Recent cyberbullying-related suicides led to several powerful online discussions about effective ways to protect children and teens. (see one introduction below) We discussed ways to teach children to be respectful, responsible and compassionate and we shared ideas to reduce bullying. We debated parenting styles and teaching skills and we brainstormed about effective school policies. Surprisingly, few products or services came up but those that help kids stay safe may greatly reduce the anxiety of parents, guardians and educators and would be good to know about.

Using forums for brainstorming

LinkedIn discussion on cyberbullying had good participation and led to insightful solutions

If you’ve used, know of or sell a good product or service to help keep children safe online and when they use technology, please share your information in a comment.

Products or services may be free or paid.

Protect Kids online

Monitoring software examples from a random online search (These are not recommendations)

Products or services can include but are not limited to online monitoring, cell phone monitoring, virus protection, online gaming protection, apps, credit monitoring, Identity Theft protection, workshops, anti-bullying, reputation management and removal of inappropriate information, posts, photos or videos.

Products to help keep kids safe online and with technology

Random products from a Google search for identity theft prevention, gaming protection, credit and phone monitoring, tracking and surveillance

A few rules to follow before you share:

  1. Products or services should BE APPLICABLE TO CHILDREN (Okay if they apply to adults too)
  2. Please DISCLOSE your connection to the product (Transparency builds trust)
  3. Please give a BRIEF summary in your own words (If anyone wants more info, they’ll ask)
  4. Feel free to include ONE LINK MAXIMUM (If applicable, CommentLuv link, is a bonus)
  5. Please use a FULL URL (vs. a bitly or shortened link) if you include a link
  6. Please select and clearly note a CATEGORY for the product or service
  7. Please provide an approximate PRICE range, if possible (Specify FREE when there is no cost)

A post for products and services for users of any age, will follow. Thank you for helping to make the virtual world a safer place together.

Until next time,… Stay Cyber Safe!

33 Responses to Products and Services that Protect Children Online

  1. Hi Hayley, as we know our identity is highly valuable and we use it in our routine life, everybody need to be protect their identity over the web. Identity Vault helps in identity restoration for the entire family. And its features like black market monitoring, lost wallet service are unique services that allow us to store certain information about the content.

  2. Tiffany says:

    What a great conversation Heyley, thank you for opening this kind of discussion.

    My company, Totlol (http://www.totlol.com/), provides a platform for kids to watch their favorite videos online. All videos are filtered and moderated by a community of parents, to ensure the blocking of inappropriate content.

    My partner, Michael,is a father of 3 and definitely answers the definition of a ‘tech-savvy-dad’. However, he was shocked when he saw how easy it was for his kids to find adult content on YouTube, and went looking for a solution– this is how Totlol was born.

    Our service is free to use and as we are just starting our journey in Totlol, we would love to hear your comments and suggestions on how we can help both parents and kids by giving them a safe service while still enjoying the benefits of watching videos online.

    Thanks,
    Tiffany

  3. Brittany says:

    As a Mom of 2 children I have been hesitant to allow my kids online. There are two things I use in my house that make my kids safe. The first one is an e-mail service that I can monitor what my kids are doing, and I can choose who can contact them. It’s called Kids Email. We also use a safe kids browser, called My Kids Browser that allows my children to only visit pre-approved sites, so there can’t be any accidental slips to scary sites. It’s so important to be involved and know what your kids are doing online!

  4. Brittany says:

    There are 2 products I love for keeping my kids safe online. The first is a safe e-mail service for kids, they can use it and I know who is contacting them and can monitor what they are doing – it’s called Kids Email. Another thing we use in our house is a Kids Browser called My Kids Browser so they can surf the web without having access to anything I don’t approve of. The internet is a crazy place, so it’s nice to allow my kids access and I don’t have to stress about what they might see.

  5. Ellen Shultz says:

    Experian offers another product called SafetyWeb, which helps parents protect their children’s reputation, privacy and safety on the web. Parents can receieve automated alerts when topics of concern are used on their childrens’ social networking sites. The cost is $10 per month or $100 per year.

    • Hayley Kaplan says:

      Sounds interesting, Ellen. Can you briefly explain how SafetyWeb works? Please give real life examples vs. sales brochure info. Thanks.

