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I have a really kewl giveaway!

I was asked by the wonderful BlogHer people to review a new product, Norton On-Line Family.


And I’ve been given an iPod Touch to give away to one of my lucky readers.   There are ten opportunities to win an iPod touch.  Go to BlogHer to see the others.  My details are below.

Norton On-Line Family, is software to help track where you kids are going on the internet, what they are doing, what instant  messages they are sending. It even has a feature which allows you to limit them to so many hours per week or weekend.

Now I have a teenager. And I’ve had the conversations with her about the dangers of posting personal and identifying information on the internet.

When we have these conversations, I’m reminded of a cartoon I saw somewhere; the dog owner is scolding the dog and it shows what the owner is saying and all the dog hears is “blah, blah, blah Spot. Blah, blah, blah Spot.”

The software enables you to block certain types of sites, specific sites or to allow certain sites.  You can warn the teenager they are getting ready to enter an prohibited site, block the site entirely or simply log the information about what site they went on.  It has a safe search feature so your child doesn’t search for web sites about medieval beasts and get into some hairy sites you don’t really want her to see.  You can block internet messaging entirely, monitor the chats or allow unmonitored IM.   It has a time feature which allows you to set a maximum number of hours your teenager can be on-line from Monday through Thursday and again from Friday through Sunday or time periods when your teenager shouldn’t be on the computer at all.  It has notification features which send e-mails to a specific address when certain things occur.

In order to monitor a teenager, you must set up their own identity on Windows, a relatively simple task.  Each child in the household can have different settings.  So, say an older child could be allowed on the internet until 10 p.m. on week nights but a younger child would only be allowed on until 8:00.

We don’t currently let our kids have computers in their bedrooms but all of the high schools my daughter is contemplating attending next fall require a laptop with wi-fi internet access and we have a wireless internet in our home, so we are soon going to be over ruled about that by circumstances.

I don’t think any of this will enable me to stop paying attention to what my kids do on-line but it may help me monitor and discuss with her where she is going and what she is doing.

And now, because I used the software and played with it a bit, the great people at BlogHer and Norton are giving me an iPod Touch to give away to my readers.

To enter, please leave me a comment below, telling me how you stay in the loop with your kids and whether this new software will help you.  You may leave a link to your post or twitter message about this contest in the comments for an additional entry.  The contest will begin at 12:00 a.m. (PST) on Monday, February 9th and will end Sunday, February 22nd at 11:59 p.m. (PST).  Make sure your email address is valid!


Comments are closed! Thanks for participating. Winner will be announced shortly


91 responses so far ↓

  • 1 I have a really kewl giveaway! // Feb 9, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    […] And I’ve been given an iPod Touch to give away to one of my lucky readers.   There are ten opportunities to win an iPod touch.  Go to BlogHer to see the others.  Check out the details here. […]

  • 2 Bethany // Feb 9, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I would love an iPod Touch, it would bring me into the correct century! I have a teen and she would say we are overprotective about her internet time. Every social network she is on, I am her friend. The computer is in our kitchen. We have Norton (not the one you are reviewing but I’m thinking an upgrade is in order). We have had a gazillion conversations about internet safety.

  • 3 Cynthia // Feb 9, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    We definitely need to get something like this as the guys are getting more adventurous on the computer. The computer is in the kitchen right now but then again I’m not always IN the kitchen…. I like that this seems to have different levels of control….

    Does this work on Mac’s?

  • 4 Shelly // Feb 9, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    My daughter is only 4, but already a tech fiend! I like how comprehensive this system is

  • 5 Jean D. // Feb 9, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I try to be Drill Sargeant Major B. Busybody when it comes to my kids’ internet viewing. But am I naive enough to think I can police it all? Of course not. That’s where Norton’s Online Family software can help me be a better watchdog. I want to appear to my kids as though I have eyes at the back of my head.

    Did you see the movie, DOUBT? Maybe I need one of those classroom pictures with reflecting glass on it. But somehow I think the Norton software will be a lot more effective.

