Tools Help Families Combat Cyber Bullying With Alerts, Tips

Firms like CyberPatrol and LookBothWays keep up with Internet trends to block Web sites, manage time spent online, block downloads, restrict chat, and prevent inappropriate language.
As the school year gets into full swing, parents have more tools to combat cyberbullying.

One such tool, recently unveiled by Vanden, allows children to instantly notify selected adults when they are bullied or harassed online. CyberBully Alert also documents the threatening message by saving a screen shot of the child's computer when the child triggers an alert.

The Web-based solution is compatible with most computers and Web browsers. It requires a single download and registration. Parents then select which e-mail addresses and phone numbers will receive the alerts. Alerts are sent through e-mail and text message when a child clicks on the CyberBully Alert icon.

"With more and more of our children spending time on the Internet and on social networking sites at a younger age, this communication is more important than ever," said CyberBully Alert president John Vandenburgh. "It is the missing link between kids and concerned parents."

The creators of CyberBully Alert also offer a School Incentive Program.

A second set of tools from CyberPatrol and includes an Internet Safety Video Podcast Series and safety tips on CyberPatrol's blog. Internet safety expert and author Linda Criddle will advise families on how to keep children safe on the Internet. Criddle is president of LookBothWays, which provides online safety consulting to governments, law enforcement, and other organizations.

"There are more opportunities than ever to share information and enrich communications over the Internet," she said. "Doing so safely requires family communication, some basic 'rules of the road,' and proven software to make sure those rules are effective."

CyberPatrol offers parental control software that blocks Web sites, manages time spent online, blocks downloads, restricts chat and instant messages to prevent inappropriate language, curbs revelations of personal information online, monitors Internet activity, and protects against predators and identity thieves.

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