, February 9th and will end Friday, February 13th at 11:59 p.m. (EST). Make sure your email address is valid!
- IMPORTANT! I need to send the winner's name and address in to BlogHer on Saturday morning, February 15th because of a prior scheduled commitment. I'll notify the winner on Valentine's Day. You have 24 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected!
- No duplicate comments (see additional entry methods for more chances to win)
- This giveaway is open to U.S. residents
- Winners will be selected by random draw (Random Integer Generator) and will be notified by email.
See the official rules for details:
blogher and norton itouch giveaway rules
Norton Online Family reviews from other BlogHer Reviewers
There's ten reviews in all.
That's ten iPod Touches up for grabs!