McAfee Unveils Family Protection22 Jun 2011
McAfee, at a press briefing today, announced the launch of McAfee Family Protection, a parental control program that is said to protect children of all ages from online risks while allowing them the freedom to safely explore the Internet.
Venkat Krishnapur, Senior Director, McAfee India was quoted in the press release as saying "Online concerns for tweens and teens are not what they were two years ago. The threat landscape has changed dramatically – especially in the context of how children of various ages in urban India use the internet and how they are exposed to various forms of threats online. McAfee Family Protection is a powerful tool that helps parents get better insight to the digital lifestyles of their children. Parents can choose to block categories of sites, filter out only a handful of sites, or block nothing at all and simply review online activity reports. Its innovative features such as online activity reports, age appropriate settings and YouTube, games and website blocking and so on gives Indian parents a powerful tool to ensure their kids stay safe when using the Internet."
The press briefing featured an interactive discussion on the subject of safety of Indian kids in the online world. The results of the survey, conducted on the same issue across 10 Indian cities, were released and had some interesting finds. Among the more important highlights of the survey were that 62% of all polled kids have shared personal information online; 58% kids share their home addresses on the internet; 39% of all polled kids do not tell their parents about these online activities and 12% of all polled kids had been victims of some kind of cyber threat. As Dr. Sulata Shenoy, a child psychologist at Bangalore's Sagar Apollo hospital, one of the participants of the interactive discussion on the safety of children in the online world, pointed out, the research also showed the huge gap between what children are doing online and what their parents think they are doing. She has also stated that it was “very disturbing” to see children staying online for more than 10 hrs.
McAfee officials pointed out that kids in today's online world face the threats that can be summed up as the 3C's: through Content (pornography), through Contact (Cyber Bullying) and through Crime (Crimes against children).
Among the many ways discussed to combat cyber crime that targets kids, there was the suggestion that kids and their parents should have an open and constructive relationship in addressing the problems that the child faces in the online world. Moreover the kids should be instructed not to share sensitive private information like phone number, home address with strangers in the online arena.
Commenting on the features of the family protection kit, Krishnapur commented on the various features of this software: Settings that are customized according to age-groups – in other words, allowing a particular age group to see things that are appropriate for its age; filtering songs with explicit lyrics from iTunes; program blocking that allows parents the ability to block or allow access to certain programs (across 35 categories); the ability to monitor Instant Messages; limits on the amount of time that the child can use the internet; Social Network filtering that records all social network postings that contain profanity and posts that include confidential information that has been predetermined by parents--such as a home address, phone, school name, etc; YouTube filtering that Blocks the viewing of objectionable videos without blocking access to all of YouTube.
When asked as to why their family protection software should be chosen over other freely available programs such as Windows Parental Control, the officials said that the McAfee software is "far superior" to other rival programs as it effectively counters the threats that kids might face in teh online arena. The officials also pointed out that one of the software's main features is the extensive database (that is continually updated) that it relies on for filtering online content such as videos and websites. When asked about McAfee releasing new security features in view of their recent takeover by Intel and Intel releasing security features right at the hardware (processor) level, the officials said there is nothing in the offing for the near future.
The officials stated that the software is available independently for around Rs. 2272.
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