  6. Raheem Hasan says:

    Hello Hayley,

    It is great that you are providing a forum to blog about this topic. I am the parent of 2 teenagers, and over the last couple of years I cringe at some of the stories that I have read about how the internet has played a role in victimizing innocent children. I think we all understand that the internet offers our children a world of possibilities and it is part of their everyday life. It is critically important that we as parents understand that we are not only responsible for the physical safety and security of our children, but we also need to protect them in the cyber world.

    We understand that our children are using the internet to research and complete assignments for school, but the rapid growth of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites is consuming more and more of our children’s online lives. The reality is, the internet also brings serious concerns for families. Its reach and anonymity gives bullies, predators and hackers too much access to our children. Children can easily access unsuitable content like violence or porn and Cyber bullying is a growing concern. We as parents need to understand that there are also some real risks that we need to be aware of.

    Let me pose a question, do you really know what your are children doing online?
    .

    I work for a company that has developed a new state of the art parental control software product called Shield Genie (www.shieldgenie.com). Below is a list of some of Shield Genie’s key features:
    • Block inappropriate websites
    • Monitors social media activity
    • Comprehensive dictionary of over 2,800 keywords and phrases, including slang for pornography, drugs, suicide, hate speak, etc
    • Monitors all activity on the PC including emails, instant messages & webcams
    • Be alerted if your child visits a site containing inappropriate topics/keywords
    • Alerts immediately delivered via text message and/or email (includes a screenshot)

    I like the comment from one of your bloggers about being “new school….and having an open conversation with kids…”. That is at the core of what we want to do with Shield Genie, give parents visibility to what their kids are doing online and equip them with what they need so that they can have that conversation with their children. We hear the horror stories about kids committing suicide, abusing drugs, getting abducted, bullying or getting bullied…..and how many times do we hear their parents say, “I had no idea….no my child would never…etc, etc, etc….” Well what if you could know? Knowing what your child is doing online means you can discuss their internet activity with them and step in if their behavior becomes alarming. Many parents only find out their child has gotten into trouble online when it’s too late. Shield Genie Parental Control Software will ensure you are not in the dark.

    Visit our website (www.shieldgenie.com) to learn more. Enter code PROTECT2013 to get a 30% discount (cost for the software is around $100 -one time charge, after the discount)!!

  7. Chris Crosby says:

    Hi Hayley, what a great conversation. I think as a whole, we’re just starting to enter the stage of seeing the effects of widespread social media adoption. While some products like content filtering have been around awhile, social network sites have added new dimensions to what parents need to be aware of.

    Cyber bullying and sexual predation are the obvious ones, but we’re also seeing identity theft of teens on the rise as well as teens ruining their online reputation and chances of getting into the college as a result of poor social media judgement.

    At SociallyActive (http://sociallyactive.com) we connect directly to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to automatically scan a child’s activity for: profanity, aggressive behavior, sexual content, reputation effecting information as well as if they have posted any personally identifiable information that could make them more prone to identity theft.

    Thanks for the post and the opportunity to share our solution.
    Chris Crosby recently posted…Twitter Privacy SettingsMy Profile

  8. Hi Hayley,

    Its not about the products for us, its about the appropriate solution. When we speak with people or businesses about protecting their networks, data or children the whole picture needs to be considered. There are some simple steps that can be done on a PC to ensure age appropriate sites can only be accessed such as DNS filters or NetNanny type software however this does not filter any results to tablets or indeed mobiles that are either using 3G/4G services or wireless. Further steps can be taken to protect these devices or the wireless/router connection itself but considerations still need to be applied to the adults or older children who may well be of an age where accessing a different set of web content is appropriate. I feel that just having a product which ‘solves’ the issue really does not address all the needs of a web connection, there are different people with different needs typically accessing the Internet from the same location and are likely to be using different devices to do so. ALL of this needs to be thought about.

    Happy to provide some further information or discuss particular solutions and or configurations if its appropriate and as a solutions provider we do have partnerships with several companies but we main independent when providing advice and guidance on the best fit solution to a problem.

    Hope this was the type of response you were after but please feel free to connect if I can help any further.

    Some useful references:

    Our Website if you want to make contact: http://www.magikos.co.uk

    Links to advice and guidance for children, parents and teachers: http://www.magikos.co.uk/index.php/news-and-blog-articles/news/57-supporting-safer-internet-day

    Regards,

    Tony.

    • Hayley Kaplan says:

      You are right on target, Tony! I agree with you that there is no single product that could possibly handle everything. The big picture needs to be considered to come up with an effective and safe cyber lifestyle.

