It's not always possible for you to monitor everything your child or teen is doing on the Internet. You want to safeguard your child from inappropriate content and language without cutting off Internet access completely. Parental control software allows you to block and monitor the content that your child has access to. Most programs can be purchased online and downloaded immediately. Some programs are available to download for free with limited features, while you'll need to buy the software if you want additional monitoring and customization capabilities. When looking for parental controls software for your Mac, there are a few factors to keep in mind since there is not a single product that is perfect for every parent's needs.
One key requirement for parental controls software is filtering ability. These programs use lists of websites that contain objectionable content or allow you to filter out specific keywords that you want blocked. The algorithm that each software company uses isn't the same, which means that what one program allows, another might not. Some programs also allow you to block content through emails, instant messages and on social media. According to Top Ten Reviews and Find the Best, Net Nanny is rated as one of the best filtering programs since it offers features such as keyword and category blocking, along with email and gaming monitoring. Safe Eyes is another program that rates high with multiple filtering and blocking capabilities.
Recording ability isn't something that all programs provide. The level of recording you want depends on how much monitoring you want to do. If you want to record everything your child does or accesses, you can take screenshots of what your child does while online. If you're monitoring an older child, he may see the recording as spying or intruding on his privacy, so you might need to have a conversation about Internet safety. Net Nanny ranks high in recording and offers these abilities and the ability to customize the level of recording or turn it off. It also offers the ability to create different user accounts to control how extensively you want to record online activity or disable it completely. Safe Eyes also offers recording, but lacks the ability to view screenshots or record keystrokes as they're typed.
Some programs also provide reports on a daily or weekly basis. These reports can include information such as what websites your child visited and how long he spent on them and the sites he visited or terms that he searched for. You might want to receive the reports regularly, or have the program keep a log that allows you to access them whenever you want. Email reporting is more convenient if your child uses his own computer to access the Internet instead of a shared family computer. You can also keep a record of what programs are accessed while your child is on his computer.
Good news! If you don't want to spend money on parental controls software, you don't have to. There are free options such as K9 Web Protection or Norton Online. They offer basic filtering capabilities, but might not offer as much customization as others.