WebWatcher monitors your child’s online activity whether they access the internet using a computer, laptop or mobile device. However, each of these programs is sold separately, which can get a little pricey if you need to monitor more than one device. WebWatcher doesn’t require you to root or jailbreak your child’s cell phone for all the features and tools to work, which is a big plus since jailbreaking can void your cell phone warranty. If you need to monitor a computer or laptop, we found WebWatcher isn’t easy to install.
The hardest part of installing this monitoring program on a computer is you need to disable some security features, including any antivirus software. This creates an open hole for viruses and other internet threats to quickly sneak in during the install and setup process. Once the program is installed and your security tools reenabled, WebWatcher works just fine without causing any other security issues. We were impressed with how much information the program collected and the very organized way it displayed it for us to study.
WebWatcher doesn’t have filter categories like most other internet monitoring software. These let you quickly decide to block specific websites and content that fall under a category like pornography, violence or drugs. Instead, this software has predetermined filters based on your child’s age. While you can’t change what content is included in each filter, you can add site URLs to the whitelist if you discover a favorite, or acceptable site is blocked because of the age filter. If you prefer a program that lets you block specific content using filter categories, Norton Family is a good option.
WebWatcher does have a word alert feature with preselected categories such as pornography, alcohol and violence. You can also add your own terms. When your child uses a search engine to look for any of these flagged terms, the program takes a picture of the screen after their search so you can see it later.
From the parent portal you can set time limits for when your child can be online and how long they can be there during their turn on the computer. You can also see exactly what your child does while they’re online. This includes everything they do on social media sites, keystrokes they enter, chat histories and the websites they visit. You can see how often they do each activity and the length of time spent doing each one.
The program comes with only one license, and it’s pretty pricey – over $100. You can use this license to monitor a single computer, laptop, cell phone or tablet. It gets expensive if you have more than one device to monitor and must purchase a new license for each one.
WebWatcher is good monitoring software, though it is tricky to install since it requires you to drop some security shields while you set it up. Once it’s installed you have a variety of tools that let you see what your child is doing online, set time limits and ensure your child is safe. It monitors social media sites and alerts you if they search for inappropriate terms. The amount of information it collects, including keystrokes and screenshots, is impressive and nicely organized in the parent portal.