  • 6 Jean D. // Feb 9, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Tweeted you here:

  • 7 Lindsay // Feb 9, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    My son is two so I don’t have to worry about his internet uses now. However I’ve seen too many news specials about the hidden dangers of the internet. I’m all prepared to use sytems such as Norton to safeguard my child

  • 8 Erika // Feb 9, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Sounds like a great service. My older daughter is 7 and we have very tight security settings on the computer for her. She has a few websites that she can view (webkinz, PBS kids) and anything else she tries to open up is blocked until a password is entered in and the site is approved. There is too many sites that open up as pop-ups that we don’t want her exposed to. The computer is also in our family room so that we can see what sites are open at any time.
    I think this will help to see what sites are being visited as a safeguard for anything that might slip through as well as to hold us all accountable to what is being viewed online.

  • 9 Sharla // Feb 9, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Right now we only have one computer in a VERY public place and my oldest is only 8 and spends minimal time on the computer. However, as I’ve been learning more about this I know a ton of people I want to tell. I work with the young women in our neighborhood and I see so many bad habits they have and would love to learn more and tell my neighbors about this. And of course use it myself down the road!

  • 10 Sharla // Feb 10, 2009 at 12:00 am

    I blogged about it here:

  • 11 Sharla // Feb 10, 2009 at 12:01 am

    I tweeted here:

  • 12 Michelle // Feb 10, 2009 at 1:14 am

    While keeping the computer in a main room of the house is good plan of action for keeping kids safe, anyone who thinks that’s enough is setting themselves up for tragedy. I’m here to tell you, that’s not enough.

    My three sons are grown now, but I have a 12 year old daughter who could be prime pickings for an internet predator. Even though I monitor which sites she can visit, who her online friends are and I spot-check emails and history, I’m still concerned about online predators making her their prey. Why? Because the internet, while a fantastic technological advancement, has also opened up a whole playground for pedophiles. I’ve been a police dispatcher for 22 years and I’ve seen the best of kids become online victims because the predators are master manipulators and they know exactly where to go & what to say to worm their way into children’s lives. I’ve talked to my daughter about the dangers of online strangers and not being gullible. Just a few weeks ago she came to me and told me that she thought there was an adult posing as a child at one of the kid-friendly sites that I bought her a pre-paid card for. Those sites, law enforcement, and parents can’t be everywhere, that’s why this software is such a great back-up for parents.

  • 13 Michelle // Feb 10, 2009 at 1:16 am

    I tweeted:

  • 14 Jenn // Feb 10, 2009 at 1:55 am

    My daughter will be five in eight months. Within this past week she has learned to write her name, and the names of all of her family members. I am sure that by the time she is five she will be reading. And seeing how computer savvy she is now, I wouldn’t be surprised if she picks up on how to actually browse the internet and navigate websites.

    For the time being she plays on and, and I do stay nearby to monitor what’s going on. But I am sure that with household duties and my other child, I could easily get distracted and walk away. This is where Norton Online Family could definitely be handy… pop-up ads and inappropriate content are all too easily accessible, and as she gets older she could definitely access it herself. This is something I want to avoid!

    Thank you for this great giveaway. :) My email address is

  • 15 Jenn // Feb 10, 2009 at 1:55 am

    I also twittered!

  • 16 Dianne // Feb 10, 2009 at 8:55 am

    My 15 & almost 14 year old boys hardly spend any time online, but I knew we needed to get something in place. Voila! Your review arrived and was just what the dr ordered. I installed this last night and am excited to have it. I love the flexibility and customizability of this program. I also like that it covers so many areas of online usage and the time controls. Thank you so much for reviewing this. :D

  • 17 Jenna // Feb 10, 2009 at 9:27 am

    I am not yet a parent but this information is very helpful for the future (I hope to be a parent in the next year or so!). I was a teenager right at the start of the internet and so I have to admit that I haven’t spent a whole lot of time thinking about how to keep kids safe while surfing… this is all good information. Thanks!

  • 18 Christine Brown // Feb 10, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    My girls are closely monitored (they are ages 13 and 10) with their computer time. They are restricted to Wednesdays and Weekends only and thenonly on approved websites. If they are caught on an unapproved site (Utube, myspace, etc) all computer privellages are stripped for a month. we also have it set up that duplicate emails get sent to my accounts and the girls…so I always know what their friends are saying or forwarding to them online. I really liked the Norton video at the website. I will be looking into it.

  • 19 Amanda // Feb 10, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    We use Parental COntrols through AOL to monitor our childrens’ activities. This prgram is helpful but there are some downfalls. The new Nortan program sounds perfect for us and I am excited to give it a try! Thank you for the great info and the chance to win this great prize!

