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Web Surfing Monitors & Controls for Parents May 4, 2009

Posted by twiznc in Security, Services & Software Recommendations.

Updated Sept 20, 2018

Web browsing monitors and controls allow parents to monitor their children’s web browsing activity, filter and block inappropriate web sites, or limit when the Internet can be browsed.  In this article we describe and provide links to several recommended monitoring and control programs.  We invite any suggestions of programs to include in these listings.

Net Nanny (14 day free trial; $39.95/year per computer or $59.99/year for up to 5 computers; Windows or Mac) – One of the oldest and most trusted parental control programs, Net Nanny’s controls are limited to Internet activity, but Net Nanny controls web surfing controls are more comprehensive and flexible than most other parental control programs, making it ideally suited for controlling the web activity of older children and teenagers.  Net Nanny also offers Remote Management so the web browsing and instant messaging activity of the monitor’s computer can be monitored from anywhere.  The program’s Message Monitor feature examines the content of instant messages (IM) and alerts parents via e-mail to potential online predatory behavior, cyberbullying and other inappropriate contacts and comments made through popular IM programs.  Activity on social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace can easily be monitored.  And Net Nanny even filters the content of secure Web sites and aggressively blocks attempts to get around filtering by blocking secure proxy and encrypted web sites. Using secure proxy web sites is the number one method used by tech-savvy teens to circumvent desktop web filters.

McAfee Safe Family (30 day free trial; $9.99/month or $99.96/year) is a flexible set of tools that allows parents to determine the type of Internet usage that is appropriate and will be allowed on a given internet-connected device (desktop or laptop PC, cell phone, or tablet) for family members.  You can also track the geographic location of the monitored device(s).

K9 Web Protection (Free) is a content filtering solution for your home computer. Ideally suited for home with younger children and pre-teens, its job is to provide you with a family-safe Internet experience, where YOU control the Internet content that enters your home. K9 Web Protection implements the same enterprise-class Web filtering technology used by Fortune 500 customers around the world, wrapped in simple, friendly, and reliable FREE software program for your Windows or Mac computer, iPhone or iPad, or Android device. K9’s unique web filtering technology divides Internet content into more than 70 distinct categories. These categories are stored in the master K9 database; a Web site will fall into one or more of these categories, based on the content of the site. To meet your particular needs and preferences, you can configure the software to block or allow specific categories.  Operated as a web service, K9 receives and rates millions of requests every day, making it the most accurate content filtering database available. This accuracy is important in protecting your family, given the Internet’s rapid changes and growth. Safe Search can also be forced on all major search engines.  Set web-surfing time restrictions, and view easy-to-read reports to monitor and control web activity.  Plus, there is no database to download. K9 Web Protection won’t clog your Internet connection, get “stale” or out of date, or slow down your computer as other products can.

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