SafeEyes Review: Parental Control Software
|Sign up for SafeEyes|
|Easy for kids to get around; frustrating and expensive for parents|
[Editor's note: SafeEyes is offering NextAdvisor users a 20% discount with coupon code safeeyes20off. Just follow any links from NextAdvisor to SafeEyes, and use the coupon to get your discount.]
We'd been testing SafeEyes 5.6, and were generally disappointed by its shortcomings and jumbled user interface. As luck would have it, SafeEyes released its 6.0 product, giving the product a second chance in our parental control software reviews. We looked forward to some positive changes. Here's what we found:
SafeEyes version 6.0 improves on the user interface, something we criticized last time. It's quite a bit easier on the eyes, and things make more sense. There are still some oddities: even with strict filtering "Adult" sites are not blocked by default, even though "Pornography" is. SafeEyes does define its categories though, so if you want to get into hair splitting, you can. SafeEyes offers four levels of filtering: Low, Medium, High, and Custom. We ended up using custom settings.
Also fixed are many of the crashing issues that marred our first experience with Safe Eyes. Sadly, this seems to have been the end of the makeover.
On the circumvention front, SafeEyes had mixed results. It blocked some proxies after we enabled filtering on https urls, but not all. It also could not block new proxy sites. Also, SafeEyes is not set up to block users from looking at a Google cache. While these cached pages don't always show images, they will show text and some links, something that's more of a problem for blocking information such as "how to make a bomb." It seemed to block many images in web-based email. We could not seem to get it to block email in general, even though it claims to be able to do this.
We were also unintentionally given the means to circumvent the software when we called tech support for a genuine login issue. The representative asked us only for our username and the answer to our security question and we were given our password. Perhaps they were convinced by our reviewer's deep voice. On the plus side, SafeEyes has pretty good customer support that's easily reachable by phone.
At first we were allowed to search for rather inappropriate terms on Google, though the pornographic site blockers blocked us from the most pornographic. We actually had to enable the Keyword/Phrase Dictionaries for Block Profanity and Block Sexually Suggestive Words.
The filters themselves run a bit conservative, and are only somewhat smart about what they block. It does run into problems with multi-word queries. "Gay" is banned completely whether it's in "gay rights", Nietzsche's classic philosophy text "The Gay Science" or the WWII bomber "The Enola Gay." Sex is also forbidden, no matter what words it's paired up with. SafeEyes therefore found something naughty about "sex linked differences," a common biological term.
SafeEyes can record the activity on most of the popular IM programs, but it does not send realtime warnings to administrators when objectionable content is sent or received via IM. Also, while it can be set up to send out weekly or daily activity reports, you can't see them on demand. And while SafeEyes does send nearly instant reports when a user tries to view "banned" sites, the false positive rate is high. We were notifed of visits to Google, Netscape, Yahoo, and any site that used ratings services from Quantserve. While you can allow these sites via the control panel, parents will quickly grow tired of adding such innocuous sites to the exceptions list.
SafeEyes is $49.95, a steep price given its shortcomings. While we don't believe any program will ever be able to block everything, the mix of filtering failures, poor security with regards to customer service, and the program-blocking failures make it difficult to recommend.
System Requirements: Windows 7 (32- & 64-bit), Windows XP (32-bit), Windows Vista (32- & 64-bit); Macintosh version available (but not reviewed)
NextAdvisor Blog Headlines
Which Credit Cards Can I Use With Apple Pay?
If you've heard anything about the iPhone 6 or Apple Watch during the past week, then you've most likely also heard of the company's new mobile payment option called Apple Pay. How does Apple Pay work? Apple Pay, which will be available in October, aims to make in-person and online payments easier and more secure [...]
Can a Credit Card Be Closed for Inactivity?
Q: I have a few credit cards that I haven?t used in quite some time. Could my accounts be closed because of inactivity? Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, yes, credit card accounts can be closed by the issuer if they?re unused for extended periods of time. There is no exact science as to when the card [...]
Apple Pay: How Safe is Apple's New Mobile Payment System?
Apple is a company known for creating buzz and innovation. Last Tuesday during its launch of the new iPhone 6, the company's CEO Tim Cook announced several other new developments ? including a mobile payment system called Apple Pay. Standard on its new mobile devices, this payment technology aims to replace plastic credit cards and wallets [...]
Enjoy 20% Off Halloween Invitations With Tiny Prints
Even though Halloween is more than one month away, now is a great time to prepare for your haunting festivities with 20% off Halloween party invitations through Tiny Prints. Enter the code SPOOKY20 at checkout from now through Sept. 16th to take advantage of this offer. What design options do I have with Tiny Prints? Tiny Prints [...]
SafeEyes Forum Posts
- SafeEyes Review
Here is NextAdvisor's review of SafeEyes: http://www.nextadvisor.com/parental_con ... review.php