PROS / One Safe Eyes license covers three computers, any combination of Windows machines or Macintosh computers.
CONS / Safe Eyes is not yet available for Android.
VERDICT / McAfee Safe Eyes is a high quality product that makes it easy to tailor the right set of controls for each user profile.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
If you are going to filter internet access, you might as well include all of the devices that your family uses. McAfee Safe Eyes internet filter software is available for Windows PCs, Macintosh computers, and iPhones and iPads. The Safe Eyes developers pursue a design philosophy that assumes a partnership with you as you protect and educate your progeny. So rather than providing you with a stealth product to turn you into a super spy, Safe Eyes assumes that you want to use the product to teach safe internet practices. This internet filter software is for parents who believe that children should understand that mom and dad love them enough to restrict access to inappropriate content. Safe Eyes enables an important conversation with lessons that might be skirted if it were absent. Safe Eyes also serves as a surrogate sometimes to deflect some of the frustration that a youngster might otherwise direct at you. Instead of you telling your child that she has spent enough time online for the night, the system begins alerting your child with countdowns so she can preserve her dignity and plan to be offline without sudden inconvenience.
Reporting & Notification
The feature set for Safe Eyes is rich with filtering capabilities. If you want to perform basic web blocking, you can prohibit access to sites by category or keyword. You can block up to 35 categories that Safe Eyes has conveniently prefabricated. If you have banned a category for a user and then that user tries to access something from that category, Safe Eyes alerts you by text message, phone or email. You can go beyond the default categories and list any site that you want to permit or prohibit. This internet filter software can also prevent a child from entering profane or sexually suggestive words into a search engine.
If you want to block instant messaging for a certain child, you can do so without blocking the whole family. If blocking is too extreme and you just want to monitor conversations, the Windows version lets you record all instant messages and they appear in the online usage logs for you to review at your convenience.
In addition to controlling inappropriate internet content and monitoring instant message communications, you can control the total amount of time that a child spends online. By highlighting a graphical representation of days of the week and hours, you can block access down to half-hour increments. In addition to deciding when a child has access to the internet, you can also decide how many hours to authorize during the allowed periods. Even if your child attempts to trick the system into more time by changing the time settings on the computer, it won’t work because Safe Eyes is calculating time based on its own servers and blocking users based on time zone. Sometimes a child will have a legitimate reason to receive more allotted time from you and you can log in as administrator and extend the remaining time for that day. It will revert to the regular schedule on the following day.
Safe Eyes on Windows machines offers a lot of control over email. You can block email from any account that you have not approved. You can prevent your child from simply setting up a new account to sidestep your restrictions. Once you register an approved email account, this internet filter software blocks attempts to open multiple accounts. Note that the email blocking feature does not apply to web-based email services. So to get control over children’s email, consider blocking Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail.
The internet opens so many avenues for harm to come to your children. For Windows installations, this internet filter software gives you control over social networking. Safe Eyes lets you block social networking, or you can read any post from your child that reveals phone numbers, addresses or geographical locations. It will also alert you if your children post profanity or their school names so you have the chance to discuss online safety. The product lets you specify the personal information that you want to be alerted to whether it occurs on MySpace, Facebook or in Xanga chats. If your child attempts to sidestep detection by posting to social networks under multiple configurations, Safe Eyes will catch the attempt and record the post for you to read.
Internet-based applications such as those that swap music lend themselves to potentially illegal activities. You can block every type of program either by category or individual program. Examples include: FTP, newsgroups, media players and computer games.
The main concern that you might have as you conduct your product research is probably how easy it is to create and receive reports. This internet filter software logs all details of online activity based on your preferences and lets you decide whether to store it on your computer or on the Safe Eyes secure server. You can control how many days to save the archives. If you choose the vendor’s server, you can check your child’s online activity from work or while you are out of town. You can also configure instant alerts to reach you by email, text message or telephone, and you can decide what you want to be alerted to and how frequently. You also control the times of day or night to allow instant alerts.
Filtering & Blocking
The installation process is simple and easy to perform without any confusion. Whether you are using the product on a Windows PC, Macintosh or iPad, you configure them all from your online account. Fortunately for you, it is not simple to uninstall, so your child is not capable of getting rid of this internet filter software. It takes three things to uninstall the program. You send the publisher your user name and administrator password and request an uninstall code, which can only be used on the day that you receive it. Installation is trivial. Uninstallation is not trivial. And that's the way it should be.
Installation & Support
Safe Eyes effectively filters web, video and instant messages. It blocks songs on iTunes and it blocks online game play. You gain control over social networking and email accounts. If you don't want your children searching for certain terms in search engines, you tell the program what to restrict and it forbids those searches. When you tell Safe Eyes to limit internet time, each child receives the time allowance that you establish down to the unique individual user profile. Safe Eyes goes the extra mile to filter effectively by anticipating actions that a precocious child could take to render it ineffective. If a child tries to set up different email accounts or change social networking accounts, this software figures it out and prevents it. It works, as promised, with no unpleasant surprises.
McAfee’s acquisition of the company that created Safe Eyes is a significant market endorsement of the quality and market reach of this internet filter software. In other words it is an honor for this product to receive the McAfee brand. The developers do not want to turn you into someone who spies on your children. They want you to use this product to educate your children and provide a basis for ongoing conversations as you guide your children in ways appropriate to their ages. You can cast a mantle of protection that anticipates all possible sources of danger on most popular internet access platforms. You can be clear about how you want McAfee Safe Eyes to work. You can decide how and when you want to know about what it discovers. The product reflects deep understanding of the problem it solves and we recommend it as one of the best in its class.