Selecting the Right Parent-Control Software

In the internet age, it has become increasingly more difficult to shield children from the media that is around them. They are bombarded with images that parents would never have let children see in previous generations - including pornography, graphic language and more. The problem today is that you can't just keep your child from the movie theater, or turn off the television. With internet access, text messages and the technical savvy of today's children, it is very difficult to shield them entirely.

Here are a few suggestions for purchasing parent-control software for the computer. These suggestions should help you to shop for the right software to keep your children away from some of this harmful information on the web and in other locations.

Compare Your Options

With many parent-control software products on the market, it's difficult to know which one to buy. The first thing to do is to compare their per-user configuration options. This is particularly necessary if you share a family computer. It would be annoying for the computer to monitor and control the use of every member in the house equally. Some programs, like Webroot Parental Controls, will tie the configuration settings to the Windows user accounts. This will work well if you have separate accounts in your house for each user. Other programs, such as Safe Eyes, have program-specific accounts. This is better if the entire family is on one Windows account. The problem is that it requires separate log-ins for each person, and the kids may be able to access information you don't want them to see if you forget to log out. The easiest programs to use for this issue are Net Nanny and Bsafe Online as they have program-specific accounts that can be tied to Windows user accounts.

How Many Categories to Block?

You'll want to evaluate how the program you are interested in blocks sites. The number of categories that the program will block varies a great deal from software program to software program. For instance, Sentry At Home only has one blocking category, while PC Pandora, Web Parental Controls and others allow you up to 60 categories to block.

Limiting Time on the Computer

Most of the parent-control software programs will also limit the amount of time that kids can be on the computer. Some of them will offer a simple format for this, where you set a single time-span for Internet access every single day or define the maximum amount of time that the child can be on in a given day. Some programs, like iShield Plus, SnoopStick and others give you a week at a glance. This allows you to define, in the course of a week, when Internet use is allowed and when it isn't. Along with the weekly maximum, you can usually set a daily limit with these as well.

These are a few of the items to consider when shopping for parent-control software. Make sure that you are comfortable with the software that you find and that it will work within the parameters that you need. Shop around until you find the software that will best suit your family's computer set up and the restrictions that you want to place on your child's use.

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