So you might have a curious teenager or you might be afraid that your child is a victim of cyber bullying or stalking. There are many valid reasons for using parental monitoring software, but you need know how to manage the risks that come with using it.
You may ask, risks, what risks? Lets say you installed parental monitoring software on your laptop to keep tabs on your children when they are using it. If you’ve been using the laptop for quite some time, a lot of information would have accumulated on that laptop by now. If everyone logs on with the same user account, it means that the parental monitoring software was possibly active when you were using the laptop. You used the laptop for online banking, purchases, reading e-mail, submitting personal information, etc. Should this laptop be stolen, you will have quite a lot to worry about. What if the thief manages to gain access to the information logged by the monitoring software? That could compromise a lot of things, lead to things like identity theft and eventually have a huge impact on your finances.
So what am I trying to say, that you should never use parental monitoring software? No, off course not, just use it responsibly. Let me explain how to use it in such a way that it never compromises your online security or the sensitive information stored on your computer. First of all, if your child has his/her own computer, it makes life a lot easier in terms of using parental monitoring software, but giving your child his/her own computer is not always an ideal solution and many families have a single family computer used by all the members of the family, email monitoring software but for different purposes. I will explain these tips from this point of view.
If you only have one computer in your home you need to create an environment where you can operate as if everyone had their own computer. How on earth do you do this? Quite easily, create a separate user account for each family member, but only the parents must have administrative privileges, the children’s accounts must be limited accounts. This way you can control what is being installed on the family computer and keep your children from making unwanted changes to the settings of the computer. Why is this important? Well, having a limited user account won’t make it impossible to bypass the monitoring software, but it will make it at least harder to do so. Secondly, monitoring software can be configured by the parent to monitor only certain users, so parents can can exclude their own accounts from being monitored. This is extremely useful, because it allows the parent to use the computer for online purchases and entering stuff like passwords, credit card numbers and other personal information without the need to turn off the monitoring software in order to prevent the information from being recorded.
There are also other benefits for creating limited user accounts for your children. Because of the limited privileges of such an account, you have better odds against malware. Please note, I said better odds, it does not mean you are immune to viruses. Never assume that a limited user account is a substitute for anti-virus software, you should always have some form of malware protection on your computer, and no, Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials is not enough, you should have some industry standard anti-virus application installed on your computer. Since your computer is a family computer, it falls under the definition of home use. This means you can legally use the free versions of anti-virus applications like avast! or AVG.
This brings me to the next step of making sure that you put safety first when using monitoring software. Monitoring software often clashes with anti-virus applications. But why? It uses the same techniques as key-loggers and spyware and this normally causes the anti-virus software to intervene and block it from operating. The very last thing you should do is to choose the easy way out and disable your anti-virus software. This totally compromises the security of your computer and everything stored on it. If you have a good anti-virus program, it should allow you to exclude the parental monitoring software, so that the two can work in harmony.