Software Savvy – February Edition

Software Savvy- February Edition

How to Pick a Parental Control Software That’s Perfect for Your Family

Hackers, predators, and pornography, oh my! It’s a brave new world for parents as increasingly tech-savvy kids are growing up in the internet age. It used to be that protecting your children from bullies and predators was limited only to the physical world, but modern-day bad guys have taken the fight online: a battleground that’s not always easy to see, let alone navigate. So how can parents protect their kids in the complex world of the web? The Computer Guru is ready to help, with answers to keep your family safe as you surf.

Parental Control Software is a fantastic tool that allows your child to have fun on the web, while staying safe. With the right software, you can monitor your kids’ activity, block inappropriate sites and games, protect your family’s identity, and keep your kids safe from cyberbullies and online predators. Most of these programs are fairly inexpensive, easily under $100.00 with some available for absolutely nothing. But choosing the software can be tricky, so The Computer Guru has rounded up the top Parental Control programs for a side by side comparison that will help any parent select the software that’s just right for their family!

One of the newer products that’s getting a lot of attention currently is K-9 Web Protection. It’s a cloud-based filtering system, which means that it takes up almost no space on your computer and installation is super quick. It’s also free, as part of Blue Coat Systems Outreach Program. While it’s priced-to-entice, and the cloud-based filtering makes this program tamper resistant and effective, this software lacks some of the features found in the competition. You can’t define different settings for different users, there’s no instant messenger control or monitoring, no e-mail notification, and also lacks the ability to manage the program remotely. Additionally, the log for monitoring activity is difficult to read and omits the username. Bottom line: the price is right, but the limitations of this software make it a less-than-ideal choice for most families.

Next on our list: PureSight PC. This internet filter is a little more on the pricey side; it’s available for about $60.00. However, PureSight has placed a lot of emphasis on protecting kids from cyber bullies and online predators, a feature that many parents can appreciate. Like K-9, this software is primarily cloud-based, which can be a nifty space saver. It offers customizable settings for up to ten different users, allows you to “black list” different sites, and has the ability to censor bullying or inappropriate words in IM conversations while still allowing the conversation to continue. It also works on ANY internet browser, a very important feature. Your child’s internet use is easy to monitor as this program offers immediate notification of any red flags, and is remarkably easy to read. This software is also compatible with any Android phone, so even when your child is mobile, they’re staying safe. The only real downside to this program is that it may occasionally block benign sites. Bottom line: Easy to use, easy to read, and a great purchase for parents who want to stop cyber bullying before it happens rather than just receive notification that it happened.

McAfee Family Protection is another great internet filter that may offer even more bang for your buck. This software is available for around fifty bucks, and it offers some of the easiest set up you can find. It lets you manage your family’s access in three ways: block sites by category, decide on a custom list of sites, or you can enter search terms to avoid. McAffee’s 35 ready-made categories offer a lot of convenience, and make this program very user friendly for parents who may not be as tech-savvy. McAffee’s software also extends itself to Windows PCs, Macintosh computers and Android devices. Its design is intuitive and works just as well as it promises. Alerts and reports are emailed to you according to parameters that you set, keeping parents in the loop on their child’s activity. There’s really no downside to this software; bottom line: you can’t go wrong with this comprehensive and easy-to-use internet filter.

But the Gold Standard, according to Top10Reviews.com, is Net Nanny 7. This program goes to special lengths to protect your identity. You can choose certain information (ie. Your address, birthdays, etc.) that you never want to leave your computer to protect your home from ID theft. Additionally, this software offers some of the easiest monitoring around. Remote access means that you can check up on your family’s activity from any computer with a web connection. And rather than just blocking a list of sites, Net Nanny uses artificial intelligence to continuously analyze content for objectionable material. You can also set the program up to warn the user about content rather than block it. The flexibility makes it easy to customize to your family’s needs. It even blocks PC games based on ratings, content, or titles that you don’t want your kids to see. It’s all available for around $30.00 making it easily the best value in internet-filtering software.

We hope you and your family enjoyed our guide for selecting an internet filter for your home, and we want to hear what you think! Contact us through our site and let us know what YOU think of the software we talked about. Do you have a question about this or something else in the big world of tech? Send us your questions, and they could be featured in our next edition of Software Savvy!

Sources:

http://parental-software-review.toptenreviews.com/

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2347737,00.asp

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