      Please can you give a brief summary of how your service works? Do you do phone consults, do you go into homes? How do you do a thorough analysis? (I expect there are many sites people can go to so I’m trying to make it easier for people to get a handle on the type of assistance that’s available without sending them to multiple websites to do the work.)

      Thanks so much!

      • Hi Hayley,

        The biggest problem is that the threats, equipment and service provision to homes and businesses is changing all the time. People use their IT equipment for different functions and with so many types and uses each solution must be tailored. In addition, this is not something the average parent can achieve without some help as additional complexities have pushed the solutions to become more complex which in turn require more IT knowledge and skills to implement protection. That said there is a number of steps that can help.

        You asked me about how our services work. Domestic and commercial services are becoming more alike each day so our approach is similar in both cases. I have listed a typical approach which would be tweaked to suit the environment and situation:

        - first and one of the most important steps, especially with domestic users is communication. You must be able to communicate using everyday language that explains how and why you are suggesting certain technologies without confusing acronyms or technical terms so to educate as well as protect.

        - We would then assess the ways that data can be breached – look at ways into the networks, wireless, router, if there is a hardware firewall, does any data get moved around on USB drives – so assess the environment.

        - Next is to assess and audit the devices used, desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, Chromebooks, Xbox, Playstation, etc.

        - The next step is to understand the functions and use of the devices, what services are already in use, what would like to be used, what might be used in the future, how use may change over time so solutions can be sort without the need to throw anything away when situations change.

        - Then the last step is to discuss the possible ways to protect the children, data and the entire family that meets the expectations of the customer and to a budget that is affordable. Its no good understanding all the risks if then the costs make the protection unaffordable. Some levels of protection can be achieved with minimal costs, some protection or additional flexibility requires some increased costs; its all a balancing act.

        This is usually completed in person at the homes or offices of the customer because its difficult to assess the situation and equipment remotely. It can be done but is often not the best way. When dealing with security, safety and data protection most customers prefer to see what work is involved and feel better protected if someone has taken the time to understand the unique way they use the equipment and Internet services.

        There are lots of great websites that can tell you how to protect your children or data online, we participate where we can with these sites to promote awareness but, and its a big but…. As children get more and more knowledgeable about IT and ways to circumvent the protection, and virus and malware writers use ever changing techniques to also avoid detection, its no longer just a case of buying a single installable piece of software that can do everything its now required to take a far wider view of protection which uses specialist skills and knowledge.

        With all that said, the most important thing a parent or business owner can do is to know the situation is unsafe and take some action, because any action is better than not acting at all and ignoring the risk!!!

        If you would like more information just let me know or you can contact me via the website at http://www.magikos.co.uk or give me a call on 0843 289 2272.

        Regards,

        Tony.

        • Hayley Kaplan says:

          Tony – Very helpful information that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for taking the time to explain. The big picture is important – the cliche of you’re only as strong as the weakest link emphasizes the need for handling the technicalities of the network and then discussing it with everyone that uses it. (or teaching or training them to use it correctly)

          So it would seem your business would be local to the Berkshire area, right? It could possibly be handled virtually via video chatting but that could be complicated and somewhat cumbersome in many situations. I think you’ve identified an important niche for businesses around the world to cater to. Thanks again.

  9. Linda says:

    The Federal Trade Commission has wonderful information and interactive games that teaches about cyberbullying and also Internet Safety,

    • Hayley Kaplan says:

      Thanks, Linda. I’ve used FTC resources myself – good suggestion. Do you know what age group the games apply to?

  10. Ellen Shultz says:

    Category: IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION

    I work for Experian, a global leader in identity theft protection. One of their products is called Family Secure. It costs $19.95 per month. Here is some general info about the product:

    Experian offers child identity theft protection with their Family Secure product. I’ve included a link to an informative article below about child identity theft. The link below that is for the Family Secure website with information specific to that product. Here’s the basic information on it:

    How Family Secure works:

    - Monitors your children’s personal information for the existence of a credit file
    - Sends email alerts if suspicious activity or signs of identity theft are detected
    - Provides Fraud Resolution support for you or your children
    - Gives access to Unlimited Experian® Credit Reports & Scores to help you stay on top of your credit

    We’ll then continue to monitor your children’s personal information as well as your Experian credit file to help protect your family and keep you informed.

