10 Ways to Monitor Your Kids on Social Networking Sites like Facebook, MySpace

By Partho, Gaea News Network
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Social networking sites are no more a hub to keep up with friends, chat and share music, photos or videos, but a place for cyber crimes. Sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter have become the fastest growing social networking sites for teens and even kids to socialize with known and unknown faces. You must have read about teens posting explicit photos, sharing tales of drunken exploits and other negative behaviors. What’s more, you might have also read stories of teens becoming victims of the sexual predators through the social networking sites.

Let’s have an insight of the most popular social networking site - Facebook.¬† As is evident, Facebook privacy controls are committed to protect the minors using Facebook - “Until their eighteenth birthday, minors don’t have public search listings created for them, and the visibility of their information is limited to friends of friends and networks, even if they’ve chosen to make it available to everyone.” That said, its easy for kids to get trapped. Here’s an eye-opening survey.

Start with some facts for a survey of 1,501 kids between the ages of 10 and 17 concluded that around 1 and 4 had an unwanted exposure to some kind of image of naked people or people who are having sex in the last year.

According to the reports,

  • At any time there are 50,000 sexual predators online
  • Around 1 in 5 kids had received a sexual solicitation
  • One in 33 kids have been asked by someone to meet them somewhere or called them or sent them regular mail, money or gifts.
  • 22% of the targets for online predators were between the ages of 10 and 13

Now if your child uses any one or more of these social networking sites, you must be concerned about the fact what exactly they are doing online, and if they are staying safe.

1. Be friends with your child

The easiest trick to track your child’s activity on social networking site is to be his/her friend in disguise. We would like to provide an example with Facebook

Step 1: Create a Facebook account. You would need an email address that your child knows about. Sign up on Facebook from your account. Make sure that the name that your child might recognize is a friend and upload a picture of the person that your child knows from school. Get into the child’s school network.

Step 2: After setting up the account build look up the network search for your child. Locate the search bar In the upper left corner of the home page and type the child’s full name.

Step 3: After locating your child’s profile, click on “Add as Friend” button to the right of their picture. In order to view their information your child must accept the friendship request.

Step 4: In case this attempt failed you can show your child’s profile. A Facebook profile of your child might have loads of things that they don’t wanna see. They can check up on them through Facebook is a great tool for monitoring their activity.

2. Recommendation

When your child is registering at a social networking site, visit it and explore it yourself. Go through the reviews and posts about the website and see what other parents have recommended. Post your questions about the site on a forums that discusses about the site. You might also send your queries to the administrator of the website and have a close look at their response.

3. Check Privacy

In case you can access your child’s privacy settings on a social networking site ensure that the privacy is set up correctly. Alternately you might ask them to do it for themselves to ensure privacy. It’s the easiest way to check whether the profile is private to type in their name on search engine. The details are listed in the results with the highest level of privacy not being enabled ensuring that anyone can view the information.

4. Modify Privacy Settings

Investigate about the sites privacy settings and try to ensure that your child’s profile is not seen by people those who are not friends. You can make their friends list on the social network and block any other unknown user form send friends request.

5. Limit the number of friends

It’s important to limit the number of friends that your child allows on the social networking site. The number is dependent on the individual circumstances. The maximum limit must be 40. This will help the children to consider each person before becoming a friend and it will also prevent them from accepting friend request from strangers.

6. Peeping into your kids activities

Do you know how much time your teen is spending online?¬† Try to keep the computer used by your kid public. In the room every once in a while you can look over your child’s shoulder to track his/her activities on social network. Ask them whether they find something interesting is going on. Listen and discuss everything that becomes an issue.

7. Using Monitoring software

Spector Pro 2010 Windows Parental Control Software

It’s the most intelligent Parental Control Software for Windows. It records the emails, chats, IMs, websites, web searches, programs run, keystrokes typed, files transferred, screen snapshots-plus-offer chat blocking, Internet Access Blocking, Instant Notification Alerts and more.

Key features

  • It captures every single Keystroke
  • Records hidden characters such as passwords
  • Captures and review all Chats and Instant Messages
  • Read every email sent and received
  • Block them from visiting any web site or chatting with anyone
  • It provides advanced survelliance by recording the screen snapshots of your kids activities on PC and Internet

Link

8. Tracking Remotely

SniperSpy

If your child is smart enough to be tracked directly you can use the remote spying software such as SniperSpy. It is a remotely-deployable spy software. This type of program records the activities of any users on the remote PC. The software can be installed from any remote location via an email attachment that contains the module. The software silently installs onto the remote PC. It records an array of Internet activities that you will be able to view in real time. To view the results you have to simply login to the Online Control Panel and enter the username or password to proceed. WIth the help of the online control panel you can search the results to monitor your kids activity on social networking sites remotely.

Key features

  • Web Sites Visited
  • Applications Executed
  • Keystrokes Typed
  • Passwords Typed
  • Documents Opened
  • Windows Opened
  • File Changes
  • Record and Monitor Instant Messages

Link

9. Using USB keyloggers

KeyCarbon USB Home Editon

In case you kid is a Mac user you can go for this keylogger software. It’s an ideal keylogger for internet monitoring. The stealthy USB keylogger works on USB keyboards for PC and Mac computers. It records everystroke typed on your computer including e-mail, chat, IM, internet addresses and more. The KeyCarbon USB keylogger is perfect solution for monitoring your child’s activity on social networks such as Facebook and MySpace.

What’s more exciting KeyCarbon is not a software product it cannot be scanned with the anti-virus products.

Link

10. Alternative site for kids

In case you don’t wanna poke into what your child is doing let them enjoy with their friends on the social networking sites especially build for kids. You can look for some top social networking sites for kids here. These apart, if your child is too eager to get a profile on Facebook, let him opt for the Facebook for kids.

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