The Internet can be a scary place for children, and that's why the Rock County Sheriff's Office is providing free software that allows parents to monitor their children's Internet history and flag inappropriate words or images.
The Rock County Sheriff’s Office will be the first law enforcement agency in the state to introduce the software. The goal is to provide parents with tools that will help keep their children safe while surfing the web.
"We know that cyberbullying is very real. We know that there are chat rooms that exist where pedophiles try to stalk kids. So this gives a tool for parents to use that is relatively easy and effective," Rock County Sheriff Bob Spoden said.
Teenagers are no longer the primary demographic of Internet users. Kids as young as preschool age are learning to use tablets and laptops, which can open up the door to Internet dangers much earlier in life.
Betsy Pelsue's son just recently began using a tablet. Pelsue believes Internet safety software can act as a second set of eyes to help monitor her son's activity.
"They are learning much younger, meaning they are going to get on actual computers a lot younger as well and there is a lot of content that is out there that they do not need to be exposed to. I think it is a nice idea and a good safety net for parents." Pelsue said.
Pelsue also added that the software helps ease her safety concerns
Just so I have some piece of mind knowing that if I'm not always monitoring my son when he is on the computer, somebody is and I don't have to worry about him finding things that he does not need to be exposed to," Pelsue said.
Spoden said he is excited for the community, and said the new safety measure also affects him on a personal level.
"We want to keep kids safe. I want to keep my kids safe and something like this is the step in the right direction."
The Rock County Sheriff’s Office will distribute 3,500 copies of the software to Rock County libraries and through school Parent Teacher Organizations starting this month.