The Internet is now part of our everyday live and people are learning more about both good and bad sides of the internet. Everyday almost we hear stories about predators looking for children on the internet in chat rooms on social communities as MySpace. Parents are more aware that there are lots of information, pictures and people on the net that can be harmful for children out there on the on hate site, pornographic site and etc. Then there is the problem of kids overusing the internet and developing internet addiction and therefore not showing up for school, getting bad grades and quitting their sports and hobbies.
Parents want to guide and watch their children but at the same time know they cannot be there all the time sitting with them when they are online. So even though parents are aware of the danger of the internet, talk to their kids and monitor them at home, parents know it is not possible to be the one that keep them safe all the time on the internet. They also know even if they trust them well, there are accidental search that can lead to harmful and material even they are not looking for it. So deciding on buying parental control software is considered a logical and responsible step more parents are taking.
Buying parental control software could be something you just take few minutes in doing. You sit down in front of the computer, “Google” some right words for it, press a link and buy a product. At the same time there is not certain that best software’s are those that will appear in top ten of Google search and you might be want to consider thinking what do I want my parental control software be able to do for me?
You could start buy asking other parents what they are using and asking for their experience. You could also try to browse around test look at their sites and read about that software; even send email to the sales apartment. You should check if the software has a 15 days trial period so you can test the software. Check for things like is the software being updated, which is very important in this day by day changing online world were dangers of the internet is always changing and software that the parental control software needs to work with is also updating and changing.
The biggest question you need to ask yourself when deciding on buying parental control software is the function of it. What do you want the parental software to do for you? Parental control software do not all have the same features and possibilities and you should therefore spend some time on thinking “what kind of parental control software do I need” Most of them will do different things for you and you may need different things for best safe surfing in your family. The possibilities are enormous. Let’s go over few things parental control software may have in their toolbox, so for you to use it in your buying guide you can look for those things you want to have when browsing through parental control website doing your own parental control software review.
Filtering: Does the software have filtering option? Most software will filter (pornographic filter, hate site filters, making bomb filter, violence filter etc. sites for you, but you may want to think how and how much control you have over the filtering system. 1. Does the parental control software have a database of blocked and family friendly sites? 2. Does the software allow you to create additional filtering list of sites you want to block? 3. Does the software have ability for you to only allow certain sites you choose and filter all other sites? 4. Does the software have a allow list have the ability to allow sites permanently and therefore overriding all other filtering system. 5. Does the software have dynamic content filter that block sites based on the content on each site you open?
Blocking software: You may also want to know if the parental control software is also blocking software, allowing you to block software’s you may think is harmful.
1. Does the software Block p2P file sharing like e.g. torrent software that are often used to download illegal software, music, movies, games and adult material?
2. Does it block chat programs?
3. Does the software block games that are considered more addictive e.g. MMORPG games?
4. Does the software allow you to choose additional software from the computer and block it?
Monitoring Software: You may want to check if the parental control software allows you to monitor the overall use of the computer and give you a good report on what has been happening. Does the software monitor all keystrokes that will enable you to read what has been written on the computer based on the software the words were written in? You may also want to have a screen shots recording in the software to able you to see how what has been happening in a form of picture of the screen. The screen shots recording is also good as a proof if something bad happens, e.g. Predator harassing the child, or some other child bullying the child on chat application. With screen shots you have a proof of what has happened after these incidents. Some software also has email monitoring of incoming and outgoing emails. Last option you may want to check for if the software monitors all cut and paste-ing on the computer both picture and text.
Time control software: This is a feature that can be extremely important in avoiding the computer will take too much time from school work, friends, sports and possibly preventing internet addiction. You may want to look closely into if the software allows you to specify how many hours a month, week and per day. You may want to control differently at what time of day and different between weekdays and weekends. At last the possibility of controlling some specific behavior such as applications or watching movies could be an option you want to check for
Protecting Privacy: The internet is a dangerous place for kids with predators lurking in chat rooms the importance of protecting privacy is important factor in buying a safe surfing tool as parental control software. Therefore a software that allow you to block user for sending out private information as address or phone number and/or take screen shots and notify you when private information are being sent from the home computer.
Alerts and Reports: Parental control software is not as useful if it never tell you what is happening. Good report system is important to go over the computer use and good alert system that notify you in an email or SMS can be extremely important to be able to get alert as soon as something bad things happen.
There are many other factors to look for, how easy to use the software is, is it doing what it is supposed to do, what kind of support can I a get and does the website provide me with some other useful tools or information’s. There are of course other things as well to look for as does the software provides me with specific tool for specific things I am aiming to avoid or control. These specific things could be related to e.g. all the emerging internet addiction, that is gaming addiction prevention, gambling addiction prevention, pornographic and cybersex addiction prevention. Are there some helpful tools for younger children or older children .
You may also want to look at how sure am I of being able to control the computer and my kid’s not just get around the software. You want to choose a software that is password protected, can be set in stealth mode and stop others from changing anything in the computer control panel.
Most important thing is to take your time searching, reading, asking, testing and in the end when you are happy choosing the right parental control software.