How to Monitor Your Child's Virtual Life

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(NewsUSA) - Joe started to notice that his daughter, then 16, was behaving differently. "She had no desire to go to school in the morning, did not do her homework as she used to, and stopped going to the gym because she was always tired. When the family got together, or even when her friends asked her to go out and do something with them, she would rather stay home, alone."

Desperate, Joe and his wife decided to install SpectorSoft's Spector Pro, a monitoring software program, on their home's computers. The software captures any keystrokes, chats and instant messages, e-mails, Web site visits, Internet searches and programs run by a child, so that parents can see every action performed, step-by-step.

Joe was shocked to learn what his daughter was doing online. "Our girl had met a married 42-year-old man during a chatting session, and they were sending provocative pictures to each other," he says. His daughter was also visiting juvenile pornography and suicide Web sites, as well as planning to run away with the man she had met.

Joe and his wife put his daughter in counseling and contacted the FBI and local authorities about the online predator.

Pedophiles continue to use the Internet to target victims. It's important for parents to monitor Internet activity and discuss the dangers with their children. According to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, there are certain online behaviors that put children and teenagers at greater risk. These include:

- Posting personal information - Interacting online with strangers

- Making nasty comments

- Sending personal information to people unknown in real life

- Downloading images from file-sharing programs

- Visiting pornography sites

- Engaging in cyber-bullying

- Talking about sex online

If parents cannot supervise their children's online activity, or if they suspect a problem, they should consider installing a software program that tracks online behavior. "I truly believe that we saved our daughter," said Joe.

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How to Monitor Your Child's Virtual Life

Certain online actions can leave children and teenagers vulnerable to predators.

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Word Count: 313
Article Date: July 30, 2009

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