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Parental control software

Get complete peace of mind while your children surf the web. Parental control software blocks unsafe websites, masks obscene language, monitors email and instant message conversations and controls access to mobile devices and computer games.

Parental control software comparison chart for 2017

Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Cybersitter
Spytech SentryPC
PureSight
IamBigBrother
Excellent
Five stars means excellent
Very good
Four stars means very good
Good
Three stars means good
Average
Two stars means average /
Poor
One star means poor
Net Nanny has been awarded best buy Product image of net nanny Product image of kidswatch Product image of mcafee family protection Product image of webwatcher Product image of cybersitter Product image of spytech sentrypc Product image of puresight Product image of iambigbrother
 
 
 
Percentage of people who bought this item
91.5% 5.0% 1.0% 2.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.5% 0.0%
Ratings
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Overall
net nanny has a rating of five  overall kidswatch has a rating of five  overall mcafee family protection has a rating of four  overall webwatcher has a rating of four  overall cybersitter has a rating of four  overall spytech sentrypc has a rating of three  overall puresight has a rating of three  overall iambigbrother has a rating of four  overall
Setup
net nanny has a rating of five for setup kidswatch has a rating of five for setup mcafee family protection has a rating of four for setup webwatcher has a rating of four for setup cybersitter has a rating of four for setup spytech sentrypc has a rating of three for setup puresight has a rating of three for setup iambigbrother has a rating of four for setup
Filtering & blocking
net nanny has a rating of five for filtering & blocking kidswatch has a rating of four for filtering & blocking mcafee family protection has a rating of four for filtering & blocking webwatcher has a rating of four for filtering & blocking cybersitter has a rating of four for filtering & blocking spytech sentrypc has a rating of three for filtering & blocking puresight has a rating of three for filtering & blocking iambigbrother has a rating of three for filtering & blocking
Effectiveness
net nanny has a rating of five for effectiveness kidswatch has a rating of five for effectiveness mcafee family protection has a rating of four for effectiveness webwatcher has a rating of four for effectiveness cybersitter has a rating of five for effectiveness spytech sentrypc has a rating of three for effectiveness puresight has a rating of three for effectiveness iambigbrother has a rating of three for effectiveness
Time controls
net nanny has a rating of five for time controls kidswatch has a rating of five for time controls mcafee family protection has a rating of four for time controls webwatcher has a rating of four for time controls cybersitter has a rating of four for time controls spytech sentrypc has a rating of three for time controls puresight has a rating of three for time controls iambigbrother has a rating of four for time controls
Administration
net nanny has a rating of five for administration kidswatch has a rating of four for administration mcafee family protection has a rating of four for administration webwatcher has a rating of four for administration cybersitter has a rating of four for administration spytech sentrypc has a rating of three for administration puresight has a rating of three for administration iambigbrother has a rating of four for administration
Reporting
net nanny has a rating of five for reporting kidswatch has a rating of four for reporting mcafee family protection has a rating of four for reporting webwatcher has a rating of three for reporting cybersitter has a rating of five for reporting spytech sentrypc has a rating of three for reporting puresight has a rating of three for reporting iambigbrother has a rating of four for reporting
Ease of use
net nanny has a rating of five for ease of use kidswatch has a rating of five for ease of use mcafee family protection has a rating of four for ease of use webwatcher has a rating of four for ease of use cybersitter has a rating of four for ease of use spytech sentrypc has a rating of four for ease of use puresight has a rating of three for ease of use iambigbrother has a rating of three for ease of use
Help & support
net nanny has a rating of five for help & support kidswatch has a rating of five for help & support mcafee family protection has a rating of five for help & support webwatcher has a rating of three for help & support cybersitter has a rating of four for help & support spytech sentrypc has a rating of three for help & support puresight has a rating of three for help & support iambigbrother has a rating of four for help & support
Filters & blocks
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Filter methods
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Admin settings
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Access settings
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Reporting & monitoring
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Features
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Browsers
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Internet Explorer
net nanny supports internet explorer kidswatch supports internet explorer mcafee family protection supports internet explorer webwatcher supports internet explorer cybersitter supports internet explorer spytech sentrypc supports internet explorer puresight supports internet explorer iambigbrother supports internet explorer
Firefox
net nanny supports firefox kidswatch does not support firefox mcafee family protection supports firefox webwatcher supports firefox cybersitter supports firefox spytech sentrypc supports firefox puresight supports firefox iambigbrother supports firefox
Safari
net nanny supports safari kidswatch does not support safari mcafee family protection supports safari webwatcher supports safari cybersitter supports safari spytech sentrypc supports safari puresight supports safari iambigbrother supports safari
Chrome
net nanny supports chrome kidswatch supports chrome mcafee family protection does not support chrome webwatcher supports chrome cybersitter supports chrome spytech sentrypc supports chrome puresight supports chrome iambigbrother supports chrome
Opera
net nanny supports opera kidswatch supports opera mcafee family protection supports opera webwatcher supports opera cybersitter supports opera spytech sentrypc does not support opera puresight supports opera iambigbrother supports opera
Help & support
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Telephone support
net nanny offers telephone support kidswatch offers telephone support mcafee family protection offers telephone support webwatcher does not offer telephone support cybersitter offers telephone support spytech sentrypc offers telephone support puresight offers telephone support iambigbrother offers telephone support
Email support
net nanny offers email support kidswatch offers email support mcafee family protection offers email support webwatcher offers email support cybersitter offers email support spytech sentrypc offers email support puresight offers email support iambigbrother offers email support
Live chat
net nanny does not offer live chat kidswatch does not offer live chat mcafee family protection does not offer live chat webwatcher offers live chat cybersitter offers live chat spytech sentrypc does not offer live chat puresight offers live chat iambigbrother offers live chat
Help files
net nanny offers help files kidswatch offers help files mcafee family protection offers help files webwatcher does not offer help files cybersitter offers help files spytech sentrypc offers help files puresight offers help files iambigbrother does not offer help files
Tutorials
net nanny offers tutorials kidswatch offers tutorials mcafee family protection offers tutorials webwatcher offers tutorials cybersitter offers tutorials spytech sentrypc offers tutorials puresight offers tutorials iambigbrother offers tutorials
FAQs
net nanny offers faqs kidswatch offers faqs mcafee family protection offers faqs webwatcher offers faqs cybersitter offers faqs spytech sentrypc offers faqs puresight offers faqs iambigbrother does not offer faqs
Operating systems
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Windows 10
net nanny  windows 10 kidswatch  windows 10 mcafee family protection  windows 10 webwatcher  windows 10 cybersitter  windows 10 spytech sentrypc  windows 10 puresight  windows 10 iambigbrother  windows 10
Windows 8
net nanny  windows 8 kidswatch  windows 8 mcafee family protection  windows 8 webwatcher  windows 8 cybersitter  windows 8 spytech sentrypc  windows 8 puresight  windows 8 iambigbrother  windows 8
Windows 7
net nanny is compatible with windows 7 kidswatch is not compatible with windows 7 mcafee family protection is compatible with windows 7 webwatcher is compatible with windows 7 cybersitter is compatible with windows 7 spytech sentrypc is compatible with windows 7 puresight is compatible with windows 7 iambigbrother is compatible with windows 7
Windows Vista
net nanny is compatible with windows vista kidswatch is compatible with windows vista mcafee family protection is compatible with windows vista webwatcher is compatible with windows vista cybersitter is compatible with windows vista spytech sentrypc is compatible with windows vista puresight is compatible with windows vista iambigbrother is compatible with windows vista
Windows XP
net nanny is compatible with windows xp kidswatch is compatible with windows xp mcafee family protection is compatible with windows xp webwatcher is compatible with windows xp cybersitter is compatible with windows xp spytech sentrypc is compatible with windows xp puresight is compatible with windows xp iambigbrother is compatible with windows xp
Mac OS X
net nanny is compatible with mac os x kidswatch is not compatible with mac os x mcafee family protection is compatible with mac os x webwatcher is compatible with mac os x cybersitter is compatible with mac os x spytech sentrypc is compatible with mac os x puresight is compatible with mac os x iambigbrother is compatible with mac os x

