The Internet offers all the information you want at a few keystrokes and it is full with great tool for students that are searching for information. But the Internet has a darker side, like the back alleys of big cities, where all sort of dangers lurk. It’s understandable that parent are looking for ways to block access to adult websites. For them to feel safe knowing that their children do not wonder off and visit such sites, developers around the world are putting a lot of hard work in building the best software to block adult websites.
Also, the new generation of smartphones and tablets, like the new iPhone 5 (which has lots of new features) or the Samsung Galaxy S 3 give children the possibility to navigate the web and interact with others on social sites. This puts them in danger of becoming victims of cyberbullying or navigating, even by accident on adult websites. The good part is that developers of Android and iOS apps are working on making smartphones safer for children, restricting these websites or apps from being installed.
Levels of protection
- Integrated in the OS – all operating systems have some kind of parental control feature that blocks certain websites from ever being accessed from the kid’s user accounts. Windows Live Family Safety is a great tool for keeping track of your kids and their activity on the web. It allows you to make time limits, block websites, create filters and view activity reports on what your children do on the web. Apple also includes an awesome parental control feature in the MacOS, limiting the time spent on the PC, filtering email and iChat conversations or web pages. They work great, but sometimes, you need a helping hand, and there are lots of parental control software to help you.
- Smartphone Protection – For both Android and iOS devices, you can find apps that can help you keep track of what your kids visit on the web. Also, security apps can regularly scan their devices and automatically delete apps that present a threat. Adult apps are available to download from the web, and with such tools installed on their smartphones, children can be protected from them.
- Browser protection – All kinds of tools and addons are available for all the widely used browsers that offer a good level of parental
control. They have the possibility to block sites based on criteria like name, description, URL and so on. They are password protected so your kids cannot remove the parental control feature. A good example of such a service is the Parental Control Bar, a tool that can help you block websites with passwords.
These levels of protection offer you peace of mind and ensure safe browsing for your kids. But these are not all that is needed. You need to personally monitor your kids when they are online, give them indications and teach them not to click ads or download potentially damaging programs. It’s a known fact that many parents do not monitor their kids when they are browsing the web, mostly because they are not familiar with the web and so, they do not possess the proper knowledge to create a safe web environment for their children.
Top 6 Internet filters/parental control software
6. K9 Web Protection
A program that can be useful for both parents and children, K9 Web Protection is a software program that allows you to completely control the web content that can be viewed by your children and it also detects web scams or other malicious websites you might navigate to. It has a constantly updating database of dangerous locations on the web and it is permanently on the look for others, so you can feel safe when browsing. It gives you the possibility to block websites with passwords and it has a filtering algorithm that uses over 70 categories to detect and block certain websites. Also, it can filter the results from search engines, so your kids cannot navigate by accident to porn websites or other adult content. The program is also available for MacOS X or smartphone OS.
If your child spends hours and hours online, then you are right to worry if he isn’t viewing content that can be damaging for him, like violent or adult websites. And with all the sexual predators on the Internet, the worry is understandable. Keeping your kid safe online has to be a priority. Here is where SentryPC gives concerned parents a helping hand. Offering everything from keyloggers to IM control, when using this software, you can be sure your child is browsing the Internet safe and with no risk of going “off the reservation”. Although not the cheapest of the programs, when you stop to think about it, what is more important than your child’s safety? Also, it works on Windows 8, really cool!
4. Norton 360
The very popular Internet Security System, Norton 360 offers top notch parental control, complete with websites filters, Facebook scan for harmful links and apps and the well known antivirus, capable of getting rid of most threats. The best thing about Norton is that it offers great security on all levels and you do not need to install an entire battery of programs for this protection, one software – complete protection. A very well designed program with a simple and intuitive interface, Norton 360 puts the safety of your computer and of your children first, and a great thing about it is that everyone can use it, no matter the level of technological knowledge. Give it a try and see for yourself just how good it can protect the kids from adult or violent content on the web.
A great way to monitor your children is to use AVG Family Safety. It allows you to create profiles for each child and it uses keystroke technology to “read” words and phrases that could be considered dangerous. The software detects these words and notifies the parents via SMS. Also, it has the possibility to monitor social networks like Facebook for dangerous activities and if you have more than one child, you can create a profile for each of them, depending on their age and what you allow them to do. The time manager is also a great tool, limiting the use of the PC to the timeframe you allow.
When your kids are on the web, they can easily fall victims to web predators or internet bullying. By entering chat rooms with strangers, they are putting themselves at risk. KidsWatch offers an outstanding level of protection, monitoring chats and IMs. Also, the program allows you to filter websites, add computer time limits, so your kids cannot spend all night on the PC and also log their activity, so you can review what they are doing by viewing a detailed activity log, complete with keystrokes, conversations or pageviews.
Net Nanny Parental Controls is by far one of the best solutions for parents to block websites or chat clients that they see as damaging for their children. It offers a complete battery of tools that make parental control a breeze. Also, another high point of the program is its user friendly interface, making it easy to operate for those with minimum knowledge of computer operation. All concerned parents should use such tools to control the websites that can be viewed by their children. It also allows remote monitoring and it can search and block profanities from being displayed in chats or texts.
Top 4 parental control apps for smartphones
4. K9 Web Protection
We meet again with K9, but this time as a tool for protecting your kids’ smartphones. Either Android or iOS, K9 is permanently on guard to ensure that adult content cannot appear on your kid’s smartphone. All the tools and goodies from the PC/Mac program are still available for the mobile version, so you can benefit from complete protection on every device. It also has the possibility to scan web pages and save images in safe way, so there are no malware or other dangerous scripts attached when downloading something from the web.
Cyberbullying, unsafe texting or inappropriate content are a thing of the past when you use Norton Online Family. This is one of the best apps for controlling the flow of information to your children’s smartphones. The app also has other cool features like:
- activity reports via email
- cross platform compatibility (works on Windows OS, MacOS X and mobile platforms)
- video monitoring
- web monitoring
In one word: complete protection! Parents also have the possibility to modify filters and setting remote and the app “grows” with the kids, modifying settings depending on age.
An app that takes control of the kid’s smartphone and offering them a safe experience when using these devices. The app has the possibility to block incoming calls from certain numbers or unknown numbers, turn off wireless access (Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) to limit the amount of radiation the kids are exposed to and it can even block the Google Play Store, so the kids do not start buying apps until your wallet runs dry. The app has features that makes it perfect for children of all ages, from toddlers to teens.
If your child spends all his time in front of his iPhone, then Littleye will give you a window into his smartphone. Allowing you to see what he’s doing, what apps he has and what websites he has viewed. Also, you can set time-locks, so he can’t use his smartphone when in school or when he should be sleeping. You can also set web filters, so he won’t wander off to adult websites or violent content.
The only downside with these solutions is that kids with advanced PC skills can quickly bypass them (yours truly was one of those kids who got passed the passwords on my computers). So, in a sense, there is no way to keep them from accessing dangerous websites if they really want. Do check out parental apps for Android and iOS, as well.
Controlling your child when he is surfing the web is necessary. Even by accident they can end up on porn websites or other content that is not recommended for them. The problem is that when they grow older, they might posses the proper knowledge to get passed those programs, so, my personal opinion is that in order for them to accept these programs, they must understand the risks involved and know the dangers present on the web.