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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Free parental tips from Webroot for protecting children on line.

06 February, 2008
To accompany the launch of Parental Controls, Webroot is offering a free guide for parents for the protection of children on line so we had a look at it to see if we could learn anything.
If you think you've reached middle age because your teenage kids don't know Biggles from Buggles and they think an Escort Mexico is the name of a south American massage parlour, then try to decipher their on-line jargon if you really want to feel out of touch. Do you have any idea what FUD means or POS or even LMIRL?

These terms are part of the glossary in the guide to on line child protection issued by Webroot today, a nicely presented, colourful PDF file that looks like an A4 filofax when printed out and made to feel even more at home on the coffee table by being called a "companion guide", a title usually associated with books about fine wines, antiques or even Yorkshire terriers.

The first part of the guide is largely common sense stuff that you'll have already heard a dozen times before but still worth the reminder: buy web filtering software, talk to your kids about the dangers and don't hide your computer in their bedroom where they can chat till 4am without you ever being the wiser.

The value in the guide is the eminently sensible advice that "online kids need online parents" â€" a reference to the fact that if you have no clue what they're up to and are not savvy to the dangers, you are hardly likely to ever know what they're up to or what's likely to go wrong. Finding out what its all about and having a go at some of the programmes they use will provide the eye opener that may make a difference in the way you view their activities.

We all know, of course, that our teenage angels wouldn't consciously put themselves at risk or compromise the family security but the predators are cunning, experienced and very good at what they do so a relatively naÃŻve adolescent could easily fall prey to them and understanding that is half the battle for both the parents and the children.

So if you have any FUD (Fear, uncertainty, doubt), have a look at Webroot's guide and become a POS (Parent over my shoulder) before some stranger twice a teenager's age invites them to MIRL (Meet in real life).

If after reading the guide you need any further convincing, there's a good list of reference web sites at the back of it with stacks of information on protecting families from on line dangers.

The guide is available for free download from Webroot's web site.
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