One of the most worrying areas of the internet is its scope for making children vulnerable to criminals and other predatory elements.
The growth of chatrooms and social networking sites has taken most parents completely unawares. Combined with a tendency to allow teenagers to have PCs in their rooms, it has produced a dangerous situation with which parents are still struggling to get to grips.
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A few years ago the idea of selling parental control software would have have been seen as over the top or a damp squib taking the fun out of the web. But that was before the Web 2.0 explosion with video, easy uploading and webcams popping up in children’s bedrooms all over the country.
Now it is no longer a question of anticipating a possible problem but responding to known facts. As a result of the media exposure of "grooming" by paedophiles there are products on the market to bring a number of protective measures.
One with perhaps a longer established pedigree than most comes from Webroot.
Its Parental Controls hands power back to adults with the ability to set tamper-proof settings to block inappropriate or dangerous content. It is also possible to set time controls to limit time spent on the PC.
It can also act as a block on allowing access to inappropriate files or downloading applications. The parent acts as the administrator and everyone who logs onto the desktop needs to have an account.
In an odd way it is also a means of preparing teenagers for using technology in the workplace where user accounts, access rights and restrictions prevent access to inappropriate material.
From a reseller perspective the benefits are the ease of use and the timing of the conversation with customers. Recent peak-time TV programmes and newspaper and magazine articles have put this firmly on the agenda.
The internet is changing all the time with sites trying to attract teenagers. There is nothing to stop tech-savvy youngsters from clicking onto them.
Add to the chances of randomly going to the wrong place – something poker and porn sites seem to rely on happening – and you could easily end up with a child seeing something they would never be exposed to under any other circumstances.
The pitch: Parental protection
The channel: Gem
The link: www.webroot.com