It’s 2011 and social media is, quite literally, everywhere you look: Your smartphone, your iPad, video games–even television, it seems, has begun taking its cues from social media. And heading the proverbial pack? Young teens. Common Sense Media, in a 2009 comprehensive report, estimated that 22% of teens log onto social sites like Facebook and MySpace more than ten times a day. Moreover, 75% of teenagers own cell phones, and 25% of those use them for social networking purposes. If your teen is as much a media connoisseur as the data suggest, it’s likely he/she either wants to engage in social media networking, or is already doing so.
It’s true that social media can be an exciting and even crucial component of a child or teen’s social development. But the risks don’t lie far behind, either.
According to the March 2011 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), entitled “The Impact of Social Media Use on Children, Adolescents and Families,” the most prescient risks facing youth who engage in social media fall into the following categories: “peer-to-peer; inappropriate content; lack of understanding of online privacy issues; and outside influences of third-party advertising groups.” The report further emphasizes the importance of parental oversight of online activities, stating that they “urge parents to monitor for potential problems with cyberbullying, “Facebook depression,” sexting, and exposure to inappropriate content.”
With all of these potential danger zones, it is understandable to be concerned about your child’s safety online. And with 85% of parents reporting being more concerned about online privacy than they were five years ago, the time is long overdue for a solution to the problem.
SocialGuard, ZoneAlarm’s newest security solution, promises a groundbreaking new method of monitoring and preventing safety breaches on Facebook (the most popular social networking site by a mile, with over 500 million users) without “friending” your child and intruding on his/her social space. SocialGuard sends real-time alerts to parents via email–or the SocialGuard interface–whenever suspicious activity is detected on your child’s profile; parents can customize security settings and keywords to trigger such messages if the child is exposed to illicit or inappropriate content. SocialGuard monitors children’s Facebook accounts for threats including cyberbullying, age fraud (ensures children are not befriended by adults outside of their network); friend requests, hacked accounts, and link safety (flags dangerous/offensive links contained in messages).
The product, available now, can be purchased here. Want to see it in action? Check out this informative video for more details and a step-by-step visual look into the process of securing your child’s profile:
It’s 2011. Social media, if handled carefully, can certainly enrich a child’s life. But precautions matter. Use SocialGuard to protect against threats to the integrity of your child’s online experience, and he/she will thank you later for it.