Internet in a mere sense is an alternative world where when a person enters forgets about the time and the busy world around him. Internet on one hand is extremely beneficial but on the other hand is full of contents which may not be appropriate for kids of certain age group and for those people who belong to the communities which have unique moral values. They might strive to put a wall between the inappropriate contents of internet and themselves and their kids. A number of companies are offering internet filtering services today to help people block unnecessary and inappropriate contents from viewership.
Here, in this article, I shall review three excellent parental control services which are equally beneficial for parents and their kids, and also for people of all believes belonging to different regions around the globe.
1- K9 Web Protection
K9 Web Protection is a free parental control service which puts a solid fence between unwanted internet contents and internet users. With almost 69 categories of contents and still on going addition of more categories by the company to the control panel of K9 Web Protection has helped make this service extremely precise in blocking certain types of web contents.
Worthy features included in this parental control are “time restriction” for kids, to limit their internet activity as required. “NigthGuard” completely restricts access to internet every night regardless of what categories have been selected. Time range can be allocated for this function. “Website exception” helps to allow specific websites to be accessible even if its whole category is blocked. “Blocking effect” can be customized according to the will of parents and service users. Certain keywords can be added to the blocked list to block the webpages containing those keywords in their URLs. “Safe search” enables to filter out search results on famous search engines. This parental control service also forces YouTube safety mode to get enabled automatically to filter adult videos from YouTube and then does not let it get turned off.
|Control panel of K9 Web Protection. (Click image to enlarge)|
K9 Web Protection has a specific feature to block web advertisement too and it works extremely flawlessly. This feature is listed inside the categories section. Parents may utilize this feature to block ads from popping up on their kids computers. Secure traffic (https) is also effectively blocked by K9 Web protection. Activity Summary is presented in categorized way with precise time and date to analyse the individual activity elaborately. K9 Web Protection works extremely fine with all web browsers designed for PC and Mac. Its control panel is easily accessible from within the web browser. One feature it lacks is the remote control from different computers which is not possible currently. But I hope, company may introduce this feature as well in future.
2- Norton Family
Norton Family is another brilliant parental control service offered by Symantec. Symantec is an old company now and has rich experience in providing quality security related software and services. Previously, Norton Parental Control was integrated into Norton Internet Security but for the past few years, the company is now offering it separately without any charges. This has made it possible for everyone to get benefit from this excellent web filtering service.
The best thing about Norton Family (formerly known as Norton Online Family) is that one can remotely control it from any computer around the world by going to its online control panel. All it requires is “Norton Family” software installed on computers which have to be monitored. Different rules can be set for individual computer without affecting others. The control panel is designed to be user friendly with extensive features.
The worth noting features included in this parental control service are 47 categories to choose from to block specific types of web contents. Specific websites can be individually blocked and specific websites of certain categories can also be allowed. Search results of famous search engines can be filtered using this service. Social networking accounts and social behaviours of kids over internet can be analysed and monitored. Time management for children is possible using this parental control. Email notifications which are sent by this service can be configured for different types of alerts.
|Control panel of Norton Family. (Click image to enlarge)|
Norton Family also offers premier features which can be obtained after paying certain amount of money. Premier features offered by the company among this parental control service are video monitoring, time summaries, weekly and monthly email reports and records of up to 90 days of activity history.
3- Microsoft Family Safety
Microsoft Family Safety is a free service offered by Microsoft for its operating system users. It is not as much advanced as the two reviewed above but still offers a reliable internet filter. This parental control service works in cooperation with “Windows Live Family Safety” software of Microsoft on Windows 7 and previous versions of windows. Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 have pre-integrated Family safety features within the OS.
Microsoft Family Safety also offers remote control of monitored computers from any computer and from any place. The important features included are pre-configured macro categories to block adult contents and allow social networks, web chat and web mail, websites with general interest and those websites which are especially designed for children. Specific websites can be individually allowed or blocked by the parents if their contents are inappropriate. This parental control service offers important features like “Time limits”, “Game restrictions” and “App restrictions” to limit the internet access time, restrict access to games and certain applications as desired by the parents.
|Control panel of Microsoft Family Safety. (Click Images to enlarge)|
Overall, Microsoft Family Safety is a good parental control service but still requires improvements to make it more customisable. If you are using Microsoft Windows, you can get this parental control by downloading and installing Microsoft Family Safety (formerly known as Windows Live Family Safety) which is exclusively available in “Windows Essentials”.