Review: Tools for Monitoring Your Kids' Facebook Use


The Bad:

You need to know your child's Facebook email address AND password in order to sync their profile with your Eye Guardian account. If you were the one who created their Facebook profile to begin with, then this isn't a problem for you. However, just like GoGoStat, if your child decides they want to change their Facebook password, Eye Guardian doesn't let you know; the notifications just stop. The program can be a little unresponsive at times; however, the software is still in its beta phase so hopefully these issues are ironed out in the final product.

Mary Kay's Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

ZoneAlarm Social Guard -- Software program ($19.99/year)

The Good: Unlike GoGoStat and Eye Guardian, Social Guard is a software program that you must install on your computer. Once you've downloaded it, installed it and synced your child's account, the software constantly runs in the background, scanning your children's profiles. (Note: Your child is not limited to accessing Facebook on that specific computer. Social Guard successfully monitors your child's account no matter where or what device they access Facebook from.)

Social Guard's parental monitoring solution was the most comprehensive one we tested. Not only does it flag concerning language and tell you why it was flagged, but it checks for dangerous links, it looks for evidence of cyberbullying, and it even looks at the age gaps between your child and the people they're talking to. Like the other products in this review, email notifications are sent to you when concerning language is detected. In addition, you can add specific words that you want the software to flag.

The Bad:

It seems like neither of these software solutions were able to get around the Facebook password requirement. So yes, during set up, Social Guard requires you to enter your child's Facebook email and password in order to sync it with the program. On the other hand, if your child changes their Facebook password or deletes their account, you will be sent a notification. It's also worth noting that, since Social Guard is a software program and not Web-based, you can only access it from the computer you installed it on. It would be really nice to have a mobile version of this product.

Mary Kay's Rating: 4 out 5 Stars

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Read more about Mary Kay Hoal here.

Learn more about cyber safety on the "20/20 We Find Them" page.

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