PROS / It offers near-comprehensive support with FAQs, live chat and telephone help options.
CONS / It does not have the ability to record screenshots for optimal online activity monitoring.
VERDICT / McAfee Family Protection has many elements of the best internet safety programs but lacks some key features that could provide a comprehensive picture of your child's online activity.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Internet Filter Software here.
McAfee is a name recognized far and wide as one of the premier providers of internet safety via antivirus software, but it also offers competent internet filter software. McAfee Family Protection is an all-in-one website blocker, pornography filter, social network monitor and cyberbullying protector. Although it lacks some features that would serve to make it an even more powerful tool, it performs capably.
The installation and setup wizard eliminates a lot of the guesswork, and the software interface itself is user friendly and intuitive. McAfee Family Protection lets you establish unique user IDs for every member of your family. Within preferences, you have the option to configure settings for a variety of online activities.
Websites can be blocked by category and also by specific URL. Safe search can be enabled too so that your children are not exposed to inappropriate material by accident on a search engine. Further activity controls extend to videos and music, with the program giving you the ability to restrict some YouTube content. File sharing sites can also be disabled to prevent your child from accessing music with questionable content.
There are additional controls that let you block chat rooms and instant messaging applications. If you'd rather monitor your child's activity, you can grant access but save all conversations to be read later. While the program doesn't offer any automatic cyberbullying preventive measures, reviewing instant chat and email messages can help you discover if your child is being harassed online.
Activity reports can be manually accessed or emailed directly to you on a daily or weekly basis. These reports include information on the websites that were accessed, any failed attempts to access blocked sites, online searches performed and chat transcripts. There is no support for capturing screenshots, webcam activity or recording keystrokes.
Its ease of use ranking is diminished slightly by the lack of a keyword searchable knowledgebase, which always has a way of making finding technical support simple. Since McAfee offers such a diversity of computer security services, it also requires a good amount of navigating on the website to find what you're looking for. Available technical support resources include FAQs, articles, live chat and telephone help. McAfee Family Protection is functional across a broad range of devices and operating systems including PC, Mac, and Android and iOS mobile devices. The software runs on Windows Vista, XP, 7 and 8.
McAfee Family Protection’s filtering and blocking features are excellent, as are the number of technical support avenues. Activity recording features provide the basics, but the software would benefit from the inclusion of more tools, like the ability to record keystrokes and take screenshots. If the McAfee name brings you familiarity and comfort, this could be the internet filter program for you.