    • Hayley Kaplan says:

      Thanks for the information, Ellen. Are you able to provide examples of the type of information or suspicious activity Experian may find from its monitoring of children?

  11. BH Mom says:

    I wonder how many parents take the time…I hope they read this.
    BH Mom recently posted…Marriage and the Man CaveMy Profile

    • Hayley Kaplan says:

      Me too. I’d like to get some firsthand experiences from parents if they have any products that have worked well for them and their kids.

    • Ryan Foley says:

      BH Mom, in my experience too few parents are taking the time to learn how to parent the Internet generation. Only a small percentage use any type of Internet Accountability or Filtering software. We need a new posture as parents, a new motto if you will, “If you are not willing to police the device then don’t provide it”.

      I meet thousands of parents a year, most of which have equipped their kids with smartphones, laptops, and/or tablets, with no training or accountability they simple allow their kids to surf the web. When just viewed from an Internet pornography perspective it’s no wonder the age of first exposure to hardcore porn is 11 yrs. old, in boys its actually more like 8 or 9 yrs.

      Given the effects on the brain alone this is going to produce some disastrous outcomes in the coming decade, especially as these young men and woman enter the workplace or enter into marriage. Consider this statistic on marriage. In 56% of divorces today, a major contributing factor is one spouse’s continued use of pornography…and pornography use has been correlated with a 300% increase in infidelity (Source: Marriage & Religion Research Institute).

      As a father of a young man and two small girls I’m worried. As someone who’s continually meeting people addicted to porn, even at very young ages, I often find myself asking “What kind of baggage and issues will the men my daughters want to date or marry bring to the table. Will they be able to find a man, a real man, that hasn’t experienced years of porn consumption and what will his expectations be of my daughters.”
      Ryan Foley recently posted…Do you want your child (or husband) to see nudity on daytime TV?My Profile

  12. Matt Steiner says:

    Super-interesting post, Hayley. I hope you get some awesome responses. I might be a little ‘new school’, but I like the idea of just having an open conversation with kids about internet etiquette. I wonder if when you block certain online content or material, it becomes ‘forbidden fruit’ – exoticized and more desirable.

    • Hayley Kaplan says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Matt! I’m with you – I think open conversation is the most important factor of all although a little help along the way can’t hurt, right? That said, I highly doubt there is a product or combo of products that replace the important role of parents who are actively involved in their children’s lives. I assume these products are more likely to work when combined with smart parenting.

  13. Gina says:

    My children are at an age where they are just beginning to have access to the online world. Thanks for opening this up for people to share the best products they’ve found. I’ll definitely be checking them all out!
    Gina recently posted…The Ultimate Parenting Resource: Kids In The HouseMy Profile

    • Hayley Kaplan says:

      Gina, you are at the perfect and important stage where you have the opportunity to establish rules so that your children learn to use technology appropriately from the start. With thoughtful and careful parental guidance, your kids can be “well-trained” to take care of themselves by the time they expect and demand their privacy. Stay tuned. Hopefully we’ll all learn about some excellent resources.

    • Hayley Kaplan says:

      PS. I followed your CommentLuv link to your blog. What a treasure trove of resources all in one place!

  14. Cyberbullying is so awful. I wonder if parents were able to see their kids newsfeeds, texts and emails, if it would curb some of this behavior. But good luck having your teen share this information. Thanks for your suggestions.
    Carpool Goddess recently posted…What The Heck Was I Thinking: A FauxmoirMy Profile

    • Hayley Kaplan says:

      Carpool Goddess, you bring up very important points. Firstly, there are products that enable parents to see their kids newsfeeds, texts and emails but if not used with common sense and good parenting skills, success is not a guarantee as kids will find other ways to do what they want. If parents can monitor kids at a very early age and teach them appropriate from inappropriate behaviors, perhaps there will not be issues by the time the kids expect their privacy, and in my opinion, are entitled to it. (It’s easy to establish rules when the kids are younger as a condition for using the technology. Once the kids understand the rules and have proven themselves, I would hope the need to monitor them so closely would dissipate.)

