On Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 Infoglide launched MinorMonitor, a free web based tool for parents to track their kid’s Facebook activities, was launched. A few clicks on your computer, enter your child’s Facebook login information, and you can have MinorMonitor analyze every type of activity including wall posts, notes, photos, videos, and messages. This continuous monitoring is available to parents at any time through a dashboard or proactive alerts. All which raises the question, is using this software, good parenting or creepy spying?
MinorMonitor – What Exactly Is It?
While MinorMonitor is free, that does not mean it is unsophisticated. Here is a description from the MinorMonitor press release –
“MinorMonitor, as a free web-based tool, has sophisticated algorithms that leverage an extensive keyword phrase library (of over 3,000 keywords) and natural language analytics that identify potentially dangerous activities such as bullying, drug use, solicitation, sexual references, and profanity. These algorithms and keyword phrases are continuously updated, with new words added to follow trends and slang. MinorMonitor also watches out for suspicious friends by identifying friends significantly older than the child, friends with a very small number of mutual friends, and friends who post an abnormally high amount of negative content.”
Infoglide – Protecting the World from Terrorist and Cyberbullies
I just made that tag line up for Infoglide, they can thank me later. For 15 years Infoglide has done security and fraud analytics for customers such as the US Department of Homeland Security. Now they are bringing this same technology to parents who are concerned about what their kids are doing on Facebook. Which brings us back to our original question – is using MinorMonitor solid parenting or creepy spying?
Stopping Cyberbullies, Good. Invading Your Childs Privacy, Not So Good.
I think all of us Moms and Dads can agree that cyberbullying is bad and software that helps us identify cyberbullies and stop them is good. The question is, is it right to read everything you kids post on Facebook, just in case something inappropriate is going on? I say no – and this is why I like the idea of software like MinorMonitor.
My kids are still too young to be on Facebook, but when they are I really don’t want to read every rude, crude and maybe obnoxious joke they make with their friends. Much in the same way, I don’t really want to hear everything they might say at the lunch table with their friends. Teenage humor is probably best left to teenagers.
What appeals to me about MinorMonitor is that it can scan kids posts for potentially dangerous or threatening posts and then alert me to these specific posts. Or, if my son is doing a lot of chatting with a 60 year old guy that has no mutual friends, I can be alerted to this specific activity. In a weird way, software like MinorMonitor can give my kids more privacy, because I will only need to read their “questionable posts” – not everything they put on Facebook.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
I always find it helpful to quote Spiderman when trying to answer tough parenting questions. As parents we are always trying to teach our kids to be responsible, but now it is time for us to be responsible. We need to be responsible in how we use software like MinorMonitor. We should use it to monitor potentially dangerous posts, but not to spy on everything our kids are saying. In addition, we can’t use MinorMonitor in place of sound parenting. We still need to teach our children right from wrong and not fall into the trap of thinking that technology can save us from being lazy parents.
Try Out MinorMonitor And Let Us Know What You Think
We do a lot of product reviews here at Dad Does – this is not one of them! We have not used MinorMonitor yet, so treat this as a preview and news piece. The good news is the software is free, so you can try it out and let us know what you think.
MinorMonitor – Free, Web Based Facebook Monitoring Software from Infoglide