The internet can be a magical place where you learn new amazing things and come in contact with new people from different culture, everyone having something to gain from each interaction. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case most of the times. While the internet can be all those things, it is also a pretty dangerous place, especially for children.
Young minds should definitely not be able to see everything that’s happening on the internet, as they are very easy to influence.
Parents that are aware of this are very concerned about the wellbeing of their children, and want to know how they can take precautions. Of course, banning your kids from using the internet might sound like a solution to all internet related problems, but the internet is such a major part of today’s society that it will be pretty much impossible to do that.
Even some school assignments might have children go online to research stuff or use services. Fear not, concerned parent or person distraught with the vulgarity and obscenity that can pop up on the internet out of nowhere, for there is a solution: Online filters or internet browsing filters.
What are they?
Internet filters are services provided by various companies that restrict the level of access a computer has to online features. It’s the best way to make sure that your kids don’t see what you don’t want them to see and that content you don’t want popping up won’t pop up on-screen. In this article, we are looking at the top internet filter programs available for Windows right now.Net Nanny
1. Net Nanny
Net Nanny is regarded as one of the best (for some, the very best) internet filter software. There are many attributes that put Net Nanny on top, one of them being the fact that it’s very easy to use. When it comes to actual features, it comes with a lot of options that help parents filter pornography but also prevent cyber-bullying. It is truly a cyber-nanny and the many users that have tried it vouch for its efficiency.
Keeping track and reporting
Net Nanny comes with multiple options regarding how parents can track their children and more specifically their online activity. You can choose multiple ways in which data is sent to you and how you receive reports of what they’ve been up to online. There is even a social media feature that lets you track social media activity and also monitor messages they might receive. The service definitely does a good job in keeping a close eye on the kids’ activity.
As mentioned before, Net Nanny is able to filter and block content, which is pretty much the bread and butter of any online filter. The ability to dictate what children are able to see and what not is invaluable for a parent these days, and Net Nanny provides that very service. Content can be blocked completely so you don’t have to worry about your children accidentally (or not) getting exposed to pornography or other things online they should stay clear of.
Witigo is another great solution for providing children with security and filters while they browse the internet. It has pretty much all the features you would expect from an online filter and definitely have seen with other similar services. However, it also has some features that set it aside from the crowd. Let’s take a closer look at what makes Witigo a solid pick for parents that want to protect their children.
Witigo can be downloaded and installed on a computer, after which it will begin providing security for that particular computer. However, there is also a cloud-based version of Witigo that users are privy to. The cloud version comes with some perks of its own, specifically the fact that you can manage multiple devices as once, not just one computer.
Through cloud technology, parents can keep an eye not just on their kids’ computer history and activity but also on their smartphone and other smart devices they might be using. It’s also compatible with Mac computers, which makes it even better from a Mac owner’s perspective.
Setting up Witigo isn’t necessarily hard but it’s definitely more challenging and tedious than other similar software. The main difference between Witigo and other software is that the former cannot be immediately used after installation. After downloading and installing the PC version, users must first install the mobile version on their phones.
After downloading and installing the PC version, users must first install the mobile version on their phones. Only then will they be able to use the PC version to track and scan. Once the installation is complete, however, users can safely and efficiently manage settings for all platforms.
27 different filters
There are many websites and themes that shouldn’t be available for children. The included 27 different filters help users restrict internet access to desired platforms, ranging from the obvious ones like pornographic websites to online games or gambling sites and even news sites. Some parents might want to prevent their children from being exposed to the harsh realities in the news, and having that option at the ready is a great feature.
McAfee is a well-known company with many different branches. They also dabble in online filtering as evidenced by their presence in this list. That being said, there are definitely good qualities about this app, but there are also a lot of lackluster or inexistent features that prevent it from being a rounded and comprehensive security tool.
What you would expect
The app does come with the standard online filter app features that are the core of such a service. Parents can use it to put restrictions on their children’s internet activity and prevent them from accessing pornographic websites or even get into situations where they might get cyber bullied.
Keeping it in the family
As mentioned previously, McAfee has multiple branching which means that some users might already be using the company’s assets in some form. For instance, McAfee also provides more than competent antivirus protection so someone that is already using that service might benefit more from sticking with the same service provider in terms of extending to internet filtering as well.
Generally having all services on one platform could be very useful for keeping thing organized but also ensuring integrations and connectivity between the different services. That doesn’t mean it’s a must have scenario as you might benefit more from using a completely different provider.
