Parental filtering and monitoring for web surfing, social networks, email, instant messaging and contacts
Pros & Cons:
My first choice for parental filter software is Norton Family (previously Norton Safety Minder and Norton Online Family) by Symantec. It includes Norton Account, which you will need, and free site-rating with Norton Safe Web.
Norton Family is a pleasure to use. For a start, it is the most comprehensive of the free programs available for Windows, Android and iOS mobile devices. It has filtering and monitoring for web surfing, social networks, email, instant messaging and contacts. It also handles multiple user accounts which is good for one PC with many users but does increase the work to setup. If you need all these features then you should also have a look at the paid version which adds videos, daily usage quotas, and makes reporting useful by reporting on all activity increasing the report period from 7 days to 90 days.
Some of the useful features that were not common to other programs:
– Email alerts if your child crosses any monitoring threshold. Plus children can request that a site be unblocked. You can whether you receive the requests immediately or once a day. – Your settings are stored in your free Norton Account at Symantec. That account is not removed when you uninstall. So you can reinstall and the settings don't have to be re-entered. – The paid version has daily time quotas in addition to the usual time limits. So you can, for example, specify 2 hours use between school and bed-time.
I only had one issue. Unblocking pages is too time consuming because you don’t get the option to unblock at the block page. Instead you have to change go to the web setup pages to specify a site to allow.
Norton Family installs browser add-ons which worked fine for me. It does have problems running with other security software such as Avast! - you will need to disable the Avast! Web Shield if it is enabled. See Norton's list of known problems Using Norton Family with other security products. While testing I had no problems with Avira Antivir Personal or Microsoft Security Essentials.
Norton Family was reviewed by Gizmos Freeware on