Keep your Family Safe Online: An Evaluation of Online Security Software

 
Keep your family safe online - and evaluation of online security software

 

My kids are into online gaming and electronics.  I realize that there is a lot about learning and being creative, but there are limits.  At least, I believe there are limits.  If I would allow it, they would be on constantly.  If I allow them to be on freely, I have noticed a personality change.  They are more tired and more grumpy and mean.

It is clear to me that we need to limit the amount of time spent online each day.

I do think it’s important that kids be able to do the things they enjoy.  However, doing other activities such as reading and creative play is just as important – if not more important than being online.   And to be honest, we are online so much during school time, with research and learning videos – it’s time to be offline for a while.  Largely, this is why we went on the search for the perfect online security software solution.

When trying to find the best option for your family, It’s important to evaluate your needs.  Each solution has its own strength and weakness.  The software we choose had to have the following components

 

  • Time monitoring.  I didn’t want to have to keep track of the time.  I didn’t want to constantly say, “get off, get off, get off.” 
  • Ease of use.  With my busy schedule, the software of choice has to be easy.  I wanted to be able to set it up, and it works effortlessly – without babysitting from me.
  • We have an iPad that te kids use.  It would be nice to have a piece of software that would work for the PC and tablets.
  • Contain a pornography blocker

 

 Security Software Evaluation

Net Nanny

Net nanny score card

 

Net Nanny was an interesting one.  We entered the 14-day free trial with stars in our eyes and hopeful. What I got was utter disappointment.  In fact, I cancelled 5-days into the trial.  I didn’t even want to take the chance that I would forget to cancel, and be stuck with a one-year subscription.

Net Nanny claims that there is a time monitoring element.  I set it up, and it never worked.  Not once.  After many attempts to contact Net Nanny for help, I cancelled the subscription.  It was of absolutely no use to us.

With that said, the porn blocker worked well.  It also acknowledged the white list sites that I set (which is more than I can say for other resources that we used), and it was pretty easy to use.

They now have added a mobile piece, but I can’t accurately testify to its usefulness.

 

Mobicip

Mobicip review
 
My husband must have dug through the deep murky waters of the internet to find this resource.  Mobicip has an extremely strong website blocker – so strong that it blocks its own Mobicip.com website.  The only site that gets through the filter is google, even if you add to the white list.  You don’t have to worry, your children will never be able to use the internet or play another online game with Mobicip.  They have it locked down completely.

Mobicip also works with tablets (iPad and Android).  You can download the Mobicip browser and delete the Safari browser.  It ensures safe browsing for the kids (but has similar problems as on the PC).  All of the kid’s apps work as far as I have tested.

The time monitoring feature is terrible.  When you set it up or change it, make sure the computer is shut down so that the changes take effect (maybe/maybe not – it depends on Mobicip’s mood).   My kids are allowed 1 hour of online time a day.  So, when I went to set it up, it doesn’t allow me to give them 1 hour at any time a day.  It makes me set the exact hours (1-2, 2-3, etc).  So, if we are in school, or we have an activity that results in us missing our time window, I have to go back into the Mobicip control panel to reset the time.  This requires a computer restart to reset the entire system.  If I don’t restart the computer, it doesn’t allow us to access the internet.

This solution requires a lot of babysitting, and me being a homeschooling mother – where changes take place daily.  Who has time for all that work? If I wanted to do that, I would save my $40 and monitor the time myself. Totally useless. It’s just about as useless as the Mobicip tech support.

 

Norton Family

 

Norton family review

 

All I can say about Norton Family is it’s the best of all 3.  While it’s not perfect, all of the features work pretty well.  It has a great website blocker, that allows you to set the sites that don’t go through the filter.  It doesn’t lock down the entire internet if you don’t want it.  The time feature is the best.  Not only can you set the “On” hours each week, but you can also set how many hours a day the internet can be used.

You do this by setting up users on the computer.  Each child should have a log-in.  Once the child logs in and accesses the internet, Norton Family tracks the time.  Once the time limit has been reached, a pop-up appears that says your time limit was reached and gives the option to extend (that really works).  The parent then inputs their login and can easily extend the time for the day if necessary.

It’s easy.

It’s not 100%, but it’s pretty good.  It worked about 90% of the time, which is much better than the other two options.

At $40 a year, it’s comparable to both Net Nanny and Mobicip.

 

Which did we choose?

 

Mobicip review

 

Surprised?

Me too?

Why?  My husband liked the lockdown feature.

I don’t even use it for the time.  In fact, I log in all of the computers to the admin to override the time feature.  I don’t have the time or inclination to deal with it.  So, yet again, I have to keep track of the time.

Next year, it will be all about Norton Family – unless something better comes out in the meantime.

 
 
Do you use internet security software?  What do you use?
 

Lisa
<muscle-up-meals
About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile

Comments

  1. As my daughter gets a bit older and is all about YouTube videos internet safety software is definitely on my mind. For now, she’s only allowed access with us right beside her but there will be a time soon when we can’t be with her all of the time so safety is important. Thanks for the thoughts on the ones you tried. I’ll have to keep it in mind. #MMBH
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