Need parental control software


#1

Hi,

Without going into detail... I need to install parental control software on my computer. I already have safe-browsing software that seems to work well. What I need is keystroke-recording type software. I found one product on Amazon but it is $89.95 and would not want to spend that w/out a recommendation. Any advice?

Thanks.


#2

Spector Pro. Impossible to hack, totally stealth, very robust, takes screen shots and monitors ALL chat, not just key logging. You can get every password your kids set up. Very very strong program.

It's got a yearly cost but their support is outstanding. Worth every penny. Could not recommend it more highly.


#3

Here's a free solution which takes a lot of my concerns away.

If you set up your computer (or even better, your router) to use OpenDNS, then your internet traffic will be filtered and it is impossible to get to inappropriate sites.

It's very easy to set up. It's free. It works for me, and at the Catholic School where I volunteer.

opendns.com/

It doesn't do keylogging, but it does do a good job of keeping youngsters out of sites where they might hurt themselves.


#4

[quote="ricmat, post:3, topic:232496"]
Here's a free solution which takes a lot of my concerns away.

If you set up your computer (or even better, your router) to use OpenDNS, then your internet traffic will be filtered and it is impossible to get to inappropriate sites.

It's very easy to set up. It's free. It works for me, and at the Catholic School where I volunteer.

opendns.com/

It doesn't do keylogging, but it does do a good job of keeping youngsters out of sites where they might hurt themselves.

[/quote]

But she doesn't need filtering, she specifically asked about monitoring software, which is why Spector Pro is such a great choice. And I am VERY cheap about paying for software when I can get something similar for free, but there really is nothing as good as Spector Pro. You can even get the screen shots sent to your email so you can monitor what's going on remotely, say if you are at work and your kid is at home unsupervised.


#5

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:2, topic:232496"]
Spector Pro.....

[/quote]

I second that endorsement. Nothing gets past Spector Pro. I used it with my kids. I warned them that I have monitoring software on MY computer so that they don't use is inappropriately. I said their usage of MY computer is considered "consent to monitoring." I'm sure they didn't like Spector Pro, but I sure did.


#6

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:4, topic:232496"]
But she doesn't need filtering, she specifically asked about monitoring software, which is why Spector Pro is such a great choice. And I am VERY cheap about paying for software when I can get something similar for free, but there really is nothing as good as Spector Pro. You can even get the screen shots sent to your email so you can monitor what's going on remotely, say if you are at work and your kid is at home unsupervised.

[/quote]

I'm sure Spector Pro is terrific. I didn't post in order to have an argument with you.

Sometimes people ask for the only type of solution they think is available, and I was merely offering a related option that might also be useful.

I said what OpenDNS could do, and not do. I installed on our Catholic School computers as a general fall back, and it has worked very well. It may be of interest to others reading this thread, even if the OP doesn't have a use for it.


#7

Thanks, everyone! I (impatiently) checked back here a few times after posting and felt that I needed to find something urgently so I couldn't wait for replies. PC Magazine reviewed a couple of products and as it happens, I went with Spector Pro. I agree with Dave and Juliane's reviews of this product, that it was worth every penny. It is great the way it works in the background and the kids have no knowledge of it whatsoever. I was concerned that it would slow down our aging computer but it hasn't.

'Dave, I like the "consent to monitor" concept - that is what I try to tell my kids, but they need these messages in as few words as possible (quick! before they tune me out!) and that phrase gets the job done!

ricmat, thanks for the heads up on using the OpenDNS. We are using K9 for now but it does give us problems sometimes so if it acts up again, I will definitely see about using OpenDNS instead.

And in case any parents are checking in on this thread, let me warn you. If you have children using your computer, you MUST using filtering software - no excuses, no taking chances - and if you have a child who pushes the limits and thinks he can stay out of trouble by deceiving you, get monitoring software! Or lock up the computer. I know we all "know' this, but we can never take even the slightest chance with the potentially wonderful but extremely dangerous Internet! I am speaking from sad experience from something that happened when I temporarily removed K9. :(


#8

I am sorry that something happened, momof8. Been there, done that, learned the lesson too late.

