As a dad of 3 young girls, I’m kind of freaked out by the Internet. Not in the old person, “What is all this World Wide Web nonsense?” kind of way, but in the, “Holy crap, the Internet is legitimately scary” kind of way. Every day I read a new story about a kid getting catfished by a creepy old dude or a young girl committing suicide because of cyber bullying.
Honestly, I’m a bit terrified to think of my daughters wandering through the digital alleys of cyberspace. There’s no telling what monsters, perverts or bullies they might encounter. I want to protect my kids as much as I can without being the Duggars or Big Brother.
Parenteeno is a software company directly targeting terrified parents like me.
The software, which can be installed on Windows machines and Android devices, essentially allows a parent to monitor all the online activity of their children. And when I say “all”, I really do mean all. The amount of data and analytics provided by the software is incredibly robust.
Using the software, parents can monitor:
- Online chatting and mobile phone texting (this can catch sexting and/or bullying)
- The particular search engines being used by children, as well as what the search terms used (if they’re searching for porn, you’ll know about it right away)
- The amount of time spent on particular websites (enables monitoring of social media usage, video consumption, etc.)
- What files are being copied to or from external storage (enables monitoring for pirating)
- All keystrokes done on device (inappropriate or concerning language, sentiments and communications)
- Any photos taken on a smartphone (monitor sexting)
- All phone calls on a device
- And a host of other analytics…
The software uses both “contextual analytics” and “behavioral analytics” to help parents understand exactly what their children are doing online.
Through contextual analytics, the software analyzes the contents of SMS messages, emails, Facebook chat, Yahoo chat, Gmail Chat, and other communication channels, designed to catch hateful, bullying, or sexting-ish types of communications. If any potential threats are found, parents are alerted on their dashboard.
Through behavioral analytics, the software allows parents to drill down into the online behavior of the child. For example, when a parent logs in, they may see that as a whole, their children spend most of their time on <EnterNewThingThatsCoolerThanFacebook>. When they drill down, they can see then see individual URLs on which their children have clicked. Essentially, a parent can see exactly where their children are going and what they’re doing when they get there.
Once the software is installed on a device, the analytics can be monitored from anywhere. Currently Parenteeno is only available on Windows and Android, but it will also be available for Mac and iOS in the near future.
Monitoring 1 device costs $24.95 per year, 3 devices costs $44.95 per year, and 5 devices costs $69.95 per year.
Parenteeno, howevever, seems to be one of, if not the only monitoring software that offers any sort of contextual / intelligent analysis to help parents catch more implicitly harmful behavior like bullying or inappropriate sexual dialogue.
To someone without kids, these kinds of Big Brother solutions can seem pretty extreme. “Monitoring the keystrokes of your children? That’s crazy!”
Honestly, it’s a hard line to walk. I want my kids to have the freedom to make their own decisions about what they do online. On the other hand, the Internet is home to some incredibly nasty stuff that I don’t want my kids to find. Or that I don’t want finding my kinds. Will I use a solution like Parenteeno? I don’t know. But I am glad that the option exists.
Stephen Altrogge is a freelance writer based in Tallahassee, Florida. He writes about tech, marketing, faith, and lots of other things. He’s married to Jen and has three young girls. Every day he consumes more coffee than the entire population of Colombia. He knows more about Star Wars than any respectable man should, and he runs more than any sane man would. He once attempted to eat a 2 pound hamburger in under an hour. He failed.
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