Helping parents monitor the Internet

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Dennis Hines | June 26, 2014

JANESVILLE --  When two Waukesha girls allegedly stabbed their friend recently in an attack apparently inspired by the Internet Slenderman phenomenon, it left many parents worried and wondering what to do.

How could something like this happen? How could they counsel and protect their children in what increasingly seems like an online-all-the-time world?
Well, the Rock County Sheriff's Office is offering a new tool to help parents be more aware of what their children are up to online.

“The Internet has a lot of wonderful qualities to it and has the wealth of information that can benefit your child,” Sheriff Robert Spoden said. “But it also has a lot of dangerous areas, and it also has areas where children of a certain age should not be going.”

The sheriff's office recently purchased more than 3,000 copies of the ComputerCop parental Internet monitoring software that allows users to view full text transcripts of websites, chat rooms, emails and social media sites that their children have accessed on the Internet.

“It's a very useful tool for a parent, especially now. The Internet is a huge resource of data and a lot of it is collected by predators,” said Sgt. Jay Wood of the Rock County Sheriff's Office. “(Online predators) know how to cyber stalk, and this is one of those things that assist parents and give them kind of an alert. The relevancy of this program is it's more significant now than ever.”

The ComputerCop software also features a built-in thesaurus that includes about 5,000 trigger words that are either sexually explicit in nature, violent, profane or related to pornography. Users can add words to the thesaurus.

“That's one of the beauties of it,” Spoden said about the ability to add trigger words. “Let's say your son or daughter was running with a certain group of kids that you weren't comfortable with. You could put their names in there and every time their names were brought up as conversation on the Internet, then it would flag it and you would see it.”

Read the complete story HERE.

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