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Symantec Launches Beta Service That Connects Parents to Their Kids’ Online Lives

Industry and Parenting Experts Join Norton Online Family Advisory Council

CUPERTINO, Calif. – Feb. 17, 2009 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced the public beta of a new Web-based service, currently named Norton Online Family during the beta period, that’s designed to help parents protect children online and connect with their online lives. Norton Online Family is a unique Internet safety service built on a philosophy of dialogue between parents and kids. The service not only encourages discussion between parents, it is also easy-to-use and provides customizable tools that keep kids safe online. The service is available at https://onlinefamily.norton.com.


Symantec also announced today the formation of the Norton Online Family Advisory Council, a committee of experts in education, parenting, media and child health, and child online safety that will test the beta, provide feedback and offer insight on issues relevant to its continued development.


“Norton Online Family takes a different approach from today’s parental control solutions by providing tools that help parents understand their kids’ online world and fostering communication,” said Marian Merritt, Symantec’s Internet Safety Advocate and Norton Online Family Advisory Council lead. “These tools include the ability to show what kids are actually searching for on ten different search sites, including Google, YouTube and Wikipedia. Parents can also confirm kids’ IM friends and monitor conversations with unconfirmed friends, as well as see the number and type of social networking accounts their kids have and their published age on these sites.”


The Norton Online Family Advisory Council is comprised of members who are leaders in their field, concerned about the cause of children’s online safety and interested in fostering better communication between parents and children. Members include:

  • Dr. David S. Bickham – PhD, Staff Scientist, Center on Media and Child Health Children’s Hospital, Boston
  • Anne Collier – Co-Director, ConnectSafely.org
  • Marsali Hancock - President, Internet Keep Safe Coalition (www.ikeepsafe.org)
  • Robin Raskin – “The Internet Mom”
  • Tim Sullivan – President, PTO Today (Parent Teacher Organization) and School Family Media, Inc.
  • Vanessa Van Petten – Teen Author & Blogger, OnTeensToday.com

Norton Online Family allows parents with little to no technical expertise to gain a better understanding of their children’s online world. While standard software solutions focus on tools that enable parents to control and monitor children’s Internet use, Norton Online Family was designed to empower parents to do more. It offers busy parents quick and easy insight into what children see, learn and do online, and it gives them the tools to foster an open, ongoing dialogue with children about their online lives.


To use Norton Online Family on a PC or Mac, parents simply sign up and create a family account. Parents download and install Norton Safety Minder, a small application, onto each child’s computer. As a Web-based service, Norton Online Family is able to track the Internet activities of each child in real-time. Parents enjoy peace of mind with instant reporting and the convenience of accessing their account anytime from any Internet-connected device.


The public beta of Norton Online Family offers the following key benefits:


Easy to Use

  • Simple, One-Time Set Up: Create one account online for the whole family in minutes. No complicated settings required as it automatically creates age appropriate settings for each child – all of which parents can easily change.
  • Easy to Use and Access: Check a child’s activity or modify a child’s profile, preferences, or time allotment anytime and anywhere using any Internet-connected device.
  • Clear Reporting: All activities are reported in chronological order and only show the Web sites a child intended to visit – eliminating all the extra URLs, like ads, from media-heavy Web sites.
  • Understand Their Intent: Easily view search words and phrases a child uses and where those searches lead online.

Encourages Discussion

  • Custom Alerts: Parents can customize e-mail alerts to address urgent events so they know immediately when a child has reached a time limit or visited a blocked site, etc.
  • Real-time Messaging: Built-in messaging lets kids send information to their parents in real-time about their intentions when attempting to visit a blocked Web site.
  • Access to Social Network Information: Monitor activity on social networks like Facebook and MySpace with the ability to see how kids represent themselves, when they login and how often.
  • True Transparency: Children are able to view the “house rules” they established with parents at any time and are notified when Norton Online Family is active, so there is no “stealth” mode.

Customizable Tools for Kids’ Safety

  • Convenient Web Site Control: Control the Web content that flows into the home by prohibiting more than 40 topic categories.
  • Useful Time Management: An easy-to-use time management feature that – if parents find it necessary - gives each child a “curfew” that will limit computer usage.
  • Secured Personal Information: Track, report and prevent personal information that a child may purposely or accidentally try to send via e-mail, instant message or social networking site.

The public beta of Norton Online Family supports PCs and Macs and works across a variety of browsers, search engines, social networking sites, and chat programs to provide comprehensive family online safety.


Additional resources about family online safety, including how parents can have ‘The Talk’ with their kids, is available at www.norton.com/familyresources.


Beta Availability

The Norton Online Family Beta is available for free to the public at https://onlinefamily.norton.com in English only.


About Norton From Symantec

Symantec’s Norton products protect consumers from traditional threats with antivirus, anti-spyware and phishing protection, as well as bots, drive-by downloads and identity theft-- while also being light on system resources. The company also provides services such as online backup and PC tuneup, and is a trusted source for family online safety.


About Symantec

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.


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