Symantec Launches New, Unique OnlineFamily.Norton Service for Free Through 2009
Norton Online Living Family Survey Finds Parents Are More Concerned About Internet Dangers Than Drugs.
CUPERTINO, Calif.– Today’s parents rate Internet dangers higher on their list of concerns than drugs. According to the Norton Online Living Family Survey, conducted in March 2009, 56 percent of parents are concerned their kids may come across Internet dangers, which could include online predators and cyberbullies, versus drug-related threats (44 percent). Traditional parental control products are not enough to protect kids online and address parents’ concerns. That’s why Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC), makers of Norton security software, announced today the launch of a new family safety service that takes a different approach to protecting kids online. Symantec is offering OnlineFamily.Norton, available at http://onlinefamily.norton.com, for free until Jan. 1, 2010. The service is valued at $60 for a one year subscription.
To help ensure parents have the tools to keep their kids safe online, Symantec is also partnering with PTO Today to educate families about online safety and declare the week of April 27 “Internet Safety Week.”
OnlineFamily.Norton is not like traditional parental control products that focus on just blocking and monitoring kids’ online activities. The service goes a step further to help parents manage the gray areas of the Internet. While parents still need tools in place to help them protect their kids online, education and communication with their kids are now just as important.
The Norton Online Living Family Survey also reveals that parents and kids, even teens, do want to talk to each other more frequently about their day-to-day lives, but they’re not talking to each other. Nearly half of all kids surveyed (47 percent) admit to looking up or reading about “touchy” subjects online, but far fewer (35 percent) have spoken with their parents about these subjects. It’s apparent that a solution is needed that will help foster discussion between parents and kids. Built on a philosophy of dialogue, OnlineFamily.Norton keeps parents in the loop on not only what their kids are doing online, but also what they’re interested in both on and off the Internet.
This is how OnlineFamily.Norton encourages discussion:
* True Transparency – When setting up the service, parents and kids are encouraged to sit down and create the House Rules for online activity together. Children are always aware that OnlineFamily.Norton is active on their computer, and they can also view the House Rules they established with their parents at any time.
* Understand Their Intent – Parents can view search words and phrases a child searches on sites like Google, YouTube and Wikipedia, and where they lead the child online. This feature also gives parents a view into topics their child is interested in.
* Access to Social Network Information – OnlineFamily.Norton monitors activity on social networks like Facebook and MySpace with the ability to see how kids represent themselves, when they login, and how often, allowing parents to start a conversation with their child if they see their child misrepresenting himself or herself online.
* Real-Time Messaging – Kids can send information to their parents in real-time, via the OnlineFamily.Norton site or through email, about their intentions when attempting to visit a blocked Web site.
Easy-to-Use With Clear Reports
Today’s parents realize they need to make time to protect their kids online, but they haven’t found a solution that really makes it easy for them. As a Web-based service, setting up OnlineFamily.Norton is simple. Parents can create an account online in minutes. There are no complicated settings required because it automatically creates age appropriate settings for each child, which parents can also easily customize.
The service provides clear reports with activities listed in chronological order. OnlineFamily.Norton’s Web site monitoring report eliminates all the extra URLs, like ads from media-heavy Web sites, that most parental control solutions are unable to strip out. The report also shows thumbnails of the Web sites their children visit, making viewing the report easy and convenient. Parents can view these reports through their OnlineFamily.Norton account from anywhere they have access to the Internet. They can also choose to receive email reports about select activities.
Customizable Tools to Keep Kids Safe
Effective tools to protect kids from online dangers are still a necessity and, coupled with communication, provide the best protection and education about Internet threats for kids. OnlineFamily.Norton gives parents access to the following technologies that help keep their kids safe online:
* Instant Messaging Monitoring** – Parents can monitor instant messenger chats at various levels for each IM buddy.
* Convenient Web Site Control – Control the Web content that flows into the home by prohibiting more than 40 topic categories. For older kids, parents can allow access to all Web sites but flag objectionable ones, allowing kids to decide for themselves whether or not to visit the site.
* Secure Personal Information – Track, report and prevent personal information children may purposely or accidentally try to send via instant message, social network, or Web site
The service also grows with each child as settings can be changed as they grow older.
Internet Safety Week and PTO Today
To help educate parents about how they can communicate with their kids about online safety, Symantec has partnered with PTO Today (Parent Teacher Organization), a trusted resource for parents and for PTO and PTA leaders nationwide, to declare the week of April 27 – May 1 “Internet Safety Week.” During this time, PTO Today will distribute one million educational magazines with articles and tips about online family safety to schools across the U.S. and launch a Web site, www.internetsafetyweek.com, so that anyone in the U.S. or Canada can access the information.
In addition, beginning today, parents are encouraged to sign up and pledge to have “The Talk” with children about their Internet habits as well as how to act safely and responsibly online. “The Talk” is the first step for parents who want to foster an open, ongoing dialogue about their children’s online lives.
Pricing, Availability and Compatibility
OnlineFamily.Norton, which had been in beta as Norton Online Family since February 2009, is now available for free until Jan. 1, 2010. The service is available at http://onlinefamily.norton.com in English with comprehensive filtering for U.S. and Canadian sites. Filtering support is also provided for English Web sites in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa, but the service is not fully optimized for these countries.
To use OnlineFamily.Norton on a PC (Windows XP Home or Professional, SP2 or later; Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, Windows Vista 32-bit or 64-bit, SP1 or later) or Mac (Mac OS X 10.5), parents simply sign up and create a family account at http://onlinefamily.norton.com. Parents download and install Norton Safety Minder, a small application, onto each child’s computer. As a Web-based service, OnlineFamily.Norton is able to track the Internet activities of each child in real-time. Parents enjoy peace of mind with instant reporting and the convenience of accessing their account anytime from any Internet-connected device.
“Online safety should be a top priority for every parent, but it can be a daunting task if they don’t have the resources they need to get started. That’s why we’re offering OnlineFamily.Norton to families for free this year,” said Janice Chaffin, group president of Symantec’s Consumer Business Unit.
“OnlineFamily.Norton is truly unique because it was designed to foster more communication between parents and kids, which is essential for creating rules together and keeping safe.”
“It’s no longer okay to think of parenting best practices and Internet best practices as separate topics,” said Tim Sullivan, president of PTO Today. “With children spending so much time online, parents simply have to find the time and the tools to help their kids navigate this new world safely and effectively just as we do offline. We don’t throw our kids car keys without driver’s education, and we can’t send them out on the Net without help.”
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