What Does Parental Time Control Software Do?
Computers and the internet, despite the dangers, are useful tools that can provide a high level of entertainment and education. Sometimes it may be impractical for a parent to sit and watch a child for hours while they do their homework, or parents may still be at work when their kids get home from school. Some kids are just a bit mischievous and sneak onto the computer late at night to play games or chat with their friends. So what is the solution? Parental time control software will keep kids safe, on task and out of trouble.
Parental time control software performs two functions. It controls the amount of time on computers, the internet or games. And it controls what users are allowed to do. Parents, libraries, internet cafés, schools and offices can all benefit from parental control software.
Most programs how long a user can use the computer and when. For example, you could allow two hours per day of computer use but block out the hours that you are at work and 11pm to 6am, so that your child does not use the computer during unreasonable or unsupervised hours.
Many let you to set daily, weekly or monthly limits and allow a study mode for homework use. Time limits can be set for specific programs as well, so game use can be limited while time in Microsoft Word could be unlimited.
Parents can choose which programs are OK for each user. This function restricts specific web pages, prohibits downloads and blocks programs such as games. It also denies access to the control panel. If your teen is doing homework you could allow the school website, .gov, .edu or .org research web pages but block chat, games, Facebook, unapproved webpages and email. Your kid can stay on task while using the positive applications of the computer.
In this site, you’ll find articles related to parental time control software, as well as comprehensive reviews and a side–by–side comparison to help you make an informed decision on which software is right for your family.
What to Look for in Parental Time Control Software
Look for a program that gives the level of control you want, some software controls only total time, while others offer different combinations of time control, such as by the hour, day, week or month. Secondly, look for a program that gives you the kind of application control you need, such as Microsoft Windows, control panel, programs and Internet restrictions.
We looked at programs, compared their features, tested their effectiveness and compiled the data for side-by-side comparison. We also looked at customer support and whether the software is easy to use.
Below are the criteria Top Ten Reviews uses to evaluate Parent Time Control Software:
We look at the variety of features available as well as their helpfulness. The top products not only monitor access and time, but also support restrictions on additional items such as programs, games, chat and downloads and provide reporting.
Ease of Use
This evaluates how easy a program is to use.
Ease of Installation/Setup
The best programs are quick to download and don’t have problems during the download or setup process.
Product support is important, we looked at whether the product comes with a user guide as well as customer support contact methods such as email forms, telephone numbers or online documentation such as FAQs, forums and tutorials.
Time Control Effectiveness
Parental time control software should control access and time limits to the computer, internet or other applications exactly how the administrator (parents) set them.
For the best time control product, see KidsWatch Time Control.
Stop the chatting, late night gaming and free–for–all surfing with KidsWatch Time Management. This parental time control software can help you keep your kids on task and out of danger.
KidsWatch easily monitors computer use times and access, so kids can be limited to approved web sites and homework suitable applications instead of spending time playing addictive games or chatting in anonymous chat rooms.
KidsWatch gives parents the tools to control internet use. It reports on your children's computer usage by email on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. It controls the amount of time a user spends on the computer. And it provides specific restrictions and controls per user. It is aware of seven categories of users.
An Administrator has full access to the program to configure accounts, set limits and restrictions and run reports. An Administrator has no restrictions to the PC or the internet. An Adult also has no restrictions and does not have to access the KidsWatch software.
Light restrictions apply to a Teen (14 to 18 years old). A Teen cannot access mature content on the internet and the product monitors chat content. A Teen is approved for up to 25 hours of internet access per week at the rate of six hours a day from 7am to 10pm on weekdays (11pm on Friday and Saturday).
Adolescents, age 11 to 13, have medium restrictions. An Adolescent is blocked from mature internet content and KidsWatch monitors chat content. Internet access is capped at 14 hours per week at a rate of four hours per day between 7am and 9pm, weekdays (10pm on Friday and Saturday).
Youngsters between the ages of eight and 10 years have moderate restrictions. A Youngster can use the computer three hours per day from 7am to 8pm with a 10-hour cap on internet use each week. A Youngster has no access web-based messaging systems, Facebook or MySpace. A Youngster cannot search for mature content or visit any site with mature content. And a Youngster cannot visit any site that cannot be categorized.
A Child, aged seven years or less cannot access most internet sites and Kidswatch restricts a Child to a total of six hours of internet use, weekly. A Child can use the computer for two hours per day, from 7am until 6pm.
KidsWatch has the ability to regulate multiple user’s time, internet usage and program access with report ability.
Parents can set time limits by the day, week or by time length and time of day. Program and Internet time can be limited as well. All of these time limits can be combined into different scenarios. For example, a kid’s access could be restricted to Monday–Friday 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, with 15 minutes allowed for their favorite game, 15 minutes to chat and 90 minutes for homework. It also has a time–out feature, which allows parents to ground kids from their favorite game or internet site for a specific duration. Temporary passwords can also be created for extra program time, like when a kid is in the middle of writing a paper and needs a little more time.
Through the Website Filtering window, parents can limit time spent online, as well as which sites are allowed. You can also restrict key word searches, to prevent searches on particular words. You can even disable internet browsing from Windows Explorer, restricting internet use entirely.
KidsWatch has the ability to lock your system down and prevent users from installing or running restricted programs. You can prevent your child or employee from using the Control Panel or changing/replacing existing programs. This means that other users cannot change important system properties like display, user accounts, network connections or date/time without approved access.
Reports can be scheduled by the day, week or month, and you can get a different report or report type for every user.
The product is user–friendly. The only initial hurdle is to train your firewall to play nicely with KidsWatch. KidsWatch can identify many popular firewalls and then it provides a PDF with detailed instructions about how to configure your specific firewall to cooperate with KidsWatch.
We had no problems downloading and installing the program – simply follow the instructions.
After installation, you can access the KidsWatch through the Start button or from the Time Control icon. When installing KidsWatch the program automatically identifies all existing Windows accounts on your computer and allows you to set up restrictions and passwords for each account.
KidsWatch Time Control offers several ways to contact support, including chat, telephone and email. There is also a user guide, online help and FAQs.
We had some questions for the manufacturer and sent them an email. We received a response in less than 24 hours with our questions adequately answered.
To test the time control effectiveness, we set up several test accounts then rebooted our computer. We attempted to use the computer during restricted times and were blocked successfully. We then logged in as the administrator and changed some of the settings, and found that these adjusted restrictions were also upheld accurately.
"But wait a minute," you say "my kid is too smart to be blocked by parental control software." KidsWatch is well aware of technically savvy kids. To prevent little geniuses from tampering with your settings, the product lets you block access to the Control Panel tools such as Add and Remove Programs or the Taskbar and Start Menu options. You can also place the Command Prompt off limits. And you can block access to the Run command. You can even block a child from loading a disk that might have software that changes settings on the computer.
Since computer use is practically a school requirement these days, efficient time and access control like KidsWatch is mandatory to keep kids on task and out of trouble. KidsWatch Time Management is competent, easy to use and an effective parental stress reducer. You can provide access to the PC and to the internet that is appropriate to the age of your child. And you can receive reports on which sites children visit and what they say in chat rooms. We find KidsWatch Time Management to be best in class.
The internet is a quantum leap in human progress. And yet, much of it is a raw open sewer with images and messages of hate and degradation. Careless traveling along the highways and byways of the worldwide web is dangerous, even for adults. The dangers for children are even worse. Technology is available to complement your child-rearing approach. iNet Protector is parental time control software from Blumentals Software that is easy to use and affordable and is a good choice for computer novices who only need simple time and application control. Blumentals Software is a privately held software company with headquarters in the city of Riga, Latvia, on the east coast of the Baltic Sea.
