PROS / This program blocks chat and messenger programs, including those that are part of social media and online game networks.
CONS / The program is a little tricky to install.
VERDICT / While it is a little difficult to setup, once running Witigo is a powerful internet filter system.
Witigo Parental Filter has both a local and cloud-based internet filter solution. This means you can choose to download the program onto your desktop and monitor that single PC, or you can use the online version to monitor several devices, including cell phones and tablets. Witigo is compatible with both PC and Mac computers.
Witigo is a little more challenging to setup than other internet filter software we reviewed, but once it’s running, it is a powerful tool to help keep your family safe from internet threats. After installing the program on your PC, you are then required to download the mobile app and set it up before the computer side will being recording and filtering internet activity. In our experience, it took some effort to find the instructions listed in the FAQs and get all pieces in place, but once everything was set, this program was easy to navigate through.
In our tests, any of the controls we set from the online parent portal were automatically set on the cell phone we had added the mobile app to. This means when we blocked Twitter from being accessed on the PC, it was also blocked from being accessed on the cell phone. We were able to access the password-protected parent portal from both devices and adjust settings, view alerts and create additional user accounts. One benefit of using the mobile app is the ability to block phone numbers so your child doesn’t send or receive calls or text messages from those numbers.
This program has 27 website filter categories that, when active, will prevent children from accessing sites tagged in those categories. Categories include pornography, news sites, online games and social media. In our testing, this program was successful at keeping us from accessing websites with content that was blocked by these filters. This included social media sites, such as Twitter and YouTube. Witigo has a whitelist where you can add a specific URL, even if it may be blocked by a category filter, and allow your child to access it while keeping similar sites blocked. It also has a blacklist so you can add websites to block even if they seem appropriate based on their website ratings.
We tested Witigo’s chat blocking filter. We were unable to access any chat or instant messaging program, both standalone programs such as Skype and the messaging programs within Facebook, online games and other such websites. This is an important tool for parents who are worried about children being harassed by cyberbullies, or who are concerned kids may inadvertently share personal information through innocent chat conversations with strangers.
One feature we found was helpful was Witigo’s redirecting capabilities. For some filter categories, rather than posting a notice of the site being blocked, Witigo will redirect your child to a fun, child-friendly site with fun facts, age appropriate games and other interactive activities. This helps give your child an immediate and positive redirection so they can continue to enjoy their time online rather than get frustrated at having so many sites inaccessible.
If you have any difficulties using this internet filter, Witigo has telephone support so you can connect with a live associate and get help quickly. Other than a FAQs section, there isn’t any other online support available.
While it takes a little effort to install and setup this program, Witigo is a good program for blocking pornography and other undesirable content. It successfully blocks chat programs, including messaging features within social media and online game sites, and 26 other specific filter categories. It also allows you to blacklist specific sites even if they may be deemed safe by the internet ratings.