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The idea of heavily monitoring your children’s online activities is a controversial one. On one hand, it is important to protect your child in today’s world of cyber-bullying and online criminals who take advantage of children’s innocence, and on the other, you risk invading your children’s privacy (everyone needs a little privacy!).

I believe children under the age of 10 shouldn’t be allowed to sit on the internet alone. They should be placed under parental guidance and, in this phase, learn how to use internet responsibly. Once the training wheels come off, once they understand the dangers that lurk out there, only then should they be allowed to use it independently.

My internet and computer usage was never monitored at any stage, but my parents always used to come by every few days and guide me not to share personal information online, or talk to strangers, or visit “questionable” websites. I will be following this technique when it comes to my own children (which should arrive in a decade or so): inform children of online dangers, check up on them every once in a while and trust they will follow your guidance.*

Now, about that app I was supposed to review:

Parents out there who prefer handing their children expensive, powerful technology (smartphones) and then closely monitoring them can use the recently released Norton Safety Minder. Check it out after the jump.

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From Android Market:

Now you can use Norton Online Family to keep an eye on what your kids do on their Android™ smartphones, too. The new, FREE Norton™ Safety Minder: Mobile Edition app for Android expands the power of Norton Online Family by letting you see all the websites your kids visit or attempt to visit using their smartphones. It even lets you block specific sites or types of sites.

Symantec – the folks behind the popular Norton series of security and utility software – have released Norton Safety Minder for Android. This app lets you add “children” to your watchlist so you can keep an eye on smartphone activity such as the websites they visit, the apps they install and the texts they send and receive.

Upon launching the app, you are asked to sign up for a Norton account. Once an account is set up, you give the app “administrator” privileges so your kids can’t force-close or uninstall it and then add “children” to monitor. You can then view your kids’ activity online at Norton Online Safety’s official website.

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Norton Safety Minder is a free app that lets you monitor and control website usage only. If you wish to monitor texting activity, apps installation and more, you will have to pay for a premier subscription to Norton Online Family and download the corresponding app.

  • Download Norton Safety Minder for Android [Market Link]
  • Download Norton Online Family for Android [Market Link]

*If they don’t, revoking internet and computer access for some time is not a bad idea.

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You may also like to check out:

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