  • 20 Nancy // Feb 10, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    We have our home computer in the living room, so we are there to physically keep an eye on what my daughter is doing. She’s only 7, but it doesn’t hurt to ensure that she doesn’t accidentally go to any sort of unsavory site. We do have an account for her on the machine so that her privileges are somewhat restricted, and I’ve bookmarked approved sites to make sure she stays within appropriate limits.

    I like the idea of the Norton software because as she gets older (and more web savvy) it will undoubtedly get more difficult to restrict her access to different sites. I also like that you can set time limits on computer use.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  • 21 daysgoby // Feb 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    What great software!

    Cass (my seven-year-old) has been learning in school that if he types words in by the question mark at the top of the screen, he can find things. Car games – or big truck race games, etc.

    Not all of them are age-appropriate, which explains how I went by the computer the other day and there was a cartoon of three teenagers talking about ‘ getting some smack.’

    Now we sit with him and watch everything.

  • 22 Karen S // Feb 11, 2009 at 1:11 am

    I always check out the history. So far it works beause they don’t know how to clear it yet! When they fugure that out, I’ll have to try out Norton Online Family. Thanks!

  • 23 hazel // Feb 11, 2009 at 11:12 am

    We stay in the loop by making sure to talk to him about what he does on the computer and checking in on him once in a while when he plays. I think norton’s would help because it would allow me to know everything he did rather than what I just happen to see or what he tells me

  • 24 Carol @SheLives // Feb 11, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Aside from limiting their time, we use the very highly fallible honor system with our kids (16 & 12). We do check their browser histories, but that system is sporadic at best. The Norton’s Online Family would definitely be more reliable and would give me considerably more peace of mind.

    Very excited about this!

  • 25 Deanna // Feb 11, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    I have an easy time staying in the loop with my girls (6 & 8) because they usually want to use my laptop since it is faster than our desktop. I’m hoping they get their own laptop soon (I’m tired of sharing – LOL!) and the Norton Online Family software sounds like it would be a wise investment when that happens.

  • 26 Deanna // Feb 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    I tweeted about the contest –

  • 27 reva skie // Feb 11, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    We stay in the loop by utilizing parental controls, keeping the computer in the family room, and shoulder surfing.

  • 28 Dani // Feb 11, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I’m not a parent currently, but I worry about how easily accessible information my children shouldn’t have will be in the future. This is great to read about now for when I do have children down the line.

  • 29 Dee // Feb 12, 2009 at 10:00 am

    My kids are too young to be on the computer by themselves (my oldest is 3) but I’ve already been thinking about what I will do when they get there. This software sounds like it would be great. I love that you can set time limits!

  • 30 Cagey // Feb 12, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Great ideas for staying in touch with one’s children – I will have to keep those in mind for when my own kiddos are older. Which I suspect will happen sooner than I want.*sigh*

  • 31 Rachel C // Feb 13, 2009 at 7:47 am

    I’m pregnant with my first little one, but I am already thinking about what in the world I will have to think about as he grows up. I’m a middle school teacher and I see allll of this stuff that kids are getting in to. Parents really need to be on top of it all, even if it takes time and energy. I think that ANYTHING that can help parents manage what their kids are doing would be great! This program sounds like something I could recommend to my students’ parents! Thanks so much for the giveaway!!


  • 32 Dani' // Feb 13, 2009 at 9:55 am

    my kids have a cyberwatchdog program on their computers right now. One is in my middle schoolers room but the youngest has hers in our office.

  • 33 lace // Feb 13, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    The girls are so young right now that I sit by them when they use the computer. I like the idea of setting time limits. And being able to monitor the activity on the computer would be great.

  • 34 Sally Sundeen // Feb 14, 2009 at 10:49 am

    We as parents face something that our parents have never had to deal with to this extreme…the internet is a very useful tool but can also be dangerous. We stay in the loop by limiting computer time to 1 hour for homework and 1 hour for entertainment…weekends are different. We frequently check the history on the computer. And have the computer in a very public area (however they use headphones for their privacy) This software would definitely help us by blocking sites and still letting our kids have the freedom to explore the vast world that is the Internet

  • 35 jenny the bloggeds // Feb 14, 2009 at 11:09 am

    My kid is 4 but already she’s mastered the art of clicking inappropriate pop ups. It is not good.

