7 Parental Control Programs to Make Computers Safer for Children

Parental control software can help you protect your children from inappropriate websites and limit their risk of exposure to harmful materials. Along with filters, parents should have conversations with their children about safe Internet use to educate them about potential dangers and teach them how to be responsible Internet users.  Here are some filters and software programs that PC Magazine and Consumer Search have rated.  For more information, please see the links below.

  • AVG Family Safety (4.5 stars): This program offers users the ability to block videos, games, and music based on ratings.  Additionally, users can control instant message and social network usage or filter entire social networks.
  • Bsecure Online v6.16 (4.5 stars): This program offers users the ability to schedule and limit Internet access and content, monitor instant message and social networking, or filter an entire network.  It is unique because it blocks filter-breaking proxies so that children cannot find ways to go around parental controls.
  • McAfee Family Protection 2.0 (4 stars):  This program is unique because it gives users the ability to block bad sites in 35 different categories on up to three computers.  It allows users to block inappropriate videos, games, and programs.  Users can monitor email, instant messaging, and social networking posts with this program.
  • Net Nanny (4.5 stars): This program blocks content in real time and allows users to set controls for multiple users as well as monitor the use of websites, searches, instant messaging, and social networking through text messages or emails.
  • Norton Family (4 stars): This free program allows users to set computer time restrictions, as well as monitor the use of social networks, instant messaging, smartphone activity, and inappropriate web searches based on a child’s age.  Users can track children’s Internet activities on a free smartphone Norton app.
  • Qustodio v1.9 (4 stars): This program allows users to monitor up to eight children on up to ten devices at a time.  It allows users to view all Facebook activity and filter website content.  Additionally, it blocks children from using proxies to get around the filters.
  • Safe Eyes 6.0 (4 stars): This program is unique because it can be installed on Macs, PCs, iPhones, and iPads and its settings can monitor up to 10 users.  This program allows users to block inappropriate videos and warn users when children post private information online by email or text.

Parental Control Software: Reviews (2013, April). In Consumer Search. Retrieved February 6, 2014. http://www.consumersearch.com/parental-control-software

Ropelato, J. (2003). Internet Safety Tips. In Family Safe Media. Retrieved February 6, 2014. http://www.familysafemedia.com/internet_safety_tips.html

The Best Porn Filters to Protect Your Kids (2014, January 21). In PC Magazine. Retrieved February 6, 2014. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2429667,00.asp