Kids, Technology & Keeping Them Safe

How do parents stay on top of monitoring what their kids activities consist of on-line? 

In today's fast paced world of technology, parents are having a difficult time monitoring their children's behavior.  Many children know how to use technology better than their parents.  A recent CNN finding, conducted from a 2,017-person survey, has shown that 70% of teens hide on line behavior from their parents.  With children seemingly more advanced in the technological field than their parents, how do parents stay on top of monitoring what their kids activities consist of on-line?  

Parents cannot be with their children all the time, but there are ways they can closely monitor what goes on with their kids when they are on-line.  In order to do so, parents have to stay a step ahead and become pro-active and learn about technology and what kids are into on-line.  Computer security expert Gregory Evans knows all about staying a step ahead.  He was on the FBI’s most wanted and was the world’s #1 Hacker.  No longer a fugitive of the law, Evans turned his computer expertise to good.  He now teaches Continuing Legal Education to attorneys, has invented the world’s first device to track a computer anywhere in the world, and is the author of eight (8) books on computer security and identity theft.  According to Evans, “Your kids are in more danger on the internet than they are out in the streets,” and parents should always “Assume that every kid is not going to tell you everything.”  So how do we as parents monitor our kids in cyberspace? Evans says to “Install spyware on all of your kids devices.” 

The only spyware that Evans recommends is Spector Soft.  He stresses, “Do not let your kids know you are installing the spyware on their computer, because then all they will do is all of the good things like saying church was great, but then on the other computer they use when they leave the house they will say all of the nasty stuff and party at my house this weekend because my parents are gone, type stuff.  The only way to find out what your kids are doing is to be that fly on the wall.”  He also went on to say that, “Kids do more on their cell-phones than their computers and it is legal for you to check your kid’s e-mail.”  The monitoring software e-mails you, so even when you are at work you will still know what they are doing.  It will also provide you with their username and passwords.  Whether it is a copy of text messages and or pictures, you need to know and this spyware will tell you that.  This is huge especially with kids ‘sexting’ these days and getting in trouble with the law because of it.  The spyware will also allow you to download their contact list so you have all of their friend’s info.  In case of emergency, you know whom to contact. 

With social networks being as popular as they are, Evans strongly suggests that for children’s facebook/twitter pages they should do the following:

1)    Delete all of your family information of who is related to you!  Do not show who your family is, because people will use that against you. 

2)    Block your friends from seeing all of your friends as well, so that people cannot go to your friends and add them so you in turn add them because you have all of these mutual friends. 

3)    Never put what school you go to, unless you are in college. 

4)    Never put your phone number and or address on FB.  If they have an email it needs to be monitored!

5)    Turn off the GPS in the settings for your Twitter of FB, no one needs to know where you are!

Some other ways parents can stay pro-active include: talking with their kids about the dangers, and setting up guidelines for them to follow when using the Internet.  One of the biggest mistakes parents make according to Internet Safety Advocate for Norton Marian Merritt is, “Having a ‘set it and forget it’ mentality; many parents think that telling kids, ‘Don’t talk to strangers online’ is enough. Online safety isn’t just a one-time talk – it should be an ongoing conversation. The Internet is constantly growing and evolving, as are our kids.” Did you know that kids playing video games on-line “It’s like inviting a burglar over to your house,”  according to Evans.  So don't just say here are the rules, explain why.  For i.e.: When you hook the x-box, wii or playstation up to the Internet, you are allowing hackers to come directly in. The hackers will get your information from your kids, and while they are playing games with your kids they are now downloading information from your computer or business computers right in your home. 

It has been reported that, half of teens say they would