The best protection for your children on the Internet is the presence of an adult right next to them. While this works well for smaller children, it won’t work at all in most cases once the kids reach the rebellious age. Your best bet then is to use a monitoring solution, that best ships with a built-in protection module on top of it.
Enter Care4Teen, a (currently) free program for the Windows operating system. The program works in a similar fashion as previously discussed solutions such as Family Shield which monitors all of a computer’s Internet traffic. Care4Teen acts as a proxy sitting between the PC it is installed on and the Internet. This ensures that all traffic is routed through the service, so that all web browsers and Internet programs are covered by it.
The program ships with two modes of operation, restricted and unrestricted. Restricted basically means that users can only access websites that are not in the blocked websites listing, and not in the Care4Teen online database of acceptable sites. Unrestricted on the other hand allows access to all websites, but includes monitoring for websites that contain certain words or require inappropriate actions. The program then takes a 10 second video of what is happening on the screen, as well as random screenshots and records the website address of the site in question.
These information are then accessible in the Parental Control Panel on the service’s website.
Here you see then the visited websites, search queries, programs that have been started, and videos that have been watched. A click on a site displays information about it on the service’s page. Here you see how many parents have accepted or blocked the service, in which category the site falls, and whether it is globally accepted or not at this point in time.
Parents can block websites easily with a click of a button on the visited websites listing. It is also possible to enter websites that have not been visited yet to the list of blocked or allowed sites.
Care4Teen is different from Family Shield in many regards. It offers better monitoring options, and couples that with crowd-based data which is an excellent idea. It needs more users though to fill the database with sites and recommendations.
I personally suggest giving it a try to find out how well it works out for you.