  • 36 Milcah // Feb 14, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    I stay in the loop with my kids because they are always with me. I’m a stay at home mom/homeschooler, so that’s just the way it works out right now. The feature of this software that would be useful to me is the ability to track their detailed usage of the internet.

  • 37 Milcah // Feb 14, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    I tweeted at twitter id

  • 38 Milcah // Feb 14, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Also mentioned on my blog

  • 39 Leslie W // Feb 14, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    I have a four year old who is really good with the computer, but luckly he can’t spell so I do all the navigating from site to site for him. This product will help me in a few years when he can navigate for himself.

  • 40 Chade // Feb 14, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    I put the parental restrictions on and talk to them about what they can do on the internet and I “read” them and check and talk to them about what they’ve been doing. I liked all the features that I saw for the Norton software. How you can decide how much time they can use the internet and what sites they can use.

  • 41 Chade // Feb 14, 2009 at 11:07 pm

  • 42 Kyra // Feb 15, 2009 at 12:39 am

    My parents didn’t use any kind of nanny software–but then, I was never interested in searching for porn or anything like that, and I usually figured that if I could trust myself on the internet, they could trust me. Which they could; I was always a good kid.

    That probably doesn’t help most parents, though. :p

  • 43 bonggamom // Feb 15, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I limit my kids’ computer time (they are ages 7, 5 and 5) and monitor the sites that they go on. They are probably too young to know how to go surfing on their own, but lots of sites like Nick Jr. do have ads they can click on, so you can’t be too careful, even at this young age.

  • 44 bonggamom // Feb 15, 2009 at 11:53 am

    I tweeted:

  • 45 Maria P. // Feb 15, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    I don’t have kids…if I did, they would be monitored to DEATH. Way too much creepiness going on…and way too much time spent on computers/phones/video games. Thank you for the giveaway.

  • 46 PRamble // Feb 15, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    My 11 and 12 year olds are just getting into the online world. I have individual logins for them and tracking software to keep tabs on what they are doing. They have no ability to instant message and I don’t allow myspace or facebook type social networking sites. I know though that I can only control this so long. iTouch would be awesome for them to start expanding their horizons yet still be monitoring activity.

  • 47 Tricia // Feb 15, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    The primary computers that the children use are in a public space. The latest version of MacOS X allows you to put time limits on each individual account, so we do that. Recent versions of the Safari browser have parental controls, but they turn out to be relatively easy to subvert (at least this was true in Safari 2, I haven’t tested Safari 3 to see if the same bug still exists). And really, I’d rather use Firefox but it doesn’t have the same controls. We use an adblocker plugin (ABP) so no inappropriate web ads have appeared.

    I was glad to see this works for MacOS X, and for Firefox as well as Safari.

    I’d really make use of the functionality that allows me to review each account from a centralized place, and like that a centralized place can control multiple computers. What we are missing in all our monitoring is something that limits time on particular sites! (e.g. time spent doing research vs time spent having fun) If the Norton tool has the capability to limit time on particular sites (as a subset of their total time), I would find it useful. I’d also like a feature that allowed you to apply different “sets” – e.g. the “doing research” set vs the “having fun” set (right now I just turn off parental controls when I’m helping my 8yo do web-based research, rather than approving each site we want to visit!) So yes, I’d be willing to give this a test drive and determine whether or not it meets our needs. And I’d love to win an iPod touch – my current iPod is from the last millenium :^)

  • 48 suzanne steece // Feb 17, 2009 at 8:37 am

    sheesh! with 18 month old quads–i am DREADING the day that i have to worry about them “surfing the internet”–scares me to death! i will most definitely have to look into this Norton program! Great review! and that ipod would be SO awesome to win!!!

  • 49 holly // Feb 17, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    We stay in the loop by checking his internet history after he’s done and checking on him periodically while he plays. We also talk to him about what is ok and what isn’t ok to look at/do on the internet. I think the Norton’s software would be a great help because it would help me keep better track of what he is doing.

  • 50 Amy // Feb 17, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    My kids are grown & moved out, so this software wouldn’t apply to me. I talk to my kids several times a week by cell & chat online with them on gmail. Luckily, 2 of them live in town, so I see them often. I would love to give this iPhone to my daughter who works fulltime & goes to school in the evenings. She deserves it.

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