You cannot always monitor what your kids do when they’re online. Some apps known as parental control software helps a lot to protect your kids from unwanted content and to give you the peace of mind.
What to look for when choosing parental control software
The Internet is important part in your kids’ life. They use it for school activities, communication with friends, and for fun as well. As a parent you feel the need to keep an eye on their online activities to ensure that the children don't make bad decisions. Parental control software helps parents a lot in that task. However, some things should be taken into consideration before purchasing your software.
Your teen doesn't need the same settings as your toddler, so the customized settings option is need. Most of the products can associate configuration settings with Windows accounts.
This option is a key feature of every parental control program. It helps you keeping your kids from accidentally or deliberately visiting inappropriate Web sites.
Controlling how much time kids spend on the computer is another important feature. Most of the products can prohibit access at specific times, or setting set a daily or weekly maximum.
You probably won’t be around when kids are using the computer, so the e-mail notifications you’d receive each time when child tries to access a banned site or request a time extension are very useful option. Also, some of the programs offer even SMS notifications for phones, when you’re not near your PC.
Let Your Kids Know
Some parental control products install sneaky feature, so you can monitor kids without their knowledge. But, that’s not the point. Let your kids know that you’re using parental control software and that’s the part of ‘house rules’.
Following 5 programs are the user friendly applications that will allow you to use most of the features mentioned above.
5 Best Parental Control Programs
Net Nanny does everything a parental-control utility should do. Besides blocking questionable web content, Net Nanny blocks peer-to-peer networks, allows remote management and provides effective filtering, including ESRB-based games. However, additional licenses are needed to install the program on more than one computer, so it's not as economical as for example Safe Eyes 5.0 if your home has multiple computers.
BSafe Online is effective and comprehensive parental-control solution. It has content filtering, application control, Internet access scheduling, activity reporting, and more. It can filter and log IM conversations and optionally limit IM to known buddies. As a bonus BSafe offers a two-way firewall, a pop-up blocker, and a private data-protection system.
3) Safe Eyes
Safe Eyes 5.0 is web-based protection that covers up to three computers and allows remote management from a browser, and remote control is its biggest strength. Besides PC Safe Eyes is available for Mac as well. This is well-rounded solution for your kids’s protection.
CyberPatrol is probably the best solution for parents. It offers flexible and comprehensive parental control. It also covers 13 categories of questionable content, allowing parents to choose which categories to block. Parents can block entire websites or just objectionable content within web pages, including single words. The only bad side of this program is that it requires annual subscriptions.
5) Windows Vista Parental Controls
If you use Windows Vista you can use integrated Parental Controls without buying standalone software. Vista offers most of the major features of standalone software packages, including time-limit settings, adjustable levels of site and application blocking, IM blocking and usage logging. Vista however doesn't allow parents to customize time limits as well as some other programs, and doesn't offer remote management.