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Web Surfing Monitors & Controls May 4, 2009

Posted by twiznc in Security, Services & Software Recommendations.

Updated March 6, 2016

Particularly useful for businesses and parents, web browsing monitors and controls allow the monitoring of web browsing activity, filtering of web sites that can be browsed, or limiting of 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.

SafeEyes by McAfee ($49.95/year for up to 3 computers; Windows & Mac) is a flexible set of tools that allows anyone to determine the type of Internet usage that is appropriate and will be allowed on a given PC.  If there is more than one user on your computer, you can individualize what each user can access.

  1. Web Content Controls– Flexible content control allows you to select the types of website that are appropriate.  In addition to the 35 categories that can be filtered, Safe Eyes allows you to control access to specific websites. So, if there are only a handful of sites you want your children to access, you can specify where they can go. The Safe Eyes internet filter limits the ability to access certain sites by blocking key words and key phrases from being searched.
  2. Program Controls – Control Instant Messengers, P2P File Sharing, and other harmful programs. You can use Safe Eyes Internet filtering to block a range of applications such as instant messengers, media players, newsgroups, email, FTP, and more. If what you want to block is not in the default list, you can add an application to block.  With the growth of peer-to-peer file sharing, Safe Eyes Internet filtering provides tighter control of these applications to help you avoid illegal swapping, and helping protect your privacy.
  3. Time Controls – Allows you to set a fixed amount of time each user can access the Internet, as well as the time of day that you want the Internet to be available.
  4. Usage Reporting – Create and review logs of websites visited, programs used on the Internet, and Instant Messaging Chats. You can have the information stored on your computer or you can access Safe Eyes’ secure servers. Unlike records stored on your computer, records on the Safe Eyes servers can never by tampered with or erased. You can also access these records from any web browser at any time.
  5. Usage Alerts – Be notified instantly via email, text message, or phone call when someone visits inappropriate websites.

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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