Porn pager alerts parents

Spy in the PC keeps tabs on what kids get up to

A new software package that warns parents if their children are being solicited by paedophiles is to be released at COMDEX next week. Cyber Sentinel acts as the eyes and ears of parents when they can't be there to supervise their children when the wee ones are logged onto the Net. If their kids are under threat from paedophiles, or faced with pornographic, adult or other dangerous material, the system immediately alerts parents by pager or email -- regardless of where they are. According to Chicago-based Security Software Systems, which developed the technology, Cyber Sentinel differs from site-blockers, such as Net Nanny, because it is analyses Web sites page-by-page, rather than by blocking entire sites. The system also works in chat rooms, and on emails, attached documents, search engines, and Web browsers. The developers claim it checks all the information entering and exiting a PC for blacklisted words and phrases. This includes phone numbers, address, social security numbers -- or any data that should not be given to strangers. And if there's a problem, parents can choose to be notified via email or pager so they can take immediate action to stave off any danger –- albeit after the fact. "Unfortunately, the Internet has shown a very dark side," said John Bastian, president of Security Software Systems. "It has become a magnet for paedophiles, molesters, and other predators who belong under lock and key, not online and in touch with our children. "While parents want their children to have the ability to learn and grow, and to go where their imaginations take them, many places online are now out-of-bounds. Clearly, parents must take action to protect their children," he said. Whether Cyber Sentinel provides practical effective protection remains to be seen. ®

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