K9 has been giving me trouble lately too. I installed an update and for some reason, it installed to where it doesn't always start with the services that are supposed to load on start-up. Their support is not good, but what do I expect, it's a free program. If I want to pay for better support, I can. I just love the fact that the password and settings are on THEIR server and not stored in my computer! And when it works, which is most of the time, it's a phenomenal program.

For the first year, I had zero problems with it, only in the last several months have I had any problems at all.

But back to Spector Pro, best monitoring software on the market and support is 24/7. And it's not support from people you cannot understand, either.:D


#9

[quote="ricmat, post:3, topic:232496"]
Here's a free solution which takes a lot of my concerns away.

If you set up your computer (or even better, your router) to use OpenDNS, then your internet traffic will be filtered and it is impossible to get to inappropriate sites.

It's very easy to set up. It's free. It works for me, and at the Catholic School where I volunteer.

opendns.com/

It doesn't do keylogging, but it does do a good job of keeping youngsters out of sites where they might hurt themselves.

[/quote]

Ricmat - I just re-read your message and wanted to clarify. Is there a way to filter at the router, so that all wireless devices in your home would be filtered? If there is, I definitely want to do that! Is it easy enough to do? Thanks!


#10

I'd also recommend a boot password. This renders the computer useless unless you have the password and are booting to the main OS. Any kid with enough motivation can get a bootable (linux, etc) CD and then surf the internet free and clear. Since the keylogger is on the OS and not on the boot record, the keystrokes wouldn't be recorded, either.


#11

I personally go with CovenantEyes. I don't use the filtering support in it because I'm a 23-year-old male and I don't want filters blocking legitimate things I have to look up. I however used the accountability service in it which monitors all my activity and sends an email report of it to an accountability partner I choose. It selects key phrases that I have typed throughout the week and rates everything that I've done and sends it to him.

He will get back to me questioning any suspicious things, and it shows him the links I've been to.

You can get either the accountability service and/or the filtering service. There is a fee, but IMO it's very minimal! It's also hackproof, and being someone that manipulates registry files, system files and everything else to get around things, I cannot get around this program. You need an uninstall key to uninstall it, and as a parent only you would have access to it. You can have it signed on permanently even when the computer starts, and they can't kill the process in task manager. It's excellent.

covenanteyes.com/

Good luck.


#12

[quote="momof8, post:9, topic:232496"]
Ricmat - I just re-read your message and wanted to clarify. Is there a way to filter at the router, so that all wireless devices in your home would be filtered? If there is, I definitely want to do that! Is it easy enough to do? Thanks!

[/quote]

Some routers support this option, mine doesn't, but some have content filtering at different levels built into it.

If you don't want them accessing certain websites period, you can edit your hosts file (very easy to do).

I never knew of OpenDNS until it was mentioned here, but this may help you with what you're looking for, apparently it's free and works at the router level.

opendns.com/familyshield


#13

[quote="SeaShoreGirl, post:10, topic:232496"]
I'd also recommend a boot password. This renders the computer useless unless you have the password and are booting to the main OS. Any kid with enough motivation can get a bootable (linux, etc) CD and then surf the internet free and clear. Since the keylogger is on the OS and not on the boot record, the keystrokes wouldn't be recorded, either.

[/quote]

Oh boy.... I hope it doesn't get to this point, but I will keep this in mind. I think if this particular child wants to get around me that badly, he will instead try to move in with his father, who has a cross between the "if everyone is doing it, it must be ok" and the "oh well, what can you do?" mindsets. This is my 6th oldest and I have never had one try so hard to get away with so much. I saw a greeting card in the store that reminded me of him - it had a little boy standing in the corner and the little bubble above his head says, "It was worth it!" That's this kid.


#14

[quote="Suspicious_Mind, post:12, topic:232496"]
Some routers support this option, mine doesn't, but some have content filtering at different levels built into it.

If you don't want them accessing certain websites period, you can edit your hosts file (very easy to do).

I never knew of OpenDNS until it was mentioned here, but this may help you with what you're looking for, apparently it's free and works at the router level.

opendns.com/familyshield

[/quote]

Suspicious Mind - thank you!!! I am going to find out about this right away, and I know of other parents who would be interested.

I also wanted to say how much I admired your previous post. We are living in such a tough world - just wanting to do the right thing isn't enough. Asking someone to hold you accountable is humbling, but you are fortunate to have a friend who can help you out like that.


#15

[quote="SeaShoreGirl, post:10, topic:232496"]
I'd also recommend a boot password. This renders the computer useless unless you have the password and are booting to the main OS. Any kid with enough motivation can get a bootable (linux, etc) CD and then surf the internet free and clear. Since the keylogger is on the OS and not on the boot record, the keystrokes wouldn't be recorded, either.

[/quote]

That can easily be reset, boot passwords are pointless.


#16

[quote="SeaShoreGirl, post:10, topic:232496"]
I'd also recommend a boot password. This renders the computer useless unless you have the password and are booting to the main OS. Any kid with enough motivation can get a bootable (linux, etc) CD and then surf the internet free and clear. Since the keylogger is on the OS and not on the boot record, the keystrokes wouldn't be recorded, either.

[/quote]

Yep, I second this one. I have a boot password as well as a password on Windows. It's true that Spector Pro only works with Windows, not Linux, which is why I still use Windows primarily. My son thought if he installed a different browser, Opera, etc. that I could not track him. He had no idea that I was doing a lot more than checking his history.

He wants his own laptop or PC, and even if he pays for it I am going to install filtering software on it. But he will be in college in 2 years so there will be a lot I can't control at that point.


#17

[quote="momof8, post:13, topic:232496"]
Oh boy.... I hope it doesn't get to this point, but I will keep this in mind. I think if this particular child wants to get around me that badly, he will instead try to move in with his father, who has a cross between the "if everyone is doing it, it must be ok" and the "oh well, what can you do?" mindsets. This is my 6th oldest and I have never had one try so hard to get away with so much. I saw a greeting card in the store that reminded me of him - it had a little boy standing in the corner and the little bubble above his head says, "It was worth it!" That's this kid.

[/quote]

I've got that kid, and I've got that husband. He thinks I over-react to everything which leaves me hanging in the wind and looking like the Bad Cop most of the time. Our son knows that Dad is going to allow a heck of a lot more than I do. It's stupid, but hubby ends up siding with him without even knowing that's what he's doing.

I try to comfort myself, thinking of when this son has his own kids, I pray one of them will be a daughter and then he's going to be even more strict than I have been! Because he will know what boys are thinking/trying to do! LOL He'll know all the tricks and the kids won't be able to fool him at all!

:thumbsup:


#18

Parental control software is good to stop young children from accidentally accessing inappropriate material but it is too easy to work around for older teens and college students. You have to trust your children to do the right thing eventually.


#19

[quote="momof8, post:9, topic:232496"]
Ricmat - I just re-read your message and wanted to clarify. Is there a way to filter at the router, so that all wireless devices in your home would be filtered? If there is, I definitely want to do that! Is it easy enough to do? Thanks!

[/quote]

Yes, if you change the settings in the router, all traffic through the router - wired or wireless - is filtered.

Your router has an IP address, something like 192.168.1.1 (or maybe .2.1). If you type 192.168.1.1 in your browser address bar, it should bring up your router web page. There is probably a default user and password (you may have to google to find out what it is based on the model number, etc.) So you log in, go to the page with PRIMARY and SECONDARY DNS. Change the settings to the ones used by OpenDNS, SAVE, then logout of the router. Actually, you'd probably want to change the password to the router too and not leave it at the default.

That's it. You don't even need to sign up for an OpenDNS account. But if you do register, even for a free account, you can set it up for different levels of protection rather than accepting the default.


#20

[quote="ricmat, post:3, topic:232496"]
Here's a free solution which takes a lot of my concerns away.

If you set up your computer (or even better, your router) to use OpenDNS, then your internet traffic will be filtered and it is impossible to get to inappropriate sites.

It's very easy to set up. It's free. It works for me, and at the Catholic School where I volunteer.

opendns.com/

It doesn't do keylogging, but it does do a good job of keeping youngsters out of sites where they might hurt themselves.

[/quote]

I set it up and tried it. I like it to keep my children from accidentally typing in a bad site, but it is hardly "impossible" to get to inappropriate sites. I am not tech savvy at all and it took me about 5 min to work around using a proxy website. And it is a Domain Name Server so it is completely circumvented if you use the ip address instead of the url. It is helpful, but it is not a solution on its own.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.