New software program lets parents monitor their kids' activities - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

New software program lets parents monitor their kids' activities online

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 Janesville (WKOW)-- The Rock County Sheriff's Office has become the first law enforcement agency in Wisconsin to give parents the opportunity to monitor their children online. The "Computer Cops" program comes as a CD-ROM that parents can install to their computer. Once it's installed it searches the list of websites your children have viewed and monitors their conversations in social media, chat rooms and e-mail.
"As we raise our kids in an ever-changing world of internet and social media, this at least gives the parents the opportunity to make sure their kids aren't getting themselves into trouble," Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden says.

Sheriff Spoden says crimes on the internet are becoming more common as more teenagers share personal information online. The Rock County Sheriff's office has a detective on staff who spends more than half of his time focusing on internet crimes. Spoden says online bullying and sexual predators are the most common threats children encounter when using the internet.

"The program flags certain words that are either sexual in nature or violent in nature. If your child is being stalked by a sexual predator or someone online that is dangerous this will in essence identify that," Sheriff Spoden says.

The sheriff's office currently has 3,500 free copies available. The total cost of the CD-ROMs and the licensing rights came to $18,000.

"The money that we purchased these discs with was actually drug seizure money. So it's not costing the taxpayers a dime," Spoden explains.

Anyone who is interested in picking up a free copy of the software can stop by the sheriff's office or one of the Arrowhead libraries in Rock County. Sheriff Spoden says he has already been contacted by several schools and non-profit organizations who are interested in getting copies.

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