    • Ryan Foley says:

      Carpool Goddess, thanks for your post. You’re right in assuming that if kids where accountable for their post, text, even web browsing that their behavior would change. I’ll give you some direct evidence from Covenant Eyes. Today nearly 13 or more percent of all global Internet searches are for porn or related content. Of our Covenant Eyes accountability users it’s less than 1%. Accountability changes behavior, when what you did doesn’t stay hidden you are less likely to do it, this is true in all areas of our life, not just with technology. Therefore the key buying or using software is to find tools that offer accountability features. Our company, Covenant Eyes, is a good product to change behavior when it comes to Internet porn and other mature content. I’ve also heard parents say they like My Mobile Watchdog (www.mymobilewatchdog.com) for their Android & Blackberry phones.
      Ryan Foley recently posted…Do you want your child (or husband) to see nudity on daytime TV?My Profile

  15. Brent Bowlin says:

    Category: REPUTATION PROTECTION

    There are some services for reputation protection that can be used against cyberbullying. Most of the searches are at no charge. It came as a surprise to us. We had a client email us to see if our service could be used in such a fashion. The reputation services do exactly this; they specifically look what is on the internet on a given name.

    Going back to our client, their son was always using his phone and one day he suddenly stopped. This action is one sign of someone being the subject of cyberbullying.

    They did find some teasing postings online and eventually they let the school deal with the actions.

    There are many states working to put some laws in place to bar cyberbullying. Until a high profile conviction is made this problem will continue. It is worse than physical bullying in the sense that this type can be done anywhere at any time.

    Look for our site at http://www.erasemeout.com as we are the most cost effective.

    • Hayley Kaplan says:

      Yes, cyberbullying is a frightening problem because of how quickly it seemingly escalates beyond the point of no return. I am intrigued by your service, Brent, but I do not fully understand how it works. Can you share a brief description please?

      • Brent Bowlin says:

        Hi Hayley,

        Our service came to be as an information removal service. What stands us apart is that we have automated the manual process of information removal. We have removed all of the time consuming and frustrating parts of the process. The software is a point and click on the items wishing to be removed. The software makes the contact to the website and then follows up with the client to see how the progress is going.

        The true economics is that for twenty dollars, one hundred websites can have information removed.

        What came at a surprise was that the software could be used in the fight against cyberbullying.

        Thanks,

        Brent

        • Hayley Kaplan says:

          Wow! Sounds like an invaluable resource if it works. Brent, can you provide a real life example of a situation where erasemeout was able to successfully remove information?

  16. Ryan Foley says:

    Category: INTERNET AND DEVICE ACCOUNTABILITY AND FILTERING SOFTWARE

    Hayley, thanks for the opportunity and venue to share product information. I’m Ryan Foley, the Vice President of Business Development for Covenant Eyes. Our Accountability software monitors Internet activity and sends a report to a parent, friend, or trusted individual. Our Filtering Software blocks harmful or inappropriate content.

    Before becoming an employee of Covenant Eyes my wife and I were looking for something to help our son use the Internet in a responsible way. We didn’t just want a filter, we needed something that allowed him to be included in the process, a partner with his parents. Covenant Eyes offered more than just the filter, it offered accountability and allowed us to play the role of his accountability partner. The software is loaded on his laptop and our free App is on his iPhone. As he’s using the Internet it rates each website he visits (e.g. E-Everyone, Y-Youth, T-Teen, MT-Mature Teen, M-Mature, HM-Highly Mature). If my son views a site that is above the rating set for him it becomes part of his accountability report, this report is then sent to me and provides me with a tool to have a meaningful conversation with my son.

    When we first started out with Covenant Eyes we took advantage of both the filter and the accountability feature, now that he is older we’ve found that accountability alone is the right fit. Accountability over filtering is my son’s preference too, he knows that he has to build good Internet habits and has to learn to be accountable. He knows that his father is holding him accountable so in the back of his mind he has to ask himself, “If I click on this site will my Dad approve”? In some ways accountability is the best filter, rather than feeling restrictions are being imposed on you, you are imposing restrictions on yourself. As a user myself my son also appreciates that I’m practicing what I preach, just as he’s accountable to me, I’m accountable to my wife. Covenant Eyes is a tool that the whole family can use, it’s not just for kids.

    The cost for the first user is $8.99, every user after the first is $2.00. We do not charge per device, a user can run Covenant Eyes on multiple devices.

    Website: http://www.covenanteyes.com Phone: 877.479.1119

    For a free 30-day trial use promo code SECURE.

    • Hayley Kaplan says:

      Ryan, your product sounds like a valuable resource. The key is accountability and that’s the part that caught my attention in your description above. I like how you started out using the full features with your son and have now reached the point where you are still involved, but less so because you have taught him the important skills of being self-accountable along the way.

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