Norton, the security software brand from Symantec, has unveiled an iPhone app for its Online Family parental controls software.

Norton Online Family is free software that lets parents monitor the websites their children visit as well as what they search for online and who they chat with. The new mobile app, which is called Norton Online Family To Go Beta, ensures users can view their kids online activities from their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and configure 'house rules' for each child that govern how long they can surf the web and what sites they can access.

Norton said a version of the app for dsevices that run Google's Android OS should be released in the near future.

Furthermore, the security firms has updated the beta version of its Mobile Security for Android app to include antiphishing technology that protects users who access email on their smartphone. The app also allows users to locate, lock or wipe their Android device with a simple text message in the event of loss or theft, and block unwanted calls and texts. The app is available to download from the Android Market as a free 21-day trial.

Symantec said the apps were the next step in the 'Norton Everywhere' initiative, which was launched last year and aims to bring security protection and cloud-storage access to the Google Android and Apple iPhone smartphones.

“The way kids interact with the internet is constantly evolving and we recognise how difficult it can be for parents to keep up, particularly parents who do not feel particularly proficient online themselves. With all the dangers that kids can potentially face whilst left to their own devices online, it’s more important than ever for parents to keep a watchful gaze on their activities, talk to them about appropriate online behaviour and encourage them to be open about their activities," said Sheryl Seitz, Norton's Online Family Expert.

 Seitz said the Norton Online Family To Go Beta app helps parents stay connected to their kids’ online activities, even when they are physically apart.

"It gives parents the tools on their mobile devices to manage where their children go online, how long they spend surfing the internet, who they talk to, and which sites they can visit - without halting their creative learning experience. Best of all, it helps parents open up a positive dialogue with their children about good online habits.”