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What are the best parental control softwares for Windows 8?


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#1 AdamWest

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 11:16 AM

I have a child that I've tried getting into a new Windows laptop and I find the built in Family settings less than satisfactory. I need a software solution that actually provides options to lock any specific programs, setup a child-friendly play pen of sorts with some sort of content advisor that I can review and approve at my leisure to introduce my kid to the Internet.

Is there any kind of software that does this for me? I've heard about K9 and Magic Desktop, but these choices seem to  be limited and I tried K9 already, I find it very efficient but lacking on everything else, namely not making Windows into a certified prison for my kid. Magic Desktop is a paid solution and it looks colorful and fun, but I don't know if it is actually safety-effective. If anyone uses this, can you share your experience?

Anyone else has used any similar solutions? If so please share, I need to make a decision that allows me to manage my son's environment specifically in a way that is not jaring for him and/or complicated for me.



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#2 Kilroy

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 11:31 AM

Effective parenting is the number 1 most effective parental control.

 

Any software solution can and will be bypassed by a child intent on going somewhere you do not want them.

 

That said, the child must have a limited account and your account must be password protected with a password the child does not know and cannot find out.

 

Implement an application white list.



#3 Agouti

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 07:17 PM

Effective parenting is the number 1 most effective parental control.

 

Any software solution can and will be bypassed by a child intent on going somewhere you do not want them.

 

That said, the child must have a limited account and your account must be password protected with a password the child does not know and cannot find out.

 

Implement an application white list.

:thumbup2:



#4 AdamWest

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 11:54 AM

Effective parenting is the number 1 most effective parental control.

 

Any software solution can and will be bypassed by a child intent on going somewhere you do not want them.

 

That said, the child must have a limited account and your account must be password protected with a password the child does not know and cannot find out.

 

Implement an application white list.

Thank you for the advice, but this is not a practical solution for me. I went so far as to try this for myself, but this does not solve they key issue for me, which is to make the Windows OS suitable for a young child like my son (he's turning 7).

I tried Magic Desktop in the meantime based on one of my client's advice, he's been using this since 2011. If this software can be circumvented, I cannot fathom how, because: 

It is password protected, you can't even touch Windows without it; It allows me to approve programs and even set boundaries using both time restrictions and a reward system with a mock currency that you can give for good behavior (this one made me simle); It locks the explorer completely, with a content advisor, that although I haven't tried out yet, is full of pre-approved websites for children... And I've found this out just by using this yesterday after dinner.

What I can say is that, if this didn't require Windows running in the background, it would be the first full-fledged operating system for children in the market. And it's staggering that no one is talking about this in the media at large, since you get all this talk about child safety on the internet. Are journalists sleeping or did these guys failed to pay them for reviews? You say it may have security holes, so let's see. I'm only halfway through discovering its features and my kid will start using this with my supervision today. I want to be a responsible parent, but I also want to not be the proverbial "mother hen" shackled to a computer while my son uses it in my off time. Technology does not constitute the full-proof solution for anyone, and for any given problem - but it needs to be an accessible tool to address those problems with effectiveness, because we have busy lives. Whenever my kid wants a new program, I'm stuck having to remember this convoluted procedure you linked me to, while this Magic Desktop thing does that for me in under 3 seconds.

I find most solutions advertised to be too complicated and giving absolutely no assurance of security, as if it is absolutely impossible to attain this practically, so what are these for, then? After using this, I beg to differ on this assertion, which seems to be a gross generalization. We'll see how I fare and I'll share my results once I have acquired further experience using it. 

Anyone who has used this is still free to let me know what they thought and if there are in fact holes in this, I would be very grateful for the assist. I need to make a decision here.
 



#5 Kilroy

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 12:31 PM

One of the top rules of security is:  Security is not convenient.

 

Personal opinion is that a computer was not the right selection if you are looking to cripple the OS to be child friendly.  A tablet would have been a better purchase.  Children are capable of operating the computer as it comes with very little instruction.  The real problem is that they aren't afraid and can frequently do things that will render the machine non-operational.  They quickly become adept at doing the things that they want to do.

 

As far as limiting access on the Internet, you have two choices on or off.  Any attempts to block Internet access are useless, ask the governments who have tried.

 

Putting the computer in an open space, not their room, makes it easier to ensure the child is not going to unapproved sites.  You don't have to watch them all of the time, but if they know you could walk by at any time they are less likely to be some place they shouldn't.

 

Back to my original statement, "Effective parenting is the number 1 most effective parental control."  Either you trust your child or you do not.  You cannot protect them all of the time from every possible issue.  You have to trust that you have taught them well and that they will come to you when they have a need.



#6 cat1092

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 11:54 PM

Create a standard user account & set restrictions, here's the MS document on it. I have one computer for guest usage, but instead of using the built in guest account, I created a standard one & named it "visitor1". Using Windows Live Family Safety, I set restrictions, blocking access to adult sites & if the account is used, I get weekly reports.

