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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Review of Parental Control Software

If you are thinking of buying parental control software for your computer, you may find this website to be useful.

It compares the top 10 software products available and gives you a side by side comparison of the features.

When considering parental control software, you should realize that they can fall under three catagories:

1. Monitoring software:  This is software that simply monitors the websites visited on your computer as well as e-mails being sent and received.  Monitoring software does not filter objectionable content.  If monitoring software is all you need, check out the link to GoMcGruff in my links area on the right side of this blog.  GoMcGruff is free and works well.

2. Filtering software:  This is software that actually filters out websites that are tagged as "adult" or "offensive" or websites that parents choose to block.  Some filtering software can even filter e-mail messages.

3. Usage software:  This is software that allows you to control who uses the computer at certain times.  So if you don't want your kids online while you are at work and unable to monitor them, you can keep them off.

Many of the leading parental control packages do all three of the above (and more).  Just be sure you know what they do before you buy anything.  Also, you may want to check my posting about the parental controls built into Windows as that might be a free solution for you.

The last piece of advice for you is this.  If you are looking for something that you can install and walk away from and have it take care of all of your parental control needs, there is no such product.  These are tools that help parents perform a task, not perform it for them.  You can't lay a hammer and chisel on a pile of wood and say "make me a cabinet."  You also can't expect parental control software to do all the work.  Your time as parents is REQUIRED. 

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