Sometimes you mention monitoring your kids online and on the computer. I am thinking about installing a parental control software on my computer, but there are thousands of choices. Do you have any recommendations?
-Laurie, Los Angeles, CA
I actually get this question a lot, especially when I speak and often get emails from my readers recommending or bashing products they have used. There are literally thousands of different softwares you can buy to monitor your kids and prevent them from visiting certain sites.
Here are my favorites with some short reviews:
SpectorSoft This one has lots of different plans to choose from and for all different kinds of computers. I like it because if you are not computer savvy then you can call them anytime. I put this on one of my clients computers and it worked well.
Excerpt from a few of their programs: (pretty crazy they can do this now!)
“The ONLY software that captures their incoming and outgoing emails, chat and instant messages – then IMMEDIATELY forwards them any email address you choose. Spector Pro captures and organizes ACTUAL Emails, Chat Conversations, and Instant Messages and includes the best Keystroke Logger available anywhere! PLUS – built in Intelligence will examine and analyze all PC activity to de termine if you should be NOTIFIED IMMEDIATELY.”
PC Tattletale This one is the most comprehensive one I have ever seen. It really covers everything your child could be doing everything from blocking keywords, to email monitoring, to MySpace monitoring to keystroke records, time usage…
“Only PC Tattletale offers a complete Internet Monitoring and Parental Control Software solution, that’s unmatched in the industry. Our special “Stealth Technology” –PC Tattletale is TOTALLY invisible to the user. Chat and Instant Message Recording which records all chat sessions & Instant messages – Captures both sides ANY Chat conversation or Instant Message. Screen Shots Captures – PC Tattletale’s “VCR like controls & playback” makes it as simple as clicking the “PLAY” button to watch EVERYTHING your child did when they were online! and more…”
Safe Eyes For PCs and Macs, this has been featured in a lot of media campaigns on Internet Safety.
“Safe Eyes Parental Controls Include:
1. Content Controls – Flexible content control allows you to select the types of website that are appropriate.
2. Program Controls – Control Instant Messengers, P2P File Sharing, and other harmful programs.
3. Time Controls – Control the amount of time spent online, and the times when the internet is available.
4. Usage Logging – Create and review logs of websites visited, pro grams used on the Internet, and Instant Messaging Chats.
5. Usage Alerts – Be notified instantly via email, text message, or phone call when someone visits inappropriate websites.”
Advanced Parental Control This is a very user friendly service. I like that they have time limits and makes it easier to keep the amount of usage down to a minimum.
“Are your kids abusing the computer? Advanced Parental Control enables you to control and supervise how they use the PC and Internet. Easily create an allowed schedule for each user. You can also setup a time allowance for each user by day or week. If they reach the specified amount of time then they can no longer login. Advanced Parental Control can block any application for any user and filter web sites based on keywords YOU specify. You can even record select activities including screenshots, keystrokes typed, web sites visited and more for complete activity monitoring. APC also includes System Restriction Tweaks ideal for limiting a child’s access.”
WebWatcher This has a lot of different features from checking email to reading IMs. I like how they view it as a tool, rather than just a software:
“Because we don’t think of WebWatcher as a product; instead, we consider it a “Parenting Tool” that allows you to level the playing field and protect your children against the dangers of the Internet. As parents, we struggle because we either do not have the computer skills of our kids, nor have good in sight into how our children use the Internet.”
Please let me know your thought or if you are familiar with any of these softwares in the comments!
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