Avira Social Network Protection Avira Social Network Protection
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1 5stars

Avira Social Network Protection Review

Avira Social Network Protection
Rating:
Bottom Line:
Strictly for social media monitoring; seems to have decent tools for this but the service was not functional for us at all

Full Review:
While SocialShield was once a paid service that billed monthly, it is now owned by Avira, a leading provider in computer protection software, and is completely free. With its new name, Avira Social Network Protection is a parental control service that solely monitors your children's social media accounts, though we had persistent problems with the service after we signed up.


Getting Started

To sign up with Avira Social Network Protection, you can choose to connect it to your Facebook account or create an account by entering you name, email address and a password. We opted for the latter and our account was instantly created. Unfortunately, this was the only thing that was simple and easy with this service. We did not receive a welcome email or a confirmation email, which made things a little confusing. The next step after creating an account is to link Avira Social Network Protection to your child's Facebook account. This can be done one of two ways. The first is if you have your child's Facebook login information. You'll be asked to enter the email address and password of the account you wish to monitor and authorize Avira Social Network Protection to access the profile, similar to how you allow apps access to your Facebook. The other option is to send your child an email requesting them to connect Avira Social Network Protection to their Facebook on their own. We tried both of these options countless times over the span of one week, and neither worked; we kept receiving the same two error messages.




Programs Monitored

What Avira Social Network Protection claims to do is analyze both public and private posts for potentially risky content. It sends you alerts of suspicious friends, tagged photos, photo comments and inappropriate language — including mention of topics like gangs, violence, suicide, sex and drugs. Since we were unable to actually connect a Facebook account to test the service, we don't know if any of these features actually work. Additionally, we weren't sure which social media accounts it monitors for this; what we gathered from browsing the website is that it's only for Facebook and Twitter, and possibly Instagram if your child has connected theirs to a Facebook account.



There is a section on the website that has demonstration videos of how different features work, though each category we clicked on had the same video. In this video, we were shown what a dashboard would look like had our account actually worked. The overview page of your account shows a quick summary of new activity and an alert level indicator, which is based on the number of alerts it finds while analyzing the four categories.

The four categories are Safety Friend Analysis, Safety Watch Words, Reputation Watch Words and Reputation Photo Check. The previously mentioned indicator alert is weighted by how frequently the service finds issues. A red critical alert means that it's found repeated issues, and the yellow warning alert notifies you that something may or may not by inappropriate for your child. For every red critical alert, Avira Social Network Protection will email you. It will also send an email at the end of every week with a summary of your new notifications. You must log into your account to view the full details of these alerts, and you have the option to either save or dismiss them if you don't see them as a threat. Depending on whether you save or dismiss them, you can lower or raise the notification level.



Customer Support

We emailed customer support when we were unable to connect a Facebook account through either method described above, as the service is pointless without this. We received a response a day later, which wasn't very helpful, nor did it address the issue we were having. We emailed again, with no response this time. A few days later, we received an email to take a survey on the support we received, though we never received a response from our follow-up email.


Conclusion

For what it's supposed to do, Avira Social Network Protection seems to be an average option if you wish to monitor your children's social media accounts, and not additional online services like Internet browsers, email or chat programs. If you're able to get the program to work, the description of alerts may get a little annoying, since there doesn't appear to be a way to filter which keywords the service picks up on. Due to the issues we experienced using Avira Social Network Protection, we would suggest seeking other options — though since the service is free, it may be worth giving it a shot to test it out.

Compare to Other Parental Control Software

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Service Details

Cost:Free
Programs Monitored:None; only monitors social media accounts
Special Features:Facebook reporting; friend analysis; safety watch words; reputation watch words, reputation photo check
Social Network Monitoring:Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Reports/Alerts:Emails high-risk alerts; weekly summary of other alerts; detailed alerts only viewable when logged into account
Kid-Proof Rating:Kids must grant parents access to their social media profiles to use this service

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