At a Glance
- Comprehensive parental controls; Low price
- Requires different Windows accounts for full protection; Limited real-time alerts
Limit what your children can do online and keep them safe while they’re surfing the Web.
Keeping your kids safe online can be a full-time job. But it’s
one that’s made a lot easier with AVG Family Safety, a
comprehensive parental control solution that works well in
multi-computer homes–and right now, it’s available for a $1
donation to the Red Cross.
AVG Family Safety lets you set up a profile for each of your
children, and will suggest security settings based on their age
range. For children between the ages of 0 and 8, for example,
Family Safety suggests that you ban them from visiting sites in 61
categories such as Mature Content R-Rated, Social Networking, and
Violence and Gore, among others. You can customize the settings to
your liking, which is helpful as AVG’s age ranges are quite wide;
for example, you may not mind having a teenager study sites in the
Art Nudes category as much as you’d mind having them look at the
ones categorized as Pornography. Additional parental controls
include the ability to block media by MPAA or FCC rating, block and
allow certain sites, and set access times for Internet use. You
also can block access to certain programs in categories such as
Email, Games, IM, and P2P/Torrent Programs,
Family Safety also offers activity monitoring, which presents
you with an easy-to-read graphic summary of the user’s Web
activity. You also can see search terms they’ve entered, programs
they’ve accessed, and can reach transcripts of their chat histories
on instant messaging programs. The app is nicely laid out and all
of the information is easy to access, but, for the most part, you
have to go looking for the information you want: AVG doesn’t always
notify you when potentially dangerous behavior is occurring. You
don’t, for example, get alerts when certain words are used in chat
messages, which would be a nice touch. You will, however, be
alerted if someone attempts to access a site that is blocked.
AVG Family Safety also offers alerts when it detects
inappropriate words in social network posts, which is a nice
feature. It doesn’t actually block the language. It also warns
users who log into social networking sites that their activity will
be monitored, and stores their login credentials so that parents
then have full access to their account. I prefer the more open
approach of ZoneAlarm
SocialGuard, which alerts parents to potentially dangerous
activity on Facebook while still allowing the child to have some
privacy. SocialGuard only works with Facebook, though, and is not a
complete parental control solution like AVG Family Safety. It is
possible to use the two programs in combination.
A $20 annual license (temporarily available for a $1 donation to
the Red Cross) allows you to use AVG Family Safety on three PCs.
You setup the app on one PC, and its restrictions will be enforced
on each PC that your children use. (You will need to install a
local client on each PC.) You do have to assign each of the AVG
profiles that you create to a specific user login, however. If your
children share a login or can login using an older sibling’s
credentials, they could bypass some of AVG’s security settings.
AVG Family Safety offers a strong set of parental controls and
useful activity monitoring tools. I do wish it offered more in the
way of real-time alerts, but Family Safety still offers plenty of
safeguards for your children.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site,
where you must register to download the software. The price given
is the price of a one-year, three-PC subscription.