Feature of the Day: Instant Message Alerts

Feb 13, 2009

Tags: , , , , ;

In the last feature highlight I focused on SSL and how Net Nanny filters Secure Proxies.  If you need to get caught up you can find more info on that here. For this bulletin I want to discus more about Cyberbullying, Online Predators and how Net Nanny arms parents with the tools to identify and prevent these threats.

Let me start with some educational material and links.  You should first know a little about online predators, who they target, and how they “groom your children. I’ll show you how to prevent and identify these threats toward the end.

Educational links about Online Predators
FBI — A parents guide to Safety: http://www.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguidee.htm
MSNBC — To Catch a predator series: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10912603/

Now for Cyberbullies.  Although Cyberbullying is a more recent threat, the consequences can be just as devastating.  Unfortunately, there are far fewer reported cases and even fewer tools available to alert parents of these potential threats.  Spend some time Googling cyberbullies and follow the links below.

Educational links about Cyberbulling
How it works: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/cyberbullying.htm

Now that you know a little more about these threats and how Instant Messaging (IM) and Chat are one of the primary tools that predators and bullies employ.  Here’s how to identify and prevent these threats using Net Nanny.  With the last release of Net Nanny 6.0, we introduced a feature that actually examines the content of each IM conversation and alert you to any potential predatory or cyberbully behavior.  It will flag conversations that contain either sexual or hurtful terms, and if configured send you an email notification immediately.  

You may have a few other concerns, I’ve heard some parents say things like “It’s like my daughter speaks another language when she’s on MSN or Yahoo, it’s in English but I still can’t understand it.  Relax, it’s not an alien life form possessing your child, it’s just a form of slang, shorthand, acronyms, etc...  Remember when you’d confuse your parents by saying things like “That’s Bad! which really meant “That’s Good; this is just payback for driving your parents crazy.  Here’s a link to some commonly used acronyms and terms they use; and don’t worry, we’ve done our homework too and will trigger alerts even for misspelled or slang terms.