Parents can monitor, restrict access on-line with computer software


Posted on December 7, 2009 at 5:29 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 7 at 6:43 PM

(WHAS11) - A missing Kentucky girl has been found safe after vanishing over the weekend.

Police say 14-year-old Chelsey Deshazar ran away from her Lawrenceburg home but they believe her disappearance may be linked to social networking websites.

So how can parents find out what their kids are really doing online?

You can keep a watchful eye on all their internet activities even while you're at work and they're at home for the winter break.

If Chelsey Deshazar ran away from home after meeting someone on a social networking website, she's not alone.

Over the summer the Harrison County Indiana sheriff's department says that 16-year-old Bailee Sanders met a man online and ran off with him.

22-year-old David White was charged with custodial interference.

It’s the kind of thing that makes any parent shudder in fear but there are ways to keep tabs on your child’s internet activities without them even knowing.

At Louisville geek they help parents put software on their computers that can restrict kids’ access to certain websites.

Bobby Bailey says Open DNS free and lets you block certain content and it’s the software that's the most difficult for kids to remove.

If you want to see the conversations your kids are having on over instant messenger on a social networking website, Bailey says the best bang for your buck could be Cyber Patrol.

“It’s gonna track everything that happens then it’s the burden of the parent to go through the logs if you can envision hours and hours of chat that’s going to need to be sifted through,” says Bobby Bailey.

With software like Cyber Patrol and Net Nanny, Bailey says that kids can often switch the settings around and actually monitor what parents are doing.

That’s just one more thing for mom and dad to check.

“You can come home at night if you got home after your children and log onto the computer that they frequently use, read the logs and the reports if certain key words were to appear or applications were to be ran or website visited,” he says.

The software can be switched around so that it’s monitoring the parents instead of the children and Windows 7 has a control where you can block items but Cyber Patrol is the cheapest.

In a survey done by Cox Communications, 51% of the parents questioned said they don't know or don't have software to monitor what their kids are doing online.

In that same survey, 71% of teens said they had received messages from someone they didn't know online.