With dangers lurking in every corner and tons of raw, unfiltered content on the Net, how can you not be worried about what your children is doing online? Sure, you may already have the built-in Parental Controls on your Mac, but are you sure that these present features are enough to keep your child safe from cyber bullies, adult websites, online predators and scammers.
We got your back. Here are handy tools for the Mac that will help you block unauthorized sites, restrict your child’s computer usage, keep logs of your child’s activities, and many more. You can easily monitor your children’s online activities any time by viewing compiled reports and logs with these applications.
Read also: 5 Tips for Parental Controls on Mac
Norton makes it easy for you to block, monitor and receive alerts on your child’s online activities. It’s a comprehensive parental control tool which aims to help you teach your child how to surf the Net safely. Norton compiles a report displaying a list of the websites visited or attempted by your child, which you can filter, then allow or block access to.
You can also set time limits so you don’t need to pester your children to get off your Mac. Additionally, you can also keep an eye on the information your child is sharing on social networking sites, and the keywords they are searching for online. [Free]
KidLogger is a key logger, activity monitor and automatic screen capture – all in one free application. The application logs every keystroke your child types, the applications he or she opened, website history and even specific details like clipboard text.
There is also the option to capture screenshots periodically, a clever workaround with kids who are savvy enough to clear their tracks. The saved logs and screenshots in HTML format are then delivered to your kidlogger.net account or deposited into your Dropbox. [Free]
K9 Web Protection has three notable features: filtering, monitoring and time restrictions. The filtering function which can block out entire categories of content improves on your Mac’s built-in Parental Controls function, which only blocks out specified sites and applications.
The "Safe Search" function, which block results for explicit or offensive topics, can also be customized so that it is a compulsory option regardless of the browser used. "NightGuard" enables you to set a curfew, blocking Web access during specific times. [Free]
An open source filter application, DansGuardian is more advanced compared to the others because it does not filter content only by URLs, but also by phrase matching. This makes DansGuardian a great filter as the Web is full of new sites each day with new URLs that you may have not blocked.
This tool has a list of keywords which are associated with different categories, such as "drugs" or "porno", and sites containing those offensive phrases will be blocked. However, you can always make exceptions for certain sites by setting up a "Grey List". [Free]
Some of its features include notifying you when there is a newly added "friend" having few to no mutual friends with your child. It also monitors your child’s social activities such as status updates, shared photos, check-ins and even private messages. [Free]
PureSight is a clever IM and website filter which works on Yahoo!, MSN, AIM and even Trillian. PureSight can overwrite offensive words in incoming and outgoing messages, end a potentially dangerous conversation immediately, while blocking the other party and notifying the parents immediately.
PureSight has a list of offensive words, and constantly tracks IM slangs to weed out crude language used in the conversations it monitors. Parents can even add their own words, which may have escaped the list. [$59.90]
SafetyWeb highlights red flags on potentially dangerous actions, such as when your children approves someone suspicious as their friend. It also has a monitoring system that is triggered by topics and keywords that are related to bullying, drugs, alcohol, racism and even eating disorders.
SafetyWeb may be pricey, but it is a very convenient tool for you to monitor almost every social networking account your child has, and perhaps bring serious issues to light before it is too late to act. [$10 monthly, $100 a year]
Used by over 12 million students worldwide, NetTrekker is an educational, child-safe search engine highly recommended for school-age children. Unlike other parental controls tools which blocks offensive content, NetTrekker is essentially a search engine entirely built to churn only educational results.
For instance, if you search for a keyword like "stars" on this search engine , you’ll probably get plenty of galaxy or astrology-related results, but zero results for pop stars. [$5 monthly, $50 a year]
Safe Eyes is a good parental control tool for families with more than one children. Each copy carries a license you can use on three different PCs or Macs, and you can manage up to 10 different profiles with customized settings.
Safe Eyes can also block websites based on dozens of different categories. Although filtering for each type of media can be customized, users can also opt for three levels of filtration: Low, Medium or High filtering. [$49.95]
ContentBarrier enables you to block unauthorized sites, offensive languages in chat, impose time limits and keep logs. Its advanced features include restricting access to streaming media and file sharing. ContentBarrier even lets you customize different settings for different accounts/child.
This is a great choice for parents with varying ages of children. [$39.95 for 2 Macs’ license, $69.95 for 5 Macs]