Parental Control Software Reviews & Prices

The Internet is always on, but parents can't always be around to see what their kids are looking at. That's why there's parental control software. Parental control software helps parents, guardians, and other computer administrators monitor and set limits on online activity. When testing this software we kept three things in mind: parental peace of mind, teen usability, and the program's resistance to circumvention. In other words, the software had to be able to monitor activity and block objectionable content, but also not frustrate teens and kids who need to use the Internet for legitimate reasons. Perhaps most importantly, it should stand up to attempts to bypass the software, something reflected in our "kid-proof rating." Our compare chart lets you know which were the most resistant to our attempts. It also lists other features offered, but we suggest you read the reviews to find out how well these features worked. Check out our FAQ for more on how we reviewed this software, as well as for tips on how to set it up.

Parental Control Software Reviews & Prices

Updated 03-17-2014

Service Name & Rating: Cost: Programs Monitored: Special Features: Social Network Monitoring: Reports/Alerts: Kid-Proof Rating: Bottom Line:
Net Nanny$29.99/yr
(after 25% discount)

$19.99/yr additional computers
IE, Firefox, Chrome;
instant messaging on Facebook, MSN, Yahoo!
Profanity masking; ratings-controlled gaming; picture, forum, blog controlsProfile reporting: Facebook, Bebo, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube; blocks unsupported sitesSearchable web history reports; customizable real time cell phone/email alertsExcellent: succesfully blocks proxies and filters urlsThe best choice due to its smart block list, proxy-resistance, and good interface
SocialShield$9.99/mo (whole family)Facebook, Twitter, MySpaceFacebook reporting; friend analysis; language monitorFacebook, Twitter, MySpace (finds, but does not monitor others)Limited email alerts, otherwise viewable onlineOK: Can't be circumvented with proxies, but other methods possibleRelies on your child's cooperation; friend monitoring is smart, but language filter is not
WebWatcher$97.00 for 1st year (after 40% discount)
$67.00/yr renewals
IE, Firefox, Chrome; Instant messaging on Yahoo!, AIM, MSNTriggered screen shots; key logger; runs invisiblyNone, but keylogger can monitor text typed on Social Networking sites; optional Smart Camera can record activitySaves data on web for 15 days; no email or text alertsPoor: very open to circumventionBlocklist is smart and monitoring is comprehensive, though site blocker and monitor are easy to get around
Service Name & Rating: Cost: Programs Monitored: Special Features: Social Network Monitoring: Reports/Alerts: Kid-Proof Rating: Bottom Line:
SafeEyes$39.95/yr for 3 PCs
(after 20% off w/coupon code safeeyes20off)
IE, Firefox;
Instant messenger (Yahoo!, AIM, MSN, ICQ)
Multiple levels of blocking severity; Some ability to block program accessMonitors social networks for profanity and suggestive terms; can ban social network sitesDaily or weekly reports; instant email reports for violations; no on-demand reportingOK: blocks some proxies that allow kids to bypass controlsEasy for kids to get around; frustrating and expensive for parents
Bsecure CloudCare 6.1$49.95/yr for 3 PCsIE, Firefox;
Yahoo! Messenger
Wireless network filtering; Social network access; SMS and email alertsYes, can access kids' social networking accountsSMS or email reports; somewhat delayed reports via web interfaceOK: blocks some proxies that allow kids to bypass controlsA vast improvement over previous version, but still open to circumvention
CyberPatrol$39.95/yr for 3 PCsIE, FirefoxIM-level profanity masking; multiple configurable age groupsNoneWeb history reports; does not record chat activityPoor: very open to circumventionPoor blocklist, easy bypass, no chat monitoring, and confusing interface
Service Name & Rating: Cost: Programs Monitored: Special Features: Social Network Monitoring: Reports/Alerts: Kid-Proof Rating: Bottom Line:
McGruff SafeGuard$19.95/3 mos,
$29.99/6 mos,
IE, Firefox; instant messaging (Yahoo!, AIM, MSN, ICQ)Keylogger; password captureYes, monitors activities on many social networksDaily summaries and custom alertsPoor: very open to circumventionDespite some good monitoring it's buggy and easy to circumvent

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