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Best Free Parental Control Software

April 23, 2015

Are your children safe online? Journal of Adolescent Health statistics suggest that in 82 percent of the sex crimes against minors, offenders used information provided in the victim’s social media profiles. Nearly 33 percent of all teenagers have become the victims of cyber bullying, yet only seven percent of the parents worry about it.

The use of parental control software can be a good option for protecting your child against the numerous dangers that the digital age has given birth to. The market has a number of free options that parents can choose among.

Which internet privacy and parental control tool is the best one? The following review will help you find out and it will give you some of the most valuable internet safety tips for kids.

K9 Web ProtectionK9 Protection logo

Very lightweight and small, this parental control product packs a powerful punch. It is characterized by cloud-based filtering, enabling users to block domains in a vast range of categories. In addition, parents can control newsgroup, chat room and unrated website access.

It’s also possible to just monitor your child’s online activities without blocking certain websites or online communication options.

K9 is characterized by safe online search options that boost the effectiveness of the software even further.

The final and really cool option of K9 is called time out. If this feature is enabled, kids will be denied access to internet for 30 minutes. The feature will usually kick in if a child tries to access 10 of the blocked websites or online communication features within a period of 10 minutes.

Some of the biggest K9 benefits include the following:

  • Very comprehensive functionalities for a free product
  • Small and very easy to install
  • A list of useful website categories that can be used for blocking purposes
  • The software is browser-independent, giving parents a lot of control
  • K9 is also highly tamper-resistant

Though this is a great product, it does feature a few shortcomings:

  • The information logs could be a bit difficult to read
  • The phishing protection is mediocre
  • There are no email notifications
  • Limited possibilities for instant message monitoring

QustodioQustodio logo

The name of this parental control option means guardian in Latin. This software comes with both free and premium options. Though Qustodio premium features a very detailed list of characteristics, the free Qustodio is also great for exercising some control over your child’s online activities.

Some of the most important characteristics of Qustodio include web and app monitoring, web filtering, monitoring of social activity on Facebook and time limit controls.

The real-time categorization is probably the most powerful Qustodio characteristic. It automatically analyzes page content to categorize different types of websites and eventually deny access. The web-based console used for adjusting the settings is user-friendly and very intuitive.

Some of Qustodio’s most prominent characteristics include:

  • Real-time categorization of websites
  • Alerts and online activity summaries
  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface
  • Optional daily cap for online activities

The shortcomings are just a few:

  • Image-based websites can “fool” the real-time categorization
  • Children can disable Qustodio, if they get access to the admin profile

Avira logo Avira Parental Control Software

Avira has a great tool that is formulated especially to monitor social media activities. In 2012, Avira acquired SocialShed and used this opportunity for the development of a highly effective and free social media monitoring product.

The interface is web-based and it provides a detailed overview of social media activities. Alerts notify parents about posts and interactions containing nudity, drug-related content, profanities or sexual phrases. Parents will also be notified about suspicious friend requests. The

Avira Parental Control is a great little tool that is characterized by several wonderful features:

  • Alerts about questionable content and potentially dangerous interactions
  • Ability to monitor different social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and others
  • A photo engine that scrutinizes entire albums

Though it’s great for social media monitoring, this tool has a few important limitations:

  • No control over private photos
  • No control over private messages
  • The free version has only basic features

Kidloggerkidlogger

This software enables you to control everything – from keyboard usage to Skype and other IM conversations. Kidlogger is characterized by intuitive interface and wonderful customization features.

The software is even capable of capturing screenshots periodically to give you a better idea about online and computer use activities.

Reports and alerts will be sent to you via email. You also get to choose the specific activities that you want to track, getting as little or as much information as you need. You may want to track just keystrokes, USB insertions, website usage or IM chats. Kidlogger is password protected, which means that the program isn’t easy to tamper with.

Kidlogger has several wonderful characteristics that make the program worth a try:

  • It’s possible to record voice, once you set up the computer microphone
  • Many customization options, enabling you to track the types of activities that you’re most interested in
  • Random screenshots provide additional information

The shortcomings of Kidlogger include:

  • Kidlogger doesn’t allow you to block website access
  • You can’t put a cap on internet usage
  • Cookies could impact the functioning of the software

Conclusion: Which Software is the Best One?

If you’re looking for a comprehensive security solution, K9 Web Protection should be your pick. This program has everything that you need to keep your child safe online. It’s easy to use and highly customizable, enabling you to monitor the exact activities that you’re interested in.

These are the reasons why K9 Web Protection has earned the National Parenting Center’s seal of approval and is also the winner of the Iparenting Media Award. The software is free, which means that giving it a try and figuring out whether it’s the right option for your family isn’t associated to any risk.

Internet privacy is vitally important but many dangers lurk behind seemingly innocent interactions. It’s up to you to keep children safe online. Software developers have given you many tools that you can use for the purpose. The key to successful parental control is monitoring just enough without tracking every single click. Building trust and providing practical internet safety tips for kids will also be important.

Also see: 10 Apps That Shouldn’t Be In Your Teen’s Mobile Phone

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