PROS / ComputerTime is an easy to use parental control product.
CONS / The ability to set time limits on internet use is an optional add on.
VERDICT / ComputerTime will let you enforce the computer-use policies that you want your children to follow.
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. It wins the TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award.
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.
Ease of Use
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.
Ease of Installation/Setup
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.
Time Control Effectiveness
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.