The feature set lets you restrict internet access on demand or at certain times. The software lets you block or allow websites and control the programs and features that depend on the internet. You can protect the internet with a password or set it to disable internet connection after a period of time that you choose. The product lets you "Restrict Internet Access" or "Enable Full Access." You can disable instant messaging programs.
If you want your AVG updates to continue without interruption while you are blocking the internet, Blumentals Software support site lists exactly the programs and IP addresses to allow. The online knowledge base anticipates the situations that might happen when you block internet access and it explains what to do. For example, you might want to allow your PC to access its timeserver so that it updates and synchronizes the system clock. The knowledge base also shows how to configure the program so that it allows Microsoft software updates even during the times that you are blocking access to the internet.
iNet Protector features give the power back to parents who want to restrict internet access when they cannot be present to supervise children. It controls computer use by implementing your policies. It does not spy on anyone. To set daily internet usage limits, the program offers a "Set Daily Quotas" option. If you check the box called "Enable Internet Usage Quotas," you can type the number of hours that your child can spend web surfing.
The software is also useful for employers who want to keep employees from online entertainment at work. Use it in an office environment if you want to allow work-related websites only.
iNet Protector has an easy to use interface and computer novices should find iNet Protector one of the easier programs to navigate. Since there are few features to manage, such as Microsoft Windows restrictions, the program is simple and uncomplicated.
If you are using McAfee or Norton antivirus software, they might sometimes think that iNet Protector contains a virus. It doesn't. Make sure you have the latest versions of your antivirus program installed and disable any unwanted program block features.
We had no problems installing and setting up the program.
Even though iNet Protector does not provide telephone support, it earns our best rating in this area because of responsiveness. Blumentals Software gives an unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee and free updates. The program runs on all 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows.
The product is a productivity tool that restricts internet access with exceptions for programs and resources that you deem good. You can't really use it to block social sites unless you use the exceptions mode rather than the blocking mode, but then you would have to add all the sites that you allow your children to use. The program cannot protect http and https sites simultaneously, a fact that intelligent children might soon discover and exploit.
iNet Protector is an easy to use and low priced option for parental time control software. We like that it blocks certain internet features, such as web browsing, while allowing useful tools such as email. Of course, the best software is no replacement for responsible parenting. Establish rules. Keep children's monitors in locations that you can monitor. And use parental time control software. But realize that teaching your children about the hazards is by far the most effective protection because if they so desire, children of any age can get access to any content when they are away from your home. Parental control software helps to make sure that at least it doesn't happen under your roof.
iNet Protector lets you block or allow websites and control which features and programs can connect with the internet. You can disable access to the internet after the amount of time that you permit. And you can control how long a specific child can surf the web or chat or play games, according to what is appropriate for the age and relative maturity of the child. This is one of the very best parental time control software products.
Software is certainly no substitute for the loving guidance of parents explaining the dangers of the internet to their children. Even though you might use technology to enforce your guidelines at home, unless you convince children that the dangers are real and not arbitrary, they can always circumvent your software blockades by going next door.
ComputerTime is parental time control software from SoftwareTime, LLC that provides you the ability to limit kids computer time and access. This program is one of the easiest to use that we have found and SoftwareTime provides responsive and helpful customer support. The stated intention for this product is that it should reduce the concern and aggravation for parents regarding computer use by children. The idea is that with the computer communicating with a child about how much time they can use and how much time they have left, the parent is no longer the bad guy.
In addition to reducing stress and arguments between parents and children regarding internet use, ComputerTime prevents children from surfing the web when you are not home. It solves Instant Messaging addictions. It also allows siblings to share the computer fairly. Furthermore, it eliminates bedtime arguments, encourages more reading and exercise and prevents social isolation.
ComputerTime consists of an administration tool, which allows the parent or administrator to create profiles for each child and enter their time limits. The monitoring program automatically keeps track of user times and limits. This program allows you to restrict use of the PC or access to the internet entirely or with time limits by time of day, day, week and month. You can control the amount of time per session. And you can specify how long your child needs to wait before being able to log back in.
