PROS / The application can be installed remotely.
CONS / There are additional fees for upgrades, screenshots and collected data storage.
VERDICT / WebWatcher is a powerful tool that assists parents in keeping their children safe online.
WebWatcher's designers really thought of everything. Our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner for parental control software addresses the concerns of parents everywhere with features that protect children from the varied dangers online. WebWatcher's tools will help block sites that you don't want your kids to see in the first place and allow you to keep a record of the sites they do access.
WebWatcher's recording capabilities go beyond many competitors – capturing the content of emails and instant messages, as well as actual keystrokes and screenshots. You can view what is captured on your child's screen from anywhere, at any time of day, with just a simple log in process. That is very convenient and helpful for busy parents.
The interface is easy to navigate and understand. You can flag words like "beer" or "weed," and if your child gets an email or performs an online search using those words, whether it's on their phone or computer, you will get an email about it immediately, which you can access from your computer and your phone.
Filtering & Blocking
Parents can block websites by address or actual page content. The application filters content on the fly, proactively scanning search terms and website content for appropriateness based on designated alert words or undesirable content categories. In addition to blocking by address or content, you can elect to allow access to designated websites only. You can prevent users from launching particular applications. Category-based blocking allows you to specify a group of applications such as web browsers, chat and instant messaging clients, and email software for blocking. Or, if you want to be specific, you can block applications by name.
Depending on your preferences, you can extend the reach of your recording quite far. WebWatcher can capture sent and received user emails through computer-based applications such as Outlook and Outlook Express in addition to web-based email exchanges sent through Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo. You can likewise extend your monitoring to instant messaging and chat conversations.
The Smart Camera tool shows everything that is viewed on the computer screen. Each WebWatcher software license entitles the purchaser to 1,000 complimentary screenshots.
WebWatcher's advanced keylogger records every keyboard stroke your child makes. The software is equipped with the ability to arrange the strokes into a readable format, including the removal of backspaces and deletes. This function is especially handy because it captures spaces, backspaces and alphanumeric keyboard strokes. The keylogger kicks into action whenever anyone uses the keyboard, whether they're instant messaging, writing in a forum or typing in a search engine.
Parents can view every website a child visits with the application's website recording feature. From the monitoring interface, you can view the website address, the number of times your child accessed the site and the time and length of the visit. If you're concerned about a child's activity on social networking sites such as Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and blogging websites, this is an extremely helpful tool.
Another feature we found quite useful is that the parental filter software also records all incidents of user-launched applications. Parents can view reports of the most frequently accessed computer application as well as the length of time the child used each program.
Installation & Management
When you buy WebWatcher, the publisher sends you an email with an embedded link and login password to access the web-based user interface. Links assist you in locating the software download area, recorded data and favorites. Installation is simple. You must agree to the terms of service, which say that the child monitoring software may only be installed on a computer you own.
This parental software comes equipped with numerous customization options. In Basic Mode, predefined settings apply to and monitor all computer users. For greater customization, however, the application's Advanced Mode allows you to assign different recording options to children of varying ages and computer abilities. To give more freedom to your children while also extending the reach of your security, you can specify keywords, blocked sites and allowed sites. Each license you purchase will cover installation on one computer. Upgrades are not included in the purchase price, but they can be purchased in addition to the software license.
WebWatcher is one of the parental filter software products we looked at that is compatible with Windows 8, and it works with older operating systems such as XP, Vista and Windows 7. You can also use WebWatcher on Macs. There is no official WebWatcher iPhone app, but there is one for Android. You will be able to look at text messages, call history, photos taken and GPS locations if you install it on your child's Android phone. At the time of this review, WebWatcher was developing a version of the same app for iOS, but it had not yet been released.
Help & Support
Free live chat tech support is available. Standard live chat tech support requests receive timely replies. For more immediate assistance, the website hosts a searchable knowledgebase and a FAQs area to address the most common issues. You can also contact WebWatcher by phone and email via an online contact form on the website.
WebWatcher is among the best parental control software in the industry in terms of computer usage monitoring. It offers numerous methods through which you can covertly monitor your computers to ensure that your kids only access safe websites and applications. The myriad reporting features put you in control of your children's computer use.