Two New Laws in Texas Are Two More Reasons for Parents to Monitor Internet Activity of Kids

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House Bill 1666 expands on an existing law that makes “spoofing” illegal; Senate Bill 407 reduces “sexting” to a misdemeanor for minors. Pandora Corp. co-founder, and Austin resident, James Leasure discusses these two new laws and how PC Pandora computer monitoring software can help parents know what their kids are doing online so they can keep them out of legal entanglements.

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Just as much as parents should be concerned when their child is a victim, they should take steps to make certain their child is not an aggressor in any way.

On September 1st, over 700 new laws took effect in Texas. Two of them specifically deal with electronic transmissions and the troubles our youth can sometimes get themselves into. Pandora Corp. co-founder and Austin resident, James Leasure, says these two laws are shining examples of why parents need to monitor Internet activity of their children.

In Texas, it is currently illegal to commit an act of “spoofing” on social networks. Spoofing is the term given to the act of using another person’s name, without permission, with the intent to harass or intimidate a victim. According to the Texas House Research Organization, House Bill 1666 expands the current offense to include any form of online communication.

“This isn’t spoofing for comedic purposes like Saturday Night Live; this is a form of cyberbullying and deception,” explains Leasure. “If your child is part of a prank that involves pretending to be someone else for malicious reasons, they could face third-degree felony charges.”

Until now, minors who were caught sending nude photographs of themselves to others, an act referred to as “sexting,” could have faced child pornography laws. According to a story in the Star Ledger, Senate Bill 407 lowers the charge to a misdemeanor for youth caught sexting. Repeated offenders could face jail time, but a first-time offense conviction will only require participation in a state-sponsored educational class about the dangers of sexting.

“Sexting usually starts on a cell phone, but is just a click away from the Internet,” says Leasure. “What parents should take away from this is not ‘well, we won’t be too hard on your kids if they are caught.’ Instead, parents need to understand that vigilance and attention to how their kids are using the powerful technology is absolutely critical.”

Pandora Corp. makes PC Pandora computer monitoring software, a tool that records all activity on a PC through screen captures and data logs. Parents can use PC Pandora to know exactly what their kids are doing online, including what websites they are visiting, who they are talking to and how they are representing themselves on social networks like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Leasure notes the best way to keep your children out of the paths of cyberbullying and sexting is to monitor Internet activity and have a zero-tolerance policy for aggressive and/or risky and dangerous behavior.

PC Pandora can help end the cyberbullying epidemic by showing parents how their children are interacting with others, including if they are being aggressive to others online or participating in the bullying of another student or peer. Leasure states that with laws and culture changing, bullies and parents should know that aggressive behavior is not going to be tolerated anymore.

“Parents need to be proactive about cyberbullying and make sure their child is not a bully,” he says. “Just as much as parents should be concerned when their child is a victim, they should take steps to make certain their child is not an aggressor in any way. Schools are updating policies, and legislators are updating and adding new laws that can make something your child thinks is ‘just a joke’ into an incident that can remain with them for years. No one needs that – just like no one needs bullying.”

As for sexting, Leasure says: “Aside from any legal implications, it’s just not smart. If that photo gets out, lives can, and have been, ruined. I am certain that no parent would want a nude photograph of their child circulating online. PC Pandora monitoring software may show a parent something they are completely unaware of and allow them to take action before it’s too late to help.”

It is essential for all parents to monitor their children’s activity and behavior on the Internet just as they would in real life. Fortunately, tools like PC Pandora make it easy. For more information and a free trial of PC Pandora, visit the website at http://pcpandora.com and “like” the PC Pandora Facebook page!

About PC Pandora: Pandora Corporation was formed with one goal – to help our customers monitor, control and protect their families and themselves online. First released in mid 2005, PC Pandora monitoring software has been constantly upgraded to industry-leading specifications and has received accolades from users, reviewers and even school districts and law enforcement agencies, who use the program to help in the day-to-day supervision of the children and citizens they are charged with protecting. The company website devotes space to helping parents by providing them with 18 Tips to Safe Surfing and Pandora’s Blog, where current news in the world of online safety is discussed regularly. In addition, the Pandora Corp. has made the PD Pandora Internet Safety Symposium available to schools and law enforcement as a free resource for spreading internet safety awareness to parents. Over the past few years, PC Pandora has vaulted into a leadership position for parental control software by boasting a combination of features that are unparalleled in the monitoring industry. In 2010, Version 6.0 was released, again widening the spectrum of coverage and protection offered by the program. Concurrently released with 6.0, the web-based PC Pandora LIVE! service affords parents the ability to keep their kids safe from anywhere at anytime. PC Pandora computer monitoring software is also now available through the Pandora Corp. store at Amazon.com and on and on Facebook!

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