Who’s afraid of Cybercrime? Who has started to worry about how/whether to monitor their children’s future (or current) use of social media?
Recently I was given the opportunity to trial Bullguard Identity and Social Media Protection. I was intrigued by it as rather than a piece of software to upload to a particular device or PC, it’s completely Internet based – you upload your details once, and your protection works across all devices you use. It sounded so simple to use that I was keen to try it out.
I was once a victim of internet fraud. I’ll never forget that moment when I printed a balance slip from the cash machine, wondering why it wouldn’t give me any cash, and found I’d been cleaned out – an odd withdrawal by some overseas firm of over £2,000. The bank were luckily already onto it and I got the money back, but some aren’t so lucky.
This was a case of ID theft which I believe is frighteningly easy to do. Ever since this incident, I’ve always had all manner of firewalls and PC based security software, but never something which monitors my details across all devices. And let’s face it – I’m sat using the iPad right now and my iPhone is like another limb. Here’s a brief video on how it all works.
The software points you to their website, where you enter your license key and are presented with a simple dashboard. From here I entered my personal details such as bank card and account details, passport number, national insurance number, address and phone numbers. So far so good.
Onto the social media protection. We see so much in the news about bullying via social media – some horrendous stories which I can’t bring myself to dwell on further. Similarly, although again I don’t want to even think about it, we see media articles on youngsters who have been targeted by paedophiles, duping children into believing they’re a friend their own age.
According to research by Bullguard, one in five parents “have been ‘shocked’ by content they have discovered on their children’s email, text or Facebook account”. Therefore they snoop – and here are the top ten ways in which they do it:
TOP 10 WAYS THAT PARENTS SNOOP
1. Reading messages on social networking sites
2. Checking their internet history
3. Reading their text messages
4. Monitoring their list of friends on social networking sites
5. Checking their pictures on social networking sites
6. Reading their emails
7. Checking their call list
8. Finding out their passwords
9. Asking teachers to keep an eye on their internet use
10. Getting a sibling to help to snoop
Wow! I really don’t want to be snooping on my children if I can help it!
Bullguard’s social media element allows you to enter your children’s Facebook account details (they have to accept, from within their account) and monitors interaction with your child.
To test this out, I entered my own Facebook details as my girls are yet too young to have a Facebook account.
This was the fun part of this product trial, as I can definitely tell you that it works! Not that my account is filled with inappropriate nonsense, but as I am an adult after all (really), there is the odd swear word thrown about, the odd meme on my timeline that’s not meant for children’s eyes, etc. I even posted a request for friends to send me an abusive message to see what happened (which some took a bit too seriously!).
The software flagged every single one. I received ‘high risk’ alerts to my email every time anything vaguely suspicious was detected, including one which suggested my friends use of the abbreviation ‘BFF’ was ‘sexting’ (I thought it meant best friends forever?! Am I being naive here?!).
Hilarity aside, the serious point here is that I felt I could use this software in future to help me monitor my children’s use of Facebook. What I would say is that I’m aware that children are using other social media platforms these days (bebo? Ask FM?) so it would be great if this software could be extended to cover these, and Twitter.
In addition to the daily (and many!) high risk alerts, I was sent a weekly report by Bullguard. This clearly set out high, medium and low alerts for my ID and social media. Luckily, to date I’ve had no risks to my ID – but at least I know this and can rest easy.
I think Bullguard is a great idea. It can only be a good thing to protect your ID and I haven’t seen anything else that monitors social media for suspicious activity. Of course, there’s a whole other debate about whether you should let children use social media at all.
I don’t think we can, or should stop them. Why interfere with their digital literacy because of bullies and criminals? Better to teach, supervise and get protected.
Visit Bullguard Identity and Social Media Protection if you wish to sign up to this or their varied range of products.
Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in return for writing this review. All opinions expressed are my own and my utter terror of ID theft means I would most likely have tried this product anyway.