Friday, April 29, 2011

Social Guard

I am really hungry but have to write about this first.

I was stumbling around the internet this morning, bumping into some Mean Girls/Harry Potter tumblrs when an ad caught my eye on the side of the page.

It was a fake Facebook post (it said "advertisement" at the top, so people won't get confused and try to "like" it or something) that had a girl saying

Some Girl: Can't wait for tonight! Party at my house and it's going to be aMaZiNg!
Bitchy Girl:  No one wants to go to your loser party!
Some Dude: Sounds great, what is your address please?

And then next to the two posts this X pops up and says BLOCKED or something dramatic. The fake profile melts away to present what the ad is selling: Zone Alarm Social Guard.

This is a program designed to recognize key words and phrases to block cyber bullies and potential stalkers. Bitchy girl was a cyber bully and using the word "loser" flagged her, and that dude is probably a 43 year old because he asked for her address. Right?  They couldn't possibly be being sarcastic or just need her address. While I do fully understand cyber bullying and it's new prevalence and severity, I still don't know if I like the idea of this product.

The website says "SocialGuard scans millions of records using a unique algorithm to determine threats and sends warnings to you the minute they happen, not just once a day like the competition."
This program sends parents alerts at the tiniest sign of trouble. Woah. That's like if you got emailed every time your kid was picked last for softball or ignored at the lunch table. These things happen.
I believe that the answer to bullying is to start at the child; to promote tolerance and compassion and help kids see that they can bond together because this happens to everyone.  This is not always a parent's battle, and although you want to do anything you can to protect your child, I do not believe that being an internet helicopter is going to do any good.

Alerts you to alarming words used in private messages, status updates, and wall postings.
Alerts you when someone who may be a stranger is trying to interact with your kid on Facebook. 
Age Concerns
Flags friends that are much older than they claim to be; someone who may be pretending to be a kid. 
Dangerous Links
Catches dangerous links sent in private messages, status updates, and wall posts. Prevents viral attacks and data theft. (this thing checks private messages. hm)

Rules for being on the internet:
  1. Don't "friend" anyone you do not personally know. Even if you have friends in common. Meet them in person first.
  2. If your child is too young to be on Facebook, don't let them on Facebook.
  3. I can't think of any more, I'm too hungry.
I am getting all confused in my opinions. This thing really threw me off guard.
I hate bullies, and of course I hate internet predators, but this SocialGuard seems so...
I don't know.

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I think anyone who thinks their party is going to be "aMaZiNg" deserves to get cyber bullied hahahahaha