ZoneAlarm has a new software product called Social Guard to be used on your children’s Facebook accounts. In theory when a bad person tries to befriend your child, an alert is propagated by the software and an alarm is sounded alerting you, the parent, to the in intrusion. This is a subscription services and runs either $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year, for the installation and monitoring of a Facebook app on your child’s account.
On their web site the folks at ZoneAlarm claim that their software can stop the following attacks on your child:
- Cyberbulling by alerting parents of alarming words that may be used in private messages, status updates and also wall postings.
- Strangers who may try to interact with your child.
- Older adults who may represent themselves as being another kid.
- Links that could be dangerous and prevents virus attacks and data theft.
- Alerts parents if their child’s account may have been hacked.
- Content that may not be appropriate for children dealing with sex, drugs, violence and more.
ZoneAlarm also states that their Social Guard software will function properly using Windows XP with SP3, Windows Vista with SP1 or SP2 and also Windows 7. Anywhere from 1 to 2 GB of RAM are required depending on operating system. No other requirements are needed except an Internet connection.
In addition parents do not need a Facebook account to monitor their child. The monitoring is done through the software that is installed on the PC. There is one thing that parents will need to obtain from their child in order to install the Social Guard software. They will need the child’s Facebook username and password.
Though this may not pose a problem getting this information from younger teens, older teenagers could balk at the idea. There is also one other thing that parents should keep in mind. This does not stop a teen from setting up another Facebook account using a different logon and password which can be used on another computer outside of the home.
The teens of today are a resourceful and a tech savvy bunch. Though I understand parental concerns for their children, your child may balk at being monitored and could rebel. Of course if your teen hasn’t already stopped talking to you, then installing Social Guard could be the stimulus to having them clam up.