You need a parental control software to protect your kids from the many types of problems that an uncontrolled Internet access can create. Windows 7 includes a fine Parental Control software and we have already seen how to setup parental controls in Windows 7 and how to install advanced features such as Web filtering, activity reports, etc. using Parental Controls. But if you are looking for a free third party software, there are many such freeware available in the market.
Free Parental Control Software for Windows
This article discusses top parental control software and then talks about the built-in parental control in Windows 8 and Windows 7.
Family Cyber Alert
To begin with, I would say Family Cyber Alert one is too much and that is because in addition to blocking websites, the software can be set to record keystrokes. Not only that, you can ask it to provide you with the screenshots taken during your kids’ use of computer. Isn’t that too much? And as if that was not enough, one can also combine the screenshots into a video for the entire duration your kid was using the computer.
- Record keystrokes
- Record screen (still images that can be converted to video)
- Maintain a log of websites visited and
- Maintain a log of instant messages and emails sent
With all these, you get to know everything your kids are doing on the computer. You know not only if they are talking to their friends or strangers, you also know what they are talking. I am sure your kids will never like this top parental control software that I place at number one.
UPDATE ABOUT FAMILY CYBER ALERT: Softonic has scanned this software with 30 antivirus engines. 29 have said it is clean. One has said it may contain a “Possible Trojan”. So you may want to take a call on this one. Thanks for the comment, Simon_W.
You may want to instead check out OpenDNS. Open DNS is free for home use. Not only it provides a separate domain name resolution service, it also offers you protection against unwanted sites on the Internet. Once you sign up with openDNS at opendns.com, you need to change the DNS of your computer to OpenDNS. This makes your browsing faster too while protecting you from phishing attacks. All the websites on the Internet are classified into 56 categories with different ratings. You can choose to block entire category or choose to block certain websites. There are three filtering levels available: High, Medium and Low. Using OpenDNS also provides you with reports on what all websites are being used so you get to know about new problem websites. The best thing is that, like Windows 8 Family Safety, you have to configure OpenDNS at a single place. Your information is stored on the OpenDNS servers and can be used on all the computers connected to the network.
K9 Web Protection Software
This is not as strong as the Family Cyber Alert software. Actually none of the parental control software is near the Family Cyber Alert software in providing total control – but still, they function well enough to guard your kids from malicious websites. K9 web protection not only blocks the websites that you marked unsafe, it also sends out audible alerts so that you can promptly attend to your kids.
Another setting of K9 web protection software blocks entire Internet after a limited number of repeated attempts to visit one or more websites that you restricted. While you can enter each website URL that needs to be blocked on your kids’ website, K9 Web Protection Software also allows for filtering the Internet using keywords. That means you can set up some keywords and all websites that contain those keywords – in their meta-description or title – are blocked.
Qustodio is a free program that monitors your kid’s online activities, their participation in social networks, chat programs and their surfing behavior. In a way, it helps to set healthy access limits, protect against inappropriate content and online predators.
Weblock for Kids
WebLock for Kids is a tool, parents can use to avoid their child’s exposure to the dangerous side of the Internet. It has the ability to customize your child’s homepage with included artwork, defined colors or images and apply browsing restrictions at the same time.
Microsoft says you do not need to worry about parental control software if you are using Windows 8. The operating system comes with built-in parental controls with more features. You can set up parental controls from Control Panel. Once you do that, you will receive a weekly email with details of your kids’ activity on the Internet. If you make it mandatory to login using the Windows Live ID, you can apply the same profile across multiple computers. In this case, the security settings will be stored on cloud and will be effective every time your kids login using their Windows Live ID.
Windows 7 too contains parental controls option in Control Panel but with Windows 8, you can expect a better degree of control over what your kids do on the Internet.
These were the top parental control software, in my opinion. Please let us know what parental control software you are using.