Google Alerts can be a very effective way to keep tabs on your company, your interests, or your website. But for parents whose children have the unfortunate experience of dealing with a cyberbully, Google Alerts can be a lifesaver.
What exactly is a Google Alert?
Simply put, it’s an email notification system about any phrase, topic, or name you choose. This article is meant to be a step-by-step guide showing you how easy it is to set an Alert for your son or daughter so you’re (almost) instantly notified if someone is slandering their name on the Internet. Google Alerts is 100% free and doesn’t require you to have a Gmail account, so don’t be discouraged to read on!
Setting it up –
- Head over to the Google Alerts Sign up page at http://www.google.com/alerts
You’ll see a form that looks like this –
- The first thing you’ll want to do is type your child’s name in the Search Terms field. NOTE: I suggest you wrap your child’s name in quotes, like this: “Jane Doe”. This way Google only sends you Alerts with that exact full name in the article, blog, forum, etc.
- Next, you can change the type of Alerts you want—everything, news, blogs, realtime, video, discussions. In this particular case, I recommend choosing “Everything”.
- Under the “How Often” tab, you can choose how often you want Google to send you Alerts. Again, in the case of your child being cyberbullied, I recommend you choose “As it happens”.
- After that, you’ll want to choose the volume in which you get Alerts delivered to your inbox. Since you’ve put quotes around your child’s name, you’ve basically fulfilled the requirements for the “Only the best results” option. That said you’ll want to go with the “All Results” option here.
- The only thing left to do now is enter your email address. Again, this doesn’t have to be a Gmail account, any email address will do.
That’s it! You’re all setup to receive any and all Alerts about your child online. Be aware that Google only tracks and alerts you to content that are publically viewable—meaning you won’t get Alerts that are in the form of a private message or that took place in a private forum.
If and when you stumble across an Alert that you believe to be cyberbullying (or anything of that nature) be sure to keep a copy of the Alert so it can act as evidence when it’s needed. If it’s something that’s happening at your child’s school, be sure to inform school authorities. And if it looks life threatening, don’t hesitate to contact your local police.
You can find more tips and advice on cyberbullying, check out these links: