- The affordable price, password-protected "visible mode", Web-based monitoring
- Doesn't prevent children from reaching Web sites in sensitive categories
Solid watchdog tool gives a remote, over-the-shoulder view of the PC under surveillance.
Price$ 39.95 (AUD)
For parents worried about the Internet's potential to expose children to sexual predators and inappropriate content, parental-control monitoring software that watches kids' activities and communication on the computer can provide some peace of mind. We looked at a pair of monitoring applications -- SearchHelp's Sentry Remote and SpectorSoft's eBlaster 6.0 (beta) -- and found that both offer stealthy surveillance tools capable of logging every keystroke typed, every e-mail sent, every application used, every Web site opened, and every line transmitted in an instant-messaging exchange. In the end we preferred Sentry Remote, for its superior Web-based monitoring interface and support for mobile phone notifications.
One important point: these programs are monitoring programs only and do not prevent children from reaching Web sites in sensitive categories (sex, drugs, hate, and others). For that kind of protection, you'll need content-filtering software, which is available in some security suites as well as in other parental-control packages.
Sentry Remote ($39.95 for two computers) offers the ability to alert children to the presence of the monitoring software. The "visible mode" setting, on by default, puts an icon for the password-protected application in the system tray near the clock. Kids can see that the application is there and running, but they can't access it without your password. Also available is the stealth mode, which hides the program, even from the Add or Remove Programs menu, so that children can't uninstall it while you're gone.
Sentry Remote is an aggressive tool that gives the parent live control of the machine from a remote location. Once the program is installed, its easy-to-use (though jarringly bright red) interface lets you set limits on what a child can do. With a few mouse clicks, you can remotely tweak the settings to prevent a child from disabling programs, lock or shut down the computer, close an IM window when a predetermined violation occurs, or have a mobile phone text message sent if a violation does arise.
You can also pre-program the app to send an e-mail report with its surveillance data, which can include sites visited, keystrokes logged, e-mail messages sent, applications used, and more. (By default, the program will send the report once every three days.) It's nice to see all of the reporting options in the settings tab unchecked by default, forcing parents to make conscious decisions about how much activity they want to monitor.
The program's Web interface lets parents log in to the SearchHelp Web site, tie an account to a monitored PC, and obtain some aggressive remote-watchdog tools. The Remote TV option, which opens a Java applet, is the equivalent of standing behind the child, looking live at the computer screen. During our tests, it worked flawlessly within both Internet Explorer and Firefox to give a view of the monitored computer.
From the Web interface, you can also sort through conversation logs and online chats, check browser URL history, or intervene and take action in real time to hide or show the Start button, hide or show the Desktop, hide or show the taskbar, open or close browser windows, shut down an IM program, or even lock or unlock the computer. Through a nifty text-chat feature, you can send messages to the child in real time.
Join the newsletter!
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Apple iMac Pro
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Toys for Boys
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
ESET Smart Security Premium
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Tivoli PAL BT
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
ESET Internet Security
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
In multicultural Australia, the opportunity for home cooks to expand their culinary horizons is too tempting to resist.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Nokia 7.1 review: A modest and modern mid-tier option
- 3 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 4 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 5 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
Latest News Articles
- CBA capitulates, will support Apple Pay next year
- Intel unveils the Intel Neural Compute Stick 2
- Fetch TV expands with Aussie Broadband
- Adobe announces next generation of Creative Cloud
- Logitech announces Logitech Rally
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?