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Parental Control Software - Protecting or Selling Out Your Kids?

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Smartmom
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Parents often buy software to protect their kids on the web and to monitor what they are doing. So why would a parent pay money to do this only to have a software company like Sentry Parental Control Software collect and sell data on the kids that the parents are only trying to protect? I'm guessing that the parents didn't really read the fine print (face it sometimes its so long who really does) and didn't know that they are agreeing to the information to be not only gathered but that they would sell for a profit. Now in all fairness to the company they do say that they do not give out ever any identifying information about the kids out.

Parental control company sells data on what kids say

The company's Sentry Parental Control Software, according to Greene, is designed to warn parents if a child is engaged in inappropriate online behavior by analyzing a database of 29,000 words including what he calls "Weblish," slang terms like POS (parent over shoulder) that kids use as short cuts in instant messaging and chat rooms. To do this, said Greene, it's necessary for the company to capture this information so "we can monitor these kids and the conversations they are having and the things they are seeing and all the words that are coming to them and all the words they're sending out, so we can make decisions and identify questionable activities and let mom and dad know about it right now--in real time."

In addition to notifying parents if their kids are doing something questionable, the company also sells summary data based on this information--in the aggregate--to other companies. A press release on its Web site describes a product called Pulse "that reads digital content from multiple sources across the Web, including: instant messages, blogs, social environment communities, forums, and chat rooms." The company says that it delivers the unsolicited raw conversations in real time. It gives marketers immediate, unique information about what teens are saying in their own words."

Now parents can opt out of this but you have to wonder how many parents know this or read the fine print to see this. Anyways here is a link to OPT OUT

So what are your thoughts on this? Should companies be able to profit off of kids by spyware? If you were or are a parent who paid money for this program would you be upset with it?

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missb
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Re: Parental Control Software - Protecting or Selling Out ...

Well overall it seems like a good product, and if they don't sell identifying information the kids are still anonymous. Unfortunately these days selling information like this for a profit seems to be the norm and the fine print is always just that, fine. If it was me and I had bought the product I wouldn't be too upset over them selling info on my kid, (as long as he remained anonymous) I'd be more upset that they tried to hide that fact.

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