TopTenREVIEWS - Silver Award - Awarded for excellence in design, usability and feature set

McAfee Family Protection is internet filter software for Windows PCs, Macintosh computers and Android devices. It wins our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award for internet filter software. It effectively filters websites, video, music, instant messaging, web-based games, social networking, email and time. It alerts you according to parameters that you decide.

Feature Set
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9.8/10
Net Nanny
McAfee Family Protection
PureSight PC
CYBERsitter
CyberPatrol
Profil Parental Filter
imView
9.8
9.8
9.5
7.5
6.5
5.6
2.5

McAfee Family Protection lets you manage access to websites in three ways. You can block sites by category, you can decide on a custom list of sites or you can enter search terms to avoid. McAfee provides 35 ready-made categories for your convenience. Some examples are: hate sites, pornography, school cheating, social networking, violence and weapons. If there is a specific site that you want to block or allow, you can enter it. If you change your mind, it is easy to remove one or multiple sites. There is a box to check if you want to block inappropriate search terms in Google, Bing or Yahoo. Family Protection sends you an activity report that shows what searches your child made, the top sites visited and the number of blocked or allowed sites visited.

The internet is a primary source of television programming and films. This internet filter software lets you filter and monitor TV and movies. You can filter by rating. You can also block major U.S. networks' websites such as NBC and Hulu.com. YouTube is also something you can block, either directly from the site or when YouTube videos are embedded in other web pages. You don't have to block everything from YouTube. You can also filter out inappropriate content. If you want to restrict a user from streaming any online content using a media player, you can do so. From within your activity report, you can see which videos a user watched, and you can play the video without having to track it back to its source.

You also get control over music. You can block any iTunes song that has explicit, vulgar or illegal lyrics