MANCHESTER, U.K. -- Children are now preparing for the start of the new academic year and while the prospect of returning to school may not please every child, a significant number are probably happy that it has prompted parents to invest in PCs and laptops to support success in studies. However, Manchester-based Global Security One (GSEC1) is advising parents to ensure that they have appropriate systems to protect their children from the more unsavoury aspects of the Internet.
"The internet is a fantastic resource, with encyclopedic knowledge a few keystrokes away, but once children have access to the Internet, it is only fair to assume that they will want to engage in the social aspects too, from chat rooms to messaging," explains Mark Brooks, International Marketing Manager of GSEC1. "While there are bodies who strive valiantly to police the Internet and keep youngsters safe, it is a daunting, enormous challenge. It is unsurprising therefore, that many parents will want to try and manage their children's use of the Internet to safeguard them from online threats such as websites with unsuitable content, child grooming and cyber-bullying.
"That said, I know from being a parent myself that it's unrealistic to expect Mum or Dad to monitor every minute of their child's surfing. There are household chores to perform, there may be more than one child with a PC or laptop in the home, working patterns may not coincide with children's activities and so on. That is why we have developed the XGate which has the ability to significantly reduce any harmful online communication, without parents having to permanently survey their children's activity."
The XGate monitors real time children's online activity and alerts parents if relevant by email or sms on their mobile phone to inappropriate material and/or behaviour in terms of website content, chat room activity and emails and their attachments.
GSEC1's XGate will:
- flash an alert page (which reads 'This page has been blocked under
the category of pornography, please contact your guardian') on the PC screen should a user try to access a website with pornographic content; the page will stay on the screen until the child decides to navigate away from the site
- email or sms the website address to parents' mobile phones to advise
them so they can discuss with their children later
- block emails with pornographic or bullying content and attachments
via its intelligent email filter
- email or sms to parents' mobile phones if inappropriate or 'trigger'
language occurs while their children are in chat rooms and at risk of being groomed; grooming language includes phrases such as 'sex', 'secret', 'meet', 'mobile phone number', 'age', 'webcam', 'are you alone' etc
- allow a parent to remotely control the child's computer by using
simple replies to any email or sms alerts received, including the ability to remotely shutdown the child's computer
- control access to specific websites at pre-agreed times to children,
e.g. education websites only between 18:00 and 20:00 for support with school assignments