Norton Online Family Offers Parents Peace Of Mind

    February 17, 2009

Symantec has released the public beta of Norton Online Family, an Internet safety service aimed at helping parents protect children online.

Norton Online Family is currently free and available in English only. It’s compatible with both Macs and PCs.

The service encourages discussions between parents and their children and provides customizable tools to manage online activity.

Marian Merritt
Marian Merritt

To use Norton Online Family parents can sign up and create a family account. Then they download and install Norton Safety Minder, a small application, onto each child’s computer.

Once installed parents will be able to track the Internet activities of each child in real-time.

"Norton Online Family takes a different approach from today’s parental control solutions by providing tools that help parents understand their kids’ online world and fostering communication," said Marian Merritt, Symantec’s Internet Safety Advocate and Norton Online Family Advisory Council lead.

"These tools include the ability to show what kids are actually searching for on ten different search sites, including Google, YouTube and Wikipedia. Parents can also confirm kids’ IM friends and monitor conversations with unconfirmed friends, as well as see the number and type of social networking accounts their kids have and their published age on these sites."

Some of the key features include allowing children to view the rules they established with their parents at any time and notification when Norton Online Family is active, so there is no stealth mode.

Parents can control Web content by blocking more than 40 topic categories and receive email alerts when a child has reached a time limit or attempted to visit a blocked site.

A time management feature allows parents to limit the amount of time each child spends on the computer if they find it necessary.

All online activities can be viewed in chronological order and only show the Web sites a child has visited.

Norton Online Family is expected to have a final launch in late April, pricing details have not been released.