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February 7, 2012

Symantec expands Norton app to sort kids’ smart phone activities

Free service tracks seven days of content, and a paid premier account tracks 90 days

By CBR Staff Writer

Symantec has unveiled Norton Safety Minder: Mobile Edition, an application that allows parents to know their kids’ smartphone habits and help keep them safe.

Safety Minder allows parents avail various tools to protect children while they’re online, and teach kids safe and age-appropriate digital habits on their mobile devices.

With web monitoring and blocking features, parents can see what sites their kids are visiting and block inappropriate content.

Norton Internet Safety advocate Marian Merritt said parents know they need to be involved in their kids’ digital lives, and most actually set and discuss house rules for computer use and Internet browsing.

"But to make those rules work, you need to extend them to your child’s mobile phone where so much web browsing takes place," added Merritt.

"With Norton Safety Minder: Mobile Edition, parents can help their kids stick to those rules, regardless of which device they are on."

Available through their Norton Online Family account, parents can use the same set of web filtering settings for the child’s PC and apply them to the child’s Android phone.

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Norton Safety Minder free service tracks about seven days of content, and a paid Norton Online Family Premier account tracks up to 90 days.

Symantec said the Premier accounts will have advanced features including text and MMS message monitoring showing parents who their kids are texting with, what they say and whether they are exchanging photo (MMS) messages.

The service will enable parents designate whether certain contacts are blocked, monitored or unmonitored.

An App Monitoring feature enables parents to see which applications their child has installed and uninstalled, so that they can keep it "kid-friendly" and also protect them from malicious applications.

To begin this, parents are required to download the application on their child’s Android phone, login to their Norton Online Family account and can then centrally manage the activities on that device through the Norton Online Family Web site.

Norton Online Family identifies the person using the computer based on the account that is used to log on and thus the kid should use a different user account to log on to the device.

Symantec stated more than a dozen phones can be added to the same account at no charge, with unique settings for each, offering parents a single point to monitor varied settings for kids of different ages.

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