We live in a world now where the internet is ubiquitous; easily accessible, with a vast mountain of information available at everyone’s fingertips. But, for children growing accustomed to Web 2.0, it can be problematic. They can easily fall victim to online grooming, cyber-bullying, and exposure to indecent material. Luckily, with the turn of 2018 comes spy software. Not quite as intense as one might think – we’re not talking about cars with ejector seats or James Bond’s classic exploding pens. Instead, Spy Software tackles the important issues – like how to protect your child from the dangers of the connected world and to keep your kids safe online.
As technology develops, companies are inventing more ways to provide parents with a safety net for their children. One example is NetNanny; software that provides parental controls and website blocking capabilities for phones, computers, and tablets. Compatible with Android and iOS, NetNanny has been a go-to solution since the company was founded in 1996. With an array of flexible options, parents can limit the amount of time a child spends on a website, mask profanity online, and combat cyber-bullying.
The adaptable dynamics of the software allow for scanning and analyzing websites in real-time, before NetNanny selects a filtering option, based on the selected dynamics. All great for families with young children, as the package deal isn’t extortionately priced either – but social media monitoring comes as extra software, requiring additional payment and installation.
Qustodiois another application allowing parents to monitor and manage their children’s online safety. Available in 6 different languages and compatible with many popular devices, the software allows parents to filter out potentially harmful content and assess how their children dedicate their screen-time. Qustodio focuses on more than just improving the online experience – the application promotes a healthy balance between online and offline, between the World Wide Web and reality. Furthermore, it extends past the internet to provide call and SMS tracking, as well as a location setting so parents can track the whereabouts of their child. Alerts are, however, sent via emails instead of text messages, which can make updates challenging for the everyday, working parent.
Moving to a company that the world is familiar with – Disney have created their own spy software to help parents track and monitor their children’s online presence. Instead of an application, however, Circle works very similarly to Google Home – with a tangible gadget that connects to all devices in the household and provides overall coverage. The app, downloaded easily onto any phone, can be customised to suit different age ranges and their needs – extending as far as placing time limits on the internet, Spotify, and Netflix. Additionally, for younger children, there’s bedtime countdowns and access to Disney content; gamifying their experience with a safety-regulation software. To add to experience, Circle offers a reward scheme as well – allowing parents to provide their children with additional
screen time upon completion of homework, or chores.
Don’t assume that spy software is exclusively targeted at families with younger children – oh no. There are applications available for employers too, helping them track their employees and monitor the workload. ActivTrak, for example, is a cloud-based software designed to monitor employees both on-site and remotely. Even though downloading the software onto every computer sounds like a drag, the benefits are worth it – with a secure workplace in which employers can assess the habits of their employees without being indiscreet. ActivTrak offers more than website filtering with statistics into the applications used and the amount of time
spent on each one.
Similarly, Teramind is a software company that offers a flexible solution for employee monitoring. With a huge array of options to choose from, employers can place the issues of their workplace first and foremost, ensuring they maximize efficiency and productivity amongst their team. Teramind offers Audit and IT Compliance software, as well as Third Party Vendor Management, alongside the standard threat analyses and website monitoring content. The price is flexible by company size, so everyone wins with a solution designed to suit each business.
Spy software is, therefore, stepping into its own big shoes this year – and perhaps with good reason. As the world grows more connected, with the rise of Smart Cities and the Internet of Things, the level of threat also increases. By installing software to protect families and manage workplaces, there’s a greater level of stability.
Even now, on the other hand, there’s a concern rising amongst the creativity. How far will this software go to protect children from the online world? Will it soon reach a point where their experiences are muted altogether, in the name of safety? How can spy software keep up with the technological advances without being abused in some way, through hacking or malicious use?
It’s a case of “let’s wait and see”. At least, until we get exploding pens and ejector seat – equivalents for the online world.