A cool thing about McAfee is that it allows users not just to block websites based on their content and theme but also based on their URL. That means that there are less chances for a website to sneak through some loopholes and pop up right in front of your kids since you can specifically tell the software to not allow access regardless of your motives for doing so.
Some services offer great features but lack severely on the support side. With McAfee, users are privy to a well-rounded support service which includes all the necessary resources you might need. You can either look for an answer yourself in the FAQ, or use live chat and phone support to get in touch with someone from McAfee. There is also a number of articles available which can be of great help in different situations.
Surfie is a pretty neat pick, but it has one big flaw that prevents it from being a higher priority when it comes to selecting an online filter service. Despite being a competent pick as far as features as efficiency go, the problem with Surfie is that it doesn’t really offer any support. The software was developed by Pure Site, and the
The software was developed by Pure Site, and the develop doesn’t seem to be all that interested in maintaining a constant support line for users that might have problems or inquiries. In fact, any Surfie users that runs into problems has to learn to make do with just the online user guide. There is also the option of sending the developer an email but that isn’t the most effective or quick method for getting results.
Super easy installation
Surfie is truly user friendly from the practical perspective, and even though its user support infrastructure is severely lacking, it kind of makes up for it a little bit through how easy it actually is to set Surfie up.
Users are greeted by a setup wizard that takes over all installation duties and guides users through the step-by-step process. This way, no user can get confused or lost within the installation process. The wizard also sets up an admin ID for the user, which will be used to call the shots.
Surfie is a really good pick if your kids spend a lot of time on different chatting services. Skype, Facebook Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and others are frequently visited by children and the easiest way for them to get in contact with strangers that they shouldn’t have any contact with, to begin with. The software takes extra precautions to make sure that users are able to block all these services or restrict their kids from them as they see fit.
The bulk of the features
When it comes to Surfie as a package, it’s just as compelling as any other service with a wide variety of features and options that allow parents to monitor their children thoroughly but also to take action at any moment and in many different forms from completely blocking something to set time limits.
CYBERsitter could have been better but it can definitely be a useful pick/ It depends strongly on how far you want to go in terms of internet filtering and restrictions. If you are looking to block websites or apply pornography filters, CYBERsitter is more than capable to help you do that. However, if you want the full package that also includes activity tracking and that sort of thing, you might need to look for it somewhere else.
CYBERsitter focuses real hard on providing on type of protection and that means that outside its comfort zone where it does very well, it’s quite a bit lackluster and feels incomplete. That being said, the software does not include cyberbullying detection, which should be a must have feature in all internet filtering software. The ability to block out all potential negative content is very useful and CYBERsitter definitely loses a couple of valuable points thanks to that one.
Since it’s an internet filtering app, you can depend on it to provide useful filters for online content. Users are free to choose what kind of content will and will not be allowed onscreen. The program offers a pretty reasonable list of filters that can be used to block content, which is always a good thing.
A great feature that helps CYBERsitter raise the bar is its time management feature. This feature allows the user to set just how much time their children spend in front of the computer. It’s very important that kids learn to take all things in moderation, even the internet, and going outside to play and explore is crucial in their development.
Computers and the internet usually stand in the way of that, especially with newer generations so the fact that CYBERsitter provides that kind of support for parents is pretty awesome.
Norton Family is just as good as any of the other services highlighted in this article. That being said, it provides a solid list of features that many people find enticing. Norton, just like McAfee, is known for its contributions to the antivirus scene as well, being an elite antivirus service provider. The Norton services in regards to internet filtering are thus recommended by the company’s impressive record in keeping computers safe and protected.
In preparation of children browsing sessions
Norton Family allows users to prepare the computer and the inline environment for a child’s browsing session. This means that certain settings can be prepared so that kids can safely browse the internet without parents fearing what they might find.
Activity tracking and child protection
It has been long established that parents need to know what their kids are doing online. That being said, Norton helps parents learn more about their kids’ online habits and occupations. Staying informed is the best weapon a parent can ask for against alienation from their kids because when a parent knows what’s going on, they can engage in conversation a lot easier.
Additionally, kids are prone to revealing their real-life information way too easily online. Norton Family provides features that help parents protect their children’s information from people they interact with online but also from websites and platforms they might access.
Norton Family can be used to protect and monitor all the platforms on which a child spends their time online, and at the same time too. That means that whether your kid in on the computer or on their tablet, you can keep track of what they’re doing at any moment.
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