Parental control software explained

The web is an integral part of our lives. But while the web brings a world of potential straight into our living rooms, the web also carries risks. The challenge of keeping children safe online grows harder by the day. Parents want a simple way to protect their children, without having to constantly watch over their shoulder.

Why is parental control software important?

Parental control software gives parents full control over their children’s access to computers. From setting time limits for computer access, blocking unsafe content, monitoring emails and instant messages (IM) or preventing kids from having undesirable conversations – parental control software allows children to explore the web in complete safety.

What does parental control software do?

Every parental control program offers different features and different levels of control over what your kids can see and do online. You can expect a few standard features, such as web content filtering and blocking of unsafe websites, to be offered by all programs. You may want a simple filter that detects obscene content online, or you may prefer the ability to monitor every button your child presses on the keyboard, every email they send or receive and every instant message that goes between them and their friends.

How does parental control software work?

Parental control software gives you choices about what your children can access using your home computers and mobile devices (like cell phones, iPods and iPads). Many programs offer pre-defined profiles for different age ranges. If you have children of different ages, you’ll want the ability to define different access levels for your children. Your children may attempt to work around the parental control software, so a key consideration when choosing your program is how difficult the program is to turn off or evade.

What to look for in parental control software

Filtering and blocking

Parental control programs can block access to websites that are unsuitable for children, so you can let them roam the web in relative safety. Programs can also filter out and mask obscenities – so your children can view entire web pages without seeing the profanity.

Time controls

Decide how long your children spend online and what times are acceptable for them to use the web. Ideal if you worry about your children spending too much time online or about them being online when you’re out or asleep.

Reports and alerts

Choose software that gives you regular reports of your children’s online activity, or set alerts to be notified whenever your children try to access unsuitable websites or use worrying language in their emails or instant messages with friends.

