Norton Online Family safety service launches

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Symantec has announced the public beta launch of Norton Online Family, a new Internet safety service that’s compatible with both the Mac and PC.

Norton Online Family provides a way for parents to monitor their kids’ online behavior and encourages communication, according to Symantec. It does so by letting kids know when Norton Online Family is active, and it encourages parents to talk with their kids about online safety and Internet usage.

Parents create an account on the Norton Online Family Web site then download “Norton Safety Minder,” an application that goes onto each child’s computer. The service, in conjunction with the software, then tracks each child’s Internet usage in real-time.

Parents can track what kids are searching for online, and provides listings that show step-by-step where each search leads. Norton Online family can filter out extra URL’s from particularly media-heavy Web sites, and is compatible with most social networking sites, to help parents gauge where their children are logging in and displaying name and age. Parents can also activate a time management feature that limits each child by imposing a “curfew.”

In related news, Symantec has formed the Norton Online Family Advisory Council, comprising educators, pediatric specialists and others. They’ll help test the beta and will provide feedback on issues relevant to the service’s continued development.

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