Pros / WebWatcher provides very detailed reports about your child’s online activity.
Cons / This software is difficult to install – you need to drop a few security features and disable any antivirus programs on your computer during the process.
Verdict / WebWatcher may take a moment to install, but once it’s running, it gives you a clear view of what your children do online and provides tools to limit their access to inappropriate content.
Editor’s Note: Since our last update, new features and tools have been added to WebWatcher’s cell phone monitoring, internet filtering and parental control programs. We will test and review these additions the next time we update our side-by-side comparison of the best parental control software.
WebWatcher parental control software has features that protect your children from a variety of online dangers. Its tools can block sites you don’t want your kids to visit and keep a record of the sites they do access.
The hardest part of using WebWatcher is installing it on the computer you want to monitor. Before you can begin the process, you need to turn off your firewall and disable your antivirus programs. During our testing, this caused some problems with both the program and our test computers after the install – we needed help from our IT department to reset several security functions and our internet connection. This was a hassle, and WebWatcher was the only internet monitoring software in our review with this issue.
Once the program was fully installed, we were impressed by how much data it monitors and the clean, well-organized way it presents information in the parent dashboard. The main portal page has several icons, each one representing the type of information it holds, and a notification if there has been any activity. For example, if anything important happened on your child’s Facebook page, the Facebook icon will have a red circle above it with the number of incidents clearly displayed. The software alerts you to the number of websites you child visited, the keystrokes collected, web searches made, chat histories and screenshots taken. Clicking any of these icons takes you to more in-depth information.
This parental software doesn’t have the filter categories that other, similar programs include. Instead, WebWatcher has alert word categories that include terms such as “pornography,” “alcohol” and “violence.” When your child searches for a term you’ve flagged, the program highlights it in yellow in the parental reports. If you set the screenshot capture time, WebWatcher automatically takes a shot of the computer screen when your child searches for a prohibited word. If you prefer a program that lets you block specific content using filter categories, Witigo is a good option.
WebWatcher also has website blocking and time control tools. From the parent portal, you can block websites by entering the URL into the blacklist. When you child attempts to access a blacklisted site, either through a web search or by directly entering the web address in the URL bar, they will see an error message. Additionally, you can set time limits from the dashboard so your child can only use the internet during specific times each day.
The program comes with a single license you can use to monitor one computer or one laptop. However, you can purchase additional licenses to monitor more devices, including cell phones. You still receive notifications through email or the online portal, though – WebWatcher doesn’t send text alerts. This parental control software is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.
If you need help, WebWatcher has email support through an online ticket system. It’s difficult to find your ticket once you send it, and we waited nearly a week before we realized we weren’t going to hear back with answers to our questions. There is a searchable knowledgebase that you access from the portal page, and live chat support is available during select hours.
- Filter Categories
- Licenses Included
WebWatcher is good parental control software for monitoring your child’s computer use. It has a variety of tools that let you see what your child does online as well as those that limit their exposure to inappropriate content. You can buy additional licenses to protect more than one computer or your child’s smartphone to ensure they only access safe websites and applications. The reporting features puts you in control of your children’s computer use, and you can set time limits from the parent portal. It takes a lot of extra steps to install the program, but once it is up and running, it collects an impressive amount of data.