Total protection for cell phones, games and music

Just as you think you’ve protected your children online, you realize they’re accessing the web from their cell phones. Also, it’s worth remembering that kids are crafty and can easily get into trouble when they’re offline, or sending emails, or playing games, or downloading music. Parental control software can cover cell phones, emails and offline activities, but not all programs offer advanced features like iTunes download monitoring or age-restricted PC game blocking.

Child-proof parental controls

Clever, computer-literate children may notice that parental control software is being used, and they may try to turn it off, or work around it. One popular method of getting beyond the reach of parental controls is the use of proxy websites. Proxy websites are designed to obscure the identity of people online, and can undo the work of parental control software. So if your children are a bit older or slightly more determined you should choose software that can’t be evaded with proxies. Most parental control software is designed to be unobtrusive and to go unnoticed by your children. Invisible parental control software is desirable because children are less likely to tamper with something if they don’t know it’s there.

Ease of use

As much as you want to protect your kids, you don’t want to spend all day monitoring your kids online. Most programs are designed to take over and let you relax while your kids can explore the web, but for greatest ease of use look for parental control programs that allow you to create alerts – so you get an email as soon as your kids go astray. Or choose a program that generates automatic reports of children’s activity online.

Software licenses

Many parental control programs are sold for a one-time fee, but others are sold on a monthly or annual subscription basis. Check before you buy and make sure you understand what you’re buying before you click.

Help and support

You can typically find fast answers to your questions online, but many parental control vendors offer support by email too. Parental control software is designed to be easy to use and easy to set up – often giving you pre-defined settings that you can then adjust to suit your own children – so you may need very little help and support.

Q. What is parental control software?

A. Parental control software prevents children from accessing unsafe material online, or seeing obscene language, or from having unacceptable conversations via email or instant messaging services. Parental control software is designed to let children explore the web safely, without the need for constant parental supervision.

Q. Does parental control software monitor websites like Facebook and Bebo?

A. Yes. Parental control software can monitor children’s activity on all kinds of social websites, including Facebook, Bebo and MySpace. Software can alert you when your children receive inappropriate messages and it can mask rude language on-screen, preventing children from seeing anything undesirable.

Q. Can I prevent my child from seeing obscene language online?

A. Yes. Choose a parental control program that includes language filters so you can prevent your children from seeing foul language. The program will then mask any words that you choose to block.

Q. Can I prevent my child from uploading pictures?

A. Yes. Parental control programs can prevent your child from uploading pictures – perfect if you have concerns about your child receiving unwanted attention from strangers online.

Q. Can I monitor the conversations my child is having?

A. Yes. The degree of control ranges from programs that monitor emails and instant messages (IM) to programs that monitor every keystroke typed on the keyboard.

Q. Can I prevent my child from commenting on forums and blogs?

A. Yes. Children can easily forget that everything that happens online is public and open to all. Look for a parental control program that prevents your child from leaving potentially-damaging messages on forums and blogs.

Q. Can my child work around the parental control software?

A. Most parental control programs are hidden from view. So they protect your children without their knowledge. However, children may realize that some websites are beyond their reach and they may use a proxy website to get around your controls. If your children are older or wiser then choose parental control software that can’t be bypassed with proxy websites.

Q. Can I prevent my child from playing violent or obscene games?

A. Parental control software can even block access to age restricted computer games. These filters depend on the game being officially rated and certified by an organization such as the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

Q. Can I see what emails my children are receiving?

A. Parental control programs can help you monitor all of your children’s communications – including emails, instant messages (IM) and posts on social networks like Facebook.

Q. Can I control what my kids do on their cell phones?

A. Yes. Cell phone web browsing is increasingly popular and allows children to explore the web wherever they are. Get comprehensive protection with parental control software that monitors cell phone activity.

Q. Can I control what my kids see via search engines?

A. Even an innocent search may deliver obscene search results, particularly when searching for images. Choose parental control software that prevents your children from turning off the safe search options.

Jargon explained

Alerts

Recieve an email whenever your kids attempt to view blocked websites or engage in unsafe behavior.

IM (instant messaging)

Applications like Gmail, Facebook, MySpace and Jabber let people send fast messages back and forth – or chat. Parental control software can monitor these conversations and help you spot damaging behavior early.

Masking

Software can hide (or mask) rude words, so your children can still view and use the website, without being bombarded by obscene language.

Key-logging

If you want to see everything your children type, choose a program that includes a key-logger.

Proxy

Proxy is a website that people use to hide their identity online. Proxies can sometimes be used to sneak around parental controls. So you may prefer a program that cannot be avoided with a proxy website.

Remote access

Software that you can access remotely, from other computers – such as your work computer or from a laptop from when you’re away from home.

Screenshots

A screenshot is a picture of a computer screen. Parental control software can take pictures of the screen - so you can see exactly what your children can see.

Search integration

Choose parental control software with search integration to prevent your children from discovering pornography or obscenities when they use search engines.

Related help & advice



Rank
Net Nanny
Kidswatch
McAfee Family Protection
WebWatcher
Cybersitter
Spytech SentryPC
PureSight
IamBigBrother