Kids use computer for everything these days, homework, games, chatting with friends. The computer is an invaluable tool but like any tools, can misused, parental control utilities let parents apply appropriate limit and event monitor exactly what kids are doing on the computer.
Most parental control utilities block kids from accidentally or deliberately accessing internet site in age inappropriate categories sex and violence, for example. To be effective this feature must work at the protocol level, independent of which browser is used. Most such programs also control just when the kids can use the computer, the internet or both, the product must resist tempering, such as by kids finding ways to tweak the system clock. Many of these utilities also offer to block or control use of instant messaging, though a clever teen will probably find ways to chat regardless.
The best product notify you if the kids go ape on the internet while you’re at work and also let you control their configuration remotely. Of course direct parental supervision is the surest way to keep your kids safe online, but for the times when you can’t directly supervise their computer use a good parental control solution in the next best thing.
Kids watch internet safety & parental control
A bit in the history of internet monitoring software and you’ll find that kids watch internet safety & parental control shares a common ancestry webroot parental control. The former adds a few features and lack some but not WPC’s entire problem though.
Parental control settings are associated with windows user accounts, by initially choosing one of four age ranges, you select a default configuration for each child. You can create a weekly schedule for access the computer to the internet and to any individual program, with an optional daily or weekly cap. If well when the little tykes try to beat the schedule by resetting the system clock, kids watch will squash the attempt.
The software can be block matching any of 60 different categories and the features is browser independent. As with WPC, kids watch can email you regular report on computer and program use as well as web activity. The activity report distinguishes valid site from blocked site and the utility can send real time alert when it blocks site or spots bad keyword in IMs. All conversation using popular IM server are recorded and reported; however, the feature which is nominally client independent, missed some conversation when I used a third-party client.
The remote access features work only on local network and is too limited and buggy to be useful, although kids watch doesn’t offer over the web remote management, you can define special one use password to override filtering or time limit temporarily.