Your family is your greatest treasure and your home your safest citadel from the unwanted influences of the world. That's why monitoring software to track and log internet and computer use is a necessity. It lets you block and filter a host of influential content that could prove harmful to your children's development and the overall peace of your home. Just knowing that monitoring software is installed on your computer can keep users honest.
Everything from pornography to explicit gore, violent games, gambling and more can be found with a few keystrokes. Online predators, cyber bullying, hateful websites and other negative influences can potentially plague your children. You can safeguard your family from unseemly and damaging connections by using computer monitoring software.
Most monitoring applications offer a multiplicity of protections and a variety of tools. Our researchers tested and ranked monitoring tools to bring you an objective comparison of the best computer tracking software. Our top three products are SpyAgent, WebWatcher and PC Pandora. Read our articles on monitoring software to learn more about computer monitoring tools.
TopTenREVIEWS evaluated more than 40 features to rank monitoring software. Here are a few of the categories we studied:
Good monitoring software includes tools to record all website visits and online searches. The software should have the ability to detect when a computer user accesses social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter or views online pornography.
Some monitoring applications can capture blog posts, usernames and even passwords. Recording the transcripts of conversations that occur via chat and instant messaging clients is a frequently sought-after feature. Additional elements to consider are tracking file downloads, sent and received emails, web-based email and email attachments
Tracking features may include recording the applications users launch as well as the duration and frequency of use. These components can track how much time an individual spends watching videos, playing games or engaging in other nonproductive activities that may distract from schoolwork or sleep.
Blocking & Controls
Make sure the monitoring software you select has filtering and/or blocking capabilities. These components can prevent users from executing applications and accessing pornography, online gaming and even social networking websites.
Some apps block and filter content by keywords, phrases and categories. Blocking chat and instant message conversations may be important to parents. Additional monitoring elements can include preventing downloading, installation and use of illegally obtained software and music.
Computer owners may want the ability to control remotely a monitored PC. Common remote commands include the ability to disable or enable software, restart the computer, freeze the mouse and more.
Monitoring applications can log an enormous amount of information. A badly designed reporting interface can make even the most robust applications useless. Reporting methods should be easy to navigate and should have multiple report features, as well as the ability to perform custom searches.
Some applications come equipped with keyword alerts. Upon receiving or typing one of the designated keywords, the software generates an email alert that notifies the administrator of a potentially dangerous situation. Examples of these keywords could be sexually explicit phrases, profanity, aggressive phrases and more.
You should be able to access reports remotely, and some of the applications we reviewed can send you reports via email. In addition, most applications let you access reports on monitored computers.
Help & Support
Manufacturers of monitoring software should offer effective and efficient customer support. The best services offer live chat and phone support. Other methods can include email and online FAQs. Free trial downloads and upgrades are an added benefit.
More than any other modern tools, computers and the internet have the potential to bring unwanted influences into your home. Installing and using monitoring software is the best means to safeguard your family from online pornography, hate sites, predators and more. The best products we found have varied levels of monitoring, blocking and reporting tools, so use our rankings and reviews to help you choose the best monitoring software for your needs.
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