It also supports Time Tokens, which are special codes that grant extra time. You decide how many Time Tokens to create and how much time each token allows. You can create tokens for computer time or internet time. If you want to see how many tokens you have created, you can view them according to whether you have assigned them or not. Or if the child proves to be undeserving of a token bonus, you can take them back. The tokens display in your browser so you can print them, copy them to a clipboard or email them. If you want to give extra time to a child immediately, you can use an Instant Time Token that applies the time without requiring a code.
You also have the flexibility to change limits with an Alternate Limit feature. Each person in the home can have a distinct profile appropriate for age and maturity. Updates are automatic. If you need a usage report for a particular child, you can specify beginning and end dates or opt for daily, weekly or monthly periods.
Because ComputerTime is strictly a time control program without advanced features, it is simple to use and set up. It takes just a couple of minutes to set up user accounts and time restrictions.
We had no problems installing or downloading the trial version. The ComputerTime Profile Wizard leads you through a simple setup. If you have a network at home and want to protect each computer, the publisher has a Family Pack. If you are installing onto a network, you select one of the computers to hold the limit settings, which makes it the ComputerTime server. It is best to install the server first and then you can decide how to apply limits across the network. You can limit children's time across any computer on the network. Or you can set different limits for a child on different computers.
Besides offering technical support via telephone and a FAQs page, you can send an inquiry by email. We received a response to our email in less than an hour. The help that comes with ComputerTime is excellent and indexed to be useful.
The time limits and restrictions we set up in our test account worked perfectly.
One of the determinants of rebellious and defiant behavior in children is whether their parents provide clear boundaries. A child who acts out is begging to know where the boundaries lie. When you install and configure ComputerTime to encourage appropriate child access to computers and the internet, it is an act of love. Augment the technical control with loving instruction intended to control the child's behavior when he is in another household that does not use parental time control software. ComputerTime lets you be flexible if you need to bump up a child's computer time so that he can complete an assignment. And in case the child sees the software as punitive, you can use the product to give a deserving child Time Tokens to reinforce desired behavior.
ComputerTime is an easy to use parental time control program. If you are a computer novice who does not want a complicated program, this may be a good choice for you. It will never baffle you with complexity or make you lose your way in a thicket of cryptic menus.
iProtectYou is a time control and filtering program. This program is offered by SoftForYou, who also presents two similar products, Chronager and CyberSieve.
Unlike the lower ranked parental time control software products in this review, iProtectYou goes beyond simple time control to include internet content filtering. Filtering and time control is not only applicable to family computers but also to public access and networked computers.
iProtectYou allows you to set internet access time and restrict by time or day. Outside of time control, it has the ability to filter content, limit downloads and ban websites, words, news groups, programs and ports. It can also block email, chat (or IM) and P2P (file sharing).
To monitor remotely a computer or users activities, iProtectYou can send an email message relating the questionable site visited and attaches a screen shot of the site. The program can also formulate a daily report of sites visited.
This program can control networked computers and all settings can be managed through the administrator’s computer.
Parts of the program were easy to use – other parts left you wondering what to do. For example, we could not find an individual profile setup section, so we couldn’t figure out how to set up individual accounts. We learned that individual accounts have to be set up in the Windows user accounts section accessed through the computer control panel.
We had no problems installing the program and the initial setup was easy, we just experienced some confusion over how to set up individual user accounts.
iProtectYou offers an online form for contacting tech support as well as a user manual and FAQs.
The Time Control section of the program seemed to work adequately, initially the web filtering section seemed to work fine also, but after we tried to unblocked some sites we were still blocked. Additionally, we were blocked from the page we had to load to remove iProtectYou from our system.
Therefore, if you are looking primarily for time control software this product does a good job, but we had problems with the filtering features. For better filters, you may want to look at our Internet Filtering Reviews.
iProtectYou seemed to work well for time control and limitations, for web filtering we recommend you visit our Internet Filtering Reviews.