 

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/jj155495%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

 

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Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#7 tsgcole911

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 10:04 PM

I had the same problem with my 9yr old son - I installed Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 and it has excellent parental controls; which you can finely tune to suit your needs.


Edited by tsgcole911, 03 May 2014 - 10:05 PM.


#8 cat1092

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 10:47 PM

ESET Smart Security, which I've used a couple of times in the past few years, also has Parental Control options. As I did above with Windows Live Family Safety, I locked down the "visitor1" account fairly well, limiting access to content suitable for 16 year olds. Every time there was an attempted violation, I'd get a text messase.

 

http://kb.eset.com/esetkb/index?page=content&id=SOLN2793

 

Needless to say, most of those who knows me doesn't bother with asking to borrow a computer.

 

At one time, did consider installing keylogger software to see everything being done, but felt that would be akin to recording a phone call w/out permission. In the end, deciding annoying popups would be better, sometimes leaving my cell phone in the room so they could hear that, seconds later.

 

This may sound a bit harsh, but people must realize that personal computers are the physical property of someone, most of us doesn't care to run a public library.

 

On topic of parental controls, as far as children is concerned, I would go much further & probably in addition to parental controls, would install keylogging software to monitor actions. In addition to some type of webcam control that doesn't alert the child as to what's taking place. Too, there are remote control options available. There is also the option of turning off the wireless after certain hours, some routers has a setup that would permit for a guest account that still has WPA2-PSK protection. In this case, having a router that supports guest networking is a good tool & provides for enforcement.

 

Because some kids, as we all know, will push authority to the limit. I speak this from first hand experience, whatever my parents didn't want me to do, I made it a point to do it anyway. Back then, there weren't computers, but the phone was a constant issue. Today, I look back on those days & realize that I was wrong, but the fact still is, many 12-14 year olds still thinks they know it all & there's not as much discipline as in years past.

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 03 May 2014 - 10:48 PM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#9 AdamWest

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 10:20 AM

After using their built in browser, it seems as though the internet browsing is not going to be a concern, at least for now. The only thing it allows are selected websites from their special index, which has plenty of them and I can add more to it as I go along. This to me seems like the adequate usage model for small children. The internet is big, sure, but they don't need access to it this early in their lives. Filtering could be a good idea on paper, but I'm unsure if porn sites and other unsuitable adult sites don't change their keywords in order to be visible beyond the limitations stipulated by these applications. In doubt, I prefer to use something that does not allow a child to search for websites at all.



#10 cat1092

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:50 PM

 

Filtering could be a good idea on paper, but I'm unsure if porn sites and other unsuitable adult sites don't change their keywords in order to be visible beyond the limitations stipulated by these applications. In doubt, I prefer to use something that does not allow a child to search for websites at all.

It would take a smart child to find alternate keywords to find these type of sites, one that's heard about these things, from schoolmates & such. Too, there's also some health related sites that contains nudity that may bypass any filters. Wikipedia has such web pages on their site.

 

There is Safe Search Kids, the Google Kids Search Engine. Note the warning near the bottom of the page that it's not 100% perfect. The 2nd provided link contains additional info in regards to Internet Filtering Software.

 

http://www.safesearchkids.com/safe-browsing/

 

http://www.safesearchkids.com/internet-filtering-software/

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#11 Andre B

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 09:36 AM

 

 

Filtering could be a good idea on paper, but I'm unsure if porn sites and other unsuitable adult sites don't change their keywords in order to be visible beyond the limitations stipulated by these applications. In doubt, I prefer to use something that does not allow a child to search for websites at all.

It would take a smart child to find alternate keywords to find these type of sites, one that's heard about these things, from schoolmates & such. Too, there's also some health related sites that contains nudity that may bypass any filters. Wikipedia has such web pages on their site.

 

There is Safe Search Kids, the Google Kids Search Engine. Note the warning near the bottom of the page that it's not 100% perfect. The 2nd provided link contains additional info in regards to Internet Filtering Software.

 

http://www.safesearchkids.com/safe-browsing/

 

http://www.safesearchkids.com/internet-filtering-software/

 

Cat

 

 

If you want to limit sites (facebook or others) by time 
then use parental control  program Time Boss Pro:

http://nicekit.com/parental-control-software.htm
 
Very handy program.


#12 AdamWest

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 10:05 AM

The idea really is to limit the available websites to pages I approve only. So far the only kind of policy that achieves this are content advisors. Their browser has one, and so far, all sites in it seem good. I'll keep using this. If you guys never tried it, they have trials here: http://www.magicdesktop.com/
You'll probably find that this is easier overall. Personally, I really like it and their Support is top notch.



#13 Lolun

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 03:08 AM

I am using the PCWebControl and I have to admit that its interface fits me very well. What's more it has a stadard features like in this type of software: black list, reports, sheduling the time kid is able to spend in front of the computer. Program is dedicated only for Windows operating systems.

 

http://www.pcwebcontrol.com/ 


Edited by Lolun, 31 July 2014 - 03:09 AM.





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