Trend Micro unveiled recently its “Online Guardian for Families”, the company's first product designed for parents concerned about their kids' social networking activities.

With comprehensive parental controls, social network monitoring, and Internet filtering, Trend Micro Online Guardian gives parents the tools they need to keep up with their children's Internet and social networking activities and take action to keep them safe while they are using their cell phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.

"As busy parents who may or may not have the technical know-how, it's hard to keep up with our kids online," said Carol Carpenter, executive general manager for the consumer and small business units at Trend Micro. "Our vision with Trend Micro Online Guardian is to provide the tools and information for parents to become aware of their kids' online activities, to generate healthy family dialogue, and to prevent problems before they happen."

Over 90 percent of kids aged 12 to 17 are on the Internet and over 70 percent of teens have a social networking profile. To fully attain the social networking sites' benefits, these sites require users to provide personal information. While social networks are heavily used by millions to keep relatives up-to-date, find lost friends, or make new ones, they can also be popular places for people who have bad intentions. Risks such as unwanted contact, scams or identity theft, computer security issues, cyberbullying, and harming one's reputation are things parents need to watch out for.

Action is needed

While young adults and teenagers are concerned about the risks that come with social networking sites, they don't always act on that doubt, thus a little up-front Internet monitoring can be helpful to kids as well as their parents.

Trend Micro Online Guardian provides parents with control resources and tools to stay informed. It gives them the ability to approach concerns proactively and to help encourage children to make smart online choices, by providing an easy-to-read report on what their kids are doing on the web.

Trend Micro Online Guardian allows parents to:

  • Monitor Internet activities 24/7 on web sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr.
  • View browsing history, wall postings, messages, photos and videos (shared and viewed), and chat logs to help prevent damage to their reputation.
  • Stop access to adult and other inappropriate content.
  • Limit Internet time and set daily access schedules.
  • Block sharing of personal information to shield kids from online predators, identity thieves and cybercriminals.
  • Install on as many computers as needed and monitor up to five children.
  • Once activated, privacy settings within Facebook and MySpace won't stop it from monitoring activities.
  • Once it begins monitoring the child's account, it reports on activities happening from any location, even those outside of the home (friend's house, school, cell phone, etc).
  • The online management console allows parents to access the latest information from anywhere in the world.

Trend Micro Online Guardian, however, requires kids' permission to allow their parents to monitor them; thus allowing parents to get reporting on non-public information while other products only report public information.

Source: Trend Micro