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Looking for Parental Control Software with Specific Features

Posted on 2010-09-22
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Last Modified: 2013-11-16
Hello,

I am looking for advice on a cost-effective solution to control and possibly monitor internet use.  I use a Juniper NetScreen SSG-5 hardware firewall at home that is configured into a work and home zone.  The home zone has three PCs that my family uses.  My teenage daughter needs internet access to do her high school homework.  The problem is that she spends far more time on Facebook and YouTube than her homework.  I have been using NetNanny for a few years but would like to find something better.

My daughter sometimes borrows my wife's and son's PC, so selectively blocking her will not work.  My wife doesn't believe in passwords, which makes this tougher.

Here is what I am looking for in an ideal world:

1. Ability to block internet access at select times.  This should be customizable by day.  For instance, I can let her use the internet until 1 am on Friday and Saturday nights, but it is blocked after 11 pm on school nights.

1b. Related to this it would be nice to limit computer access beyond a certain time.

2. If she tries to access the internet in a blocked time, she can send an electronic request over the internet to me.  I can from my own PC, which is on a different network zone, manually grant her extra internet time for that particular session.  It would be ideal if she could include a message like "dad, I need 20 more minutes to finish my social studies project."

3. I also have the ability to limit the hours spent on certain sites.  For example, I want to limit her use of Facebook to one hour a day during the school week and four hours a day on the weekend.  As with #2, if she goes beyond her limit she can send an electronic request to me for more time.  

3b. It would also be nice to receive alerts whenever she reaches any limits I set.

Of course I want the standard parental controls to block certain sites or adult oriented content, etc.

Ideally, I would like to buy something that is not an annual subscription.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.  My NetNanny subscription will expire shortly and I want to see if something else would better fit my needs.  A key desire is the ability for me to reconfigure each PC's settings remotely from my PC.

Chip
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Question by:MrChip2
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9 Comments
 
LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:mhammer15
mhammer15 earned 250 total points
ID: 33740443
Look into http://www.advancedparentalcontrol.com/ it has all the parameters you specified
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Author Comment

by:MrChip2
ID: 33740679
Thank you mhammer,

I have been looking into the software you suggest.  I agree it appears to offer everything I need feature-wise as well as price-wise. My only concern in terms of features is website filtering.  Net Nanny lets you filter out all content of a certain type, like gambling, sex, drugs, etc.  From what I see, this program forces you to either manually enter the URL or manually enter keywords.  I am afraid this will leave a lot of bad sites open for access.

More troubling are the customer reviews.  There are a lot of negative reviews on CNET and tucows about the s/w.  Customer support is non-existent according to many and quite a few ran into system problems.  I also checked out the website and it has several broken links (like to the demo).  Their FAQ file routes you to a completely different domain.  All in all there are too many red flags on this one.  Do you (or anyone else) have other suggestions?

Chip
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LVL 1

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by:
mhammer15 earned 250 total points
ID: 33740915
There is a free program called k-9 web protection...look into it
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Author Comment

by:MrChip2
ID: 33741248
Thanks for the follow-up.  K9 looks like a better candidate.  I need to pick this up tomorrow.  By chance do you know if it will work in Windows 7 Home Premium?  Also, would it let me limit the number of hours spent on a site, like Facebook? (not just limiting the time of day)  I should be able to close this tomorrow.  Thanks!
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Expert Comment

by:mhammer15
ID: 33742261
It works good on windows 7
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LVL 25

Assisted Solution

by:madunix
madunix earned 200 total points
ID: 33751847
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LVL 25

Assisted Solution

by:madunix
madunix earned 200 total points
ID: 33751905
also you can check

http://www.untangle.com/
Untangle provides a powerful suite of Internet management applications for small-to-medium businesses and education institutions.


http://www.iambigbrother.com/
IamBigBrother is the leading internet monitoring software available for both homes and business. And when using IamBigBrother, you'll know exactly who your kids chatted with last night and be able to read the full conversation!

http://www.refog.com/download.html
REFOG Employee Monitor is the ultimate surveillance suite offered by our company. Having all features of our less advanced products, REFOG Employee Monitor is designed to boost productivity of your employees. The product can watch multiple PCs and workstations at once without leaving your chair. Instant alerts are handy to prevent information leaks the moment they are about to happen

http://www.eblaster.com/
eBlaster spy software is the ONLY software in the world that will capture their incoming and outgoing email, chats and instant messages - then IMMEDIATELY forward you an EXACT COPY.

Example:

    * You are at work and your child is home from school.
    * She receives an email from John at 3:00 PM.
    * Within seconds, you receive a COPY of that email sent to your email address.
    * A few minutes later, she replies to John's email.
    * Within seconds, you receive a COPY of what she sent to John.

In addition, eBlaster spy software records ALL emails, chats, instant messages, web sites visited, keystrokes typed, programs launched and files downloaded/uploaded , MySpace activity, Online Searches, and user activity - then sends it to you via email in the form of a detailed Activity Report. Receive your Activity Reports as frequently as once every hour or once a day - it's your choice.
      
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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:jimmmg
jimmmg earned 50 total points
ID: 33762487
try Sentry PC, a smart time limit and site filteing software.
http://www.monitoring-softwares.com/computer-time-limit.html 
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Author Closing Comment

by:MrChip2
ID: 33852299
Thanks everyone for some great ideas.  I decided to try out K-9 for starters.  The only feature it lacks is the ability to limit time on a specific website.  My daughter has already asked me why her computer is barking at her.
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