AVS takes children`s Internet exposure seriously

Johannesburg, 14 Mar 2000
Read time 1min 40sec

Content security specialists AVS take children`s exposure to undesirable elements on the Internet seriously. Consequently, the company has made its Cyber Sentinel application available to Rest Haven, a Johannesburg-based home for abused children. Rest Haven will sell the software on consignment, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the home.

"While the Internet is a wonderful educational tool, it is also potentially a medium for harming children," explains Rest Haven vice-chairman Le Grange. "Cyber Sentinel enables parents to enjoy peace of mind while their children surf the web."

"Chat rooms, in particular, are areas where children can be unwittingly exposed to paedophiles," Le Grange continues. "Children assume they are chatting to another child, but because they cannot see the person, do not know that it is actually an adult who is trying to elicit personal information from them, such as their home or school address. The person then sets up a meeting with the child (usually on the pretext of exchanging some or other software), and the child unknowingly walks into a dangerous situation. At Rest Haven, we live with the results of incidents such as these."

Cyber Sentinel is so far the only Microsoft Safe Kids-approved product, according to AVS managing director Clint Carrick. "This is owing to several key features which enable children to enjoy safe surfing, while preventing them from giving out information such as credit card details, home addresses and telephone numbers. This is done simply by adding these details into a word library."

It`s ironic that the programme is so user-friendly, some parents have to ask their children to install and customise it for them," Le Grange adds.

According to Le Grange, response to the package has been excellent so far, especially from churches and schools.

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