Pros / Net Nanny masks profanity on websites.
Cons / A lot of important tools, such as instant message monitoring, must be purchased separately.
Verdict / Net Nanny is one of the best monitoring programs because it is easy to use and does a good job of protecting kids from inappropriate online content. However, you must pay extra for features most other programs include.
Net Nanny lets you block web content by category using its 18 filters, including those that intercept sites that have pornography, drugs, gambling, and death and gore on them. You can create additional categories if you feel your kids need more restrictions, such as for online games, social media networks or online email accounts.
Since you can create an individual user account for each member of your family, you can allow older children access to certain sites but block them for younger kids. In fact, when you choose your child’s age, Net Nanny automatically blocks sites that aren’t appropriate for their age group. This is convenient because you don’t have to take the time to select individual filter categories if you agree with the settings the software chooses.
If Net Nanny blocks a site based on the filters you set and your child needs to access it, you can choose to suspend the restrictions for a few minutes or indefinitely. For example, if your child needs to access a site for a school project, such as an article on World War II that’s blocked for violence, you can lift the restrictions for an hour or even a few minutes. Net Nanny will reinstate the filter for the site once the time is up.
One of the program’s best tools is its profanity masking. This feature changes offense words that appear on websites to nonsense symbols or smudges them out so they can’t be seen. This is particularly helpful for sites like YouTube, where even though the video content may be age appropriate, the comments may contain inappropriate language. No other computer monitoring software we reviewed has this feature.
Net Nanny computer monitoring software lets you control when your kids can be online so they’re not tempted to surf the web during homework and chore time. You can also set limits on how long they can be online at a time, and Net Nanny blocks their internet access once their time is up.
While Net Nanny has some great features, there are several missing, including tools that monitor social media, cyberbullying and chat messages. You can access these features if you purchase another one of the company’s programs that works in conjunction with the monitoring software. If you don’t want to invest extra money for these tools, consider Surfie, which is comparable in price and includes these features.
As the parent, you can view a variety of monitoring logs. Net Nanny takes screenshots when your kids are online so you can see exactly what they view when they surf the web. It also lets you know which websites they visit, or attempt to visit, as well as how long they stay on those sites. In addition, it lists terms your kids type into search engines. Net Nanny doesn’t send text alerts nor can you see transcripts of chat messages – you must pay extra for these tools.
- Licenses Included
Net Nanny does a good job of blocking inappropriate content, including profanity and websites, based on the filters you select or your child’s age. In addition, you can set time limits and suspend webpage blocks if your child legitimately needs to access a particular site. Some tools, such as chat monitoring, text alerts and social media filtering, are available for an additional cost, though most monitoring software we reviewed include them in their main programs.