Free Parental Controls

Everyone wants to make sure that their kids are safe online. Whilst surfing the Internet children can be exposed to all manner of unscrupulous activities and that is why parental software has been developed to protect them. Below is a list of a few free parental control programs what should help you protect your kids online.

K9 Web Protection

k9 Web Protection ScreenshotK9 Web Protection is a filtering technology that enables parents to provide a family safe environment for their children to browse the Internet. By splitting websites into 60 different categories the software allows users to block or allow categories depending on your preferences. These categories include social networking, instant messaging, mature content. etc.

By utilising a database of millions of websites and using Dynamic Real-Time Ratings K9 Web Protection blocks unsuitable content in real-time and ensures up-to-date filtering according to you specific needs.

The software is automatically updated as new categories and features are added and can even help to prevent spyware/malware sites from infecting your PC. Website blacklists/whitelists can also be set up as well as blocking websites containing certain words.

The default protection K9 provides is enough to prevent nasty/adult content from seeping through, however it's worth investing some time into tweaking the program to suit your individual needs. The software can only be set up for one user account. Therefore, if you have children of different ages you may not be able to configure it to suit each of their individual needs. However, if you only want to provide overall protection for you kids browsing habits then k9 should be more than enough for your needs.

Crawler Parental Control

crawler parental control screenshotCrawler Parental Control software can be set up to suit individual user accounts as well as setting up specific time limits on Internet usage. Sophisticated email notifications can be used to monitor user behaviour even when not at home. Set-up is straight-forward and websites can be blocked by individual URL or by configuring the internal database using high, low or medium settings.

Restrictions can be place upon preventing online credit card transactions as well as software installation and unauthorized access to certain files, system and security settings. Crawler Parental Control is a feature packed, easy to use, free parental control software which supports all well-known browsers.

Windows Vista Parental Controls

windows vista parental controls screenshotThe Windows Vista Parental Controls are available under User Accounts and Family Safety in the Control Panel. These settings allow parents to control the use of the computer to specific times, decide which websites are available as well as which games kids can play.

The beauty of Windows Vista Parental Controls is that separate controls can be applied to specific user accounts allowing parents to decide which level of availability they offer each family member. This means that you can even decide not to block anything on certain accounts. Although, specifying time restrictions can only be applied to the computer as a whole and not specifically Internet Access. Parental controls cannot be set for administrator accounts, so make sure your kids account is set to standard before you attempt to apply any parental controls to it.

Activity reports are also available within the control panel, which detail how specific user accounts have used the computer. These reports are essential for parents to refine their control over the computer and Internet usage and provide important feedback for the process.

time limits screenshotTime limits are represented as a grid showing which times are available. By simply clicking and dragging over the boxes within the grid you can alter the times of availability of the computer. When children use the computer they are given a 15 minute warning followed by a 1 minute warning when their session is about to end. If their time runs out before they log off Windows suspends their session, and allows another user to use the computer. When their session starts again Windows allows them to pick up exactly where the last session ended.

Windows Vista Parental Controls are far more powerful than Content Advisor available in Internet Explorer. The availability to control individual user accounts as well as for third party software to be accessible from Vista Parental Controls is a welcome addition to Windows.