Comparison: Parental Controls in Windows 7, Mac, Norton Online Family and KidLogger.net
The present-day world makes us deeply concerned about the child protection in cyberspace. Internet is a huge source of information which is real hard to filter into useful or harmful. Everyone has got his own level of usefulness. And of course it’s different with adults and children. It should be kept in mind that children are very curious (investigative) and after visiting a web page with unwanted content or any adult web site they will never leave that page by themselves. The psychologists consider the pictures with violence or porno content to be harmful for child’s psyche. It’s very important to keep an eye on your kid to prevent it from getting totally internet addicted. Here are some warning symptoms of possible internet addiction: your child spends too much time by the computer, he tells you about his virtual friends and has almost no friends in real life.
Most often parents have no time to check what their kids watch or what they do by the computer. “Parental Control Programs” are right here to help them with it. Such programs can be divided into two types:
- Active Control
- Passive Control
Active Control is intended to set time limit on the computer, web sites filter and applications restrictions as well as for online games.
Web site filters are divided into:
«Block Lists» - the web sites blocked and forbidden for using. The advantage here is that the web sites are already filtered and there is no need for parents to waste their time and sort the web pages out. The disadvantage here is that the database gets quickly out of date and it takes time for the database to be updated.
«Allow Lists» - the web sites selected by parents manually. The advantage here is that the parents themselves choose the web sites to be visited. The disadvantage here is excessive strictness which is unacceptable from the point of view of child psychology. «Forbidden fruit is the sweetest». And you also can lose the chance to find out what are the things your child is most curious about in the “buttery of internet!”
Passive Parental Control implies monitoring with the purpose of further education. You can explain to your kid what kind of internet information is good or bad for him. You can also schedule the best hours for computer use. Try to do that together with your child. This is the most difficult approach and it is mainly based on trust. With this approach you can use the programs intended to inform you about his/her doing wrong in the web space or by computer.You can take advantage of the following set of rules for child’s online safety.
Parental Control Features are now integrated into most operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS X, iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android. There are also the programs that suggest both the Active control and the Passive one.
In Windows 7 “Parental Control” feature is (built-in by default and it’s free of charge)
In Windows 7 you can set time limits on computer usage for your children and increase their online safety without monitoring every step of your kid personally.
Parental Control feature enables you to specify the hours your child can spend by computer, and also set up a list of programs and computer games they can access (and usage time allowed). Besides, Parental Control and Windows Media Center can help you block access to viewing unwanted TV-programs and movies.
Mac OS X Parental Controls
Mac OS X Parental Controls is a component of Mac OS X operating system and is free for all Mac computer owners. As in Windows OS, Parental Control here also restricts access to the applications and time spent by computer, it filters inbox and outbox correspondence and iChat messages (friends in chat).
It also provides the settings for computer usage schedule, and user activity journals showing you the way your Mac was used. You can also specify the web sites to be allowed or forbidden.
As in Windows, the Mac Parental Control system is adjusted for each specific user. You are supposed to create user accounts (with limited privileges), and after that you set up the restrictions for each particular user account.
In the tab (Others) you can set Control Panel restrictions (Add Printer, DVD-recording).
Norton Online Family offers two types of profiles (free and charged-premium)
This is a Parental Control system that combines Active and Passive controls. The Norton Online Family application is directly connected with the Symantec web server, so, you can create your personal account and individual user accounts for your children respectively where you can adjust the time they are allowed to stay at the computer. Here you can also specify the rules for programs, Internet and PC usage. The application allows you to monitor online most of your child’s PC, Internet and Social Networking activity.
To be able to track all the steps your child takes online and keep it under control you are required to set up individual user accounts for each kid and every computer he uses. You should also install the Symantec Safety Minder program on every PC.
A true dog named “Norton” is ready to pop up every time on the computer screen to inform your kid that he/she is not allowed to visit this or that web site. Or to remind your kid that the hours he/she can spend by PC are limited. A child under 7 years of age will take it as a law and show obedience, but when it comes to teenagers there is a risk of killing your friendly relations.
The application supports Windows and Mac platforms. With the help of Control Panel at Symantec website you can monitor your child’s activity even in case you are not in close vicinity to your child.
Norton Online Family is able to generate history reports on every type of activities: the web sites visited, chatting through ICQ and Skype programs, chatting at Social Networking websites, online search, time spent by PC, viewing of videos (Youtube)
A free service version allows you to view your child’s activity during the whole week. A great advantage of this service is that it immediately sends an email message to parents whenever your child is trying to break one of the rules set up: staying too long by computer, trying to access the website forbidden, or undertaking something suspicious at social networking websites.
The Norton Online Family website provides a considerable selection of related articles. Here you can discover online safety rules for children, find out how to make them aware of those rules in a most friendly manner and what kind of threats your child can encounter in the web-space.
KidLogger Online service offers two types of profiles (free and charged-premium)
This kind of service allows you to keep track of your child’s activity in cyberspace and guide him when necessary.
And what is especially great about this service is that it can be provided for both desktop PCs and mobile devices. Today among notebooks and desktop PCs, smartphones and tablet computers become extremely popular means of communication with people of different ages.
With KidLogger service there is no reason to worry about your child safety since our service will take care of the above mentioned devices as well.
KidLogger monitors the user activities and builds up a general picture of a kid’s virtual life. With this in mind, parents will draw a certain conclusion and try to correct their child’s behavior. The application runs in the background and belongs to user activity monitoring systems. It gathers the necessary data and analyzes all your child online activity (the app is available for Windows, Mac OS and mobile phones on the basis of Android and Nokia). You can register your personal account at KidLogger.net to monitor computers and mobile phones of your kids.KidLogger not only gives you a general report on your kid’s activity but can also analyze all his/her online actions within a certain period of time and identify some regularities:The most frequently visited websites
- The most frequently used apps and files
- A list of Skype and phone contacts he prefers (including SMS messages)
- How much time he spends by PC per week, per month (here only the active time is to be considered, only when your child uses it)
- A list of key words typed
- A list of key search requests
- Travel path data through the city (using the phone GPS)
This program also allows you to use more advanced features for remote control, such as: saving the PC screenshots, sound recordings during Skype or phone talks.
The good news is that the application supports the Windows and Mac platforms and the mobile phones based on Android and Symbian (Nokia) as well. The developers have announced that the app support for RIM Black Berry and iOS (iPhone, iPad) is also being planned.
A free of charge registration allows you to monitor just one computer (or one phone), view the entire user activity journal and use only two types of its web analytics.
Parental Control strategies mentioned above can become of great assistance to you but it also calls for a great deal of patience, tact and educational potential from your part. Try to be more friendly and inventive while explaining to your child how he/she should behave in the web space. Find the most appropriate time and way to inform your kid about online safety rules to be considered in the future.
What is better - a friendly dialogue or categorical restrictions? It’s up to you to decide. It’s your choice and your personal strategy since every child requires an individual approach. It depends on how strict you are with your kids and what are the priorities targeted in your family. Monitoring will help you to discover your child’s hobbies, likes and dislikes and show you if there is any trouble to take care of immediately.In the following article we will instruct you on how to arrange effectively the Active Parental Control on your computer or mobile phone and apply one of the monitoring system programs to track your child online activity.