If you are responsible for a family or office computer, and you want to limit the use of the internet on it, there are a variety of programs you can use to help you do this. If you have young children that are just starting to use the internet, you may want to block certain adult websites from appearing by accident. Or, if you run an office, you may wish to stop employees visiting websites like Youtube and Facebook, when they should be working.
Similarly, you may wish to not only block websites, but monitor the ones that are being visited as well; to see how productive employees are being, or check up on the digital pastimes of teenage sons or daughters. There are two types of software in particular that can help with these issues – Computer monitoring software and Parental control software. These applications are usually two separate things, but can sometimes be found as a package together.
Let’s take a look at each individually…
Computer Monitoring software is very simple to use. You simply install the software on the computer you wish to monitor, open the software, and click ‘start monitoring’. This will make the program magically disappear and start collecting information. You can then use a secret combination of keys and a password to re-open the software and look through logs of websites visited, applications used, anything typed, and a wide range of other activities.
When the software is running it is completely hidden (from the start menu, program files directory & task manager), so anyone using the computer won’t know they are being monitored. You’ll able to look through a list of all the websites visited with the date and time of the visit, and each website will have a screen shot so you can see what it looks like. Some software will also show the length of the visit.
Parental Control software also works in the background, and will also be password protected. When setting the software up you’ll be able to choose from a list of categories to block (things like porn, gambling, profanity, drugs etc), or add your own websites. Then, when running, the application will scan a requested web page before it is shown to check for any content that should be blocked. If it finds anything, the website will be inaccessible, if it doesn’t the website will be shown… simple!
If you’re worried that these programs are for the technically minded only then don’t fret, they are extremely simple to use. There’s plenty to choose from on the internet as well, with a variety of different features. As mentioned above sometimes they come packaged together, sometimes you have to buy them separately, depending on the company.