KidsWatch Family Protection Suite
Easy Parental Control Software Solutions
Parental Control Feature Summary
- Time Limit Controls: Yes
- Internet Blocking: Yes
- Web Filtering: Yes
- Chat Monitoring: Yes
- Activity Reports: Yes
- Email Alerts: Yes
- Remote Access: Yes
- Download Blocking: Yes
- Predator Alerts: Yes
- Keystroke Logging: No
- 100% Guarantee: Yes
- Family Protection Suite: $45.95
- Trial Download: Yes
KidsWatch Parental Control Software Review
KidsWatch allows you to manage your family’s time and access to the computer and the Internet. This feature-rich parental control application and has the most features on our comparison list. Here is how you can protect your family using KidsWatch Family Protection Suite:
- Limit surfing, chatting, and gaming by child.
- Schedule the number of hours each child can use the computer.
- Log out each child automatically during the dinner hour, homeowrk time, or when it’s time for bed.
- Protect your children from gaining access to inappropriate Web site content.
- Prevent your children from installing and downloading software.
- Block your children from accessing certain programs and tools on your computer.
- Review reports that show what Web sites and computer programs your child accessed.
- Receive alerts when your child attempts to visit blocked Web site content.
- Review your child’s chat conversations from Instant Messaging software, Facebook, MySpace, AIM, Yahoo, MSN, and ICQ.
- Track registered sex offenders who may live or work in your neighborhood.
- Receive real-time alerts when suspect words or phrases are encountered in chat conversations.
- Set time limits on individual Web sites or set up schedules of usage.
- Make changes to setting from remote locations.
With their computer time limit application, you can customize the time, duration, and program options for each child and create computer time schedules that suit your family’s needs. In addition to setting computer time limits by child, you can also set KidsWatch to allow your child use of the computer, but not the Internet.
With these parental controls, you have the option of creating Internet time limits too, and you create different restrictions for each child in your family. You can can also configure this software to warn your children when their time expiration is approaching for computer or program use. By default, the initial warning is set to five minutes, but you can change that too.
Temporary passwords are available as one-time use passwords that you can provide your child to extend computer, the Internet, or program time. You can use them for bypassing Web filtering settings. The password can be used only once, and for just one restriction.
You determine the password and the amount of time for the extension, then give the password to your child for special circumstances. For example, your daughter is running out of computer time while she is still working on a homework assignment. She can enter the password to allow herself more time to finish, without assistance from you.
This software allows you to generate automatically scheduled reports on each child’s activity. You may also run reports on demand. Reports can list the Web sites they visit, the programs they use, or the time and date they were active on the computer. You can generate a report on demand, or create a schedule to run reports daily, weekly, or monthly and send them to your e-mail address.
By reviewing reports regularly, you can see exactly how long your child spent on the computer and where they spent that time. This helps you adjust restrictions, if desired.
If you have older children who use Facebook, MySpace, or Instant Messaging (IM) software, such as AIM and Yahoo Messenger, you can use the KidsWatch Chat and Instant Messaging feature to view a log of your child’s online communications. This feature captures all typed conversations, both sent and received. If you only want to view chat conversations or instant messages that may be of concern, you can configure the application to send you e-mail alerts when certain terms are used in your children’s messages, such as "drunk" or "drugs."
Web Filtering allows you to selectively limit the type of Web sites your child can visit. You can filter by category to prevent your child from visiting sites with mature content or other types of content you decide to be inappropriate. You can filter by time restrictions to set the number of hours and the times of the day your child can use a specific Web site, and you can use filtering options to prevent your child from using major search engines to search on words associated with restricted categories. This can be especially effective if you want to limit the time your teenager spends on Facebook every day.
You can configure KidsWatch to send you an instant email alerts if your child attempts to access restricted Web sites, and if your child sends or receives a chat message containing a flagged keywords. Email alerts show a detailed excerpt of the conversion.
KidsWatch is one of the few parental controls that offers Predator Watch. This features allows you to view a map of where registered sex offenders live or work in your neighborhood. Predator Watch provides a photo, if one is available, a list of previous convictions, and a description of each sex offender listed. You can also sign up for e-mail alerts to be notified when a sex offender moves into your neighborhood.
The software also comes with a remote application which can be installed on a networked computer so you can remotely perform some administration tasks, such as extending restrictions or locking out a user. By using this remote application, you have control over a networked computer and can avoid interrupting your child or arguing with your child over limitations. It is an easy way to maintain parental control settings from work.
The only feature this software doesn't have is keylogging, which means recording every keystroke entered into a computer by every user. Unless you have a specific need to record every letter typed into your computer, KidsWatch is so feature-rich, it can just about handle anything you could possibly need to do to protect, filter, and monitor your children's computer and Internet time.