Parents have enough to worry about without the dangers children face every day on the internet. Pornography and predators can be anywhere online, and most parents do not have the time to sit beside their children, closely watching every keystroke and click they make. Parental control software can keep a close watch instead, recording activities and blocking materials that are unsafe for young audiences while still allowing them to take advantage of the wonderful resources online.
These applications give you very specific controls over what you let your children see. You can determine whether they will be able to access specific keywords, websites and games. You can block activities that can get kids into dangerous situations with tools such as instant message monitoring and file transfer blocking. Some of these applications log keystrokes and will send you email messages if your child tries to access something that could be dangerous or inappropriate.
Parental control software offers peace of mind to parents for a relatively small investment. We found some excellent products, including Net Nanny, WebWatcher and McAfee Safe Eyes. To learn more about protecting your child online, please visit our learning center to read our articles about parental software.
All child monitoring software offers an added layer of protection, but the best applications have sophisticated tools in an easy-to-use package. Here are more specifics on the criteria TopTenREVIEWS used to evaluate parental control software:
Filtering & Blocking
Check the application you are considering for filtering and blocking capabilities. Some applications are equipped to not only block website content, but also to filter it. Blocking and filtering elements may include application blocking, chat blocking, search engine filtering and social network blocking.
The best parental software compiles detailed records of your children's computer use, including screenshots, keyboard strokes, online searches and accessed websites. Some products can capture usernames and passwords for social sites such as Facebook. The best parental control software will capture screenshots and send you emails about activity on your child's computer so that you can stay informed, even from far away.
Installation & Management
We looked for applications that are simple to install and manage. The best parental software allows you to monitor your kids' online behavior without them knowing. Other features include the ability to schedule monitoring times and easy password access.
When you have a household comprised of many people, it is likely that you will want to monitor a number of computers and phones with different operating systems. We found that the best parental control software is compatible with a range of phones and operating systems. You will likely have to buy multiple licenses to accommodate each device, but at least you will be able to use the same familiar software.
Help & Support
This type of monitoring software often requires exclusions in antivirus and antispyware applications. When things get complicated, you are going to want help from the vendor. We looked for companies that stand by their products with great customer support.
Internet technology has created a situation where children can be exposed to dangers while they are otherwise safe at home with you. The internet provides access to almost every piece of knowledge known to man, so you can't exactly ban your children from the internet without limiting their potential to learn and grow. With the best parental monitoring software, you will be able to provide your children with appropriate access to beneficial internet resources while filtering out the elements that have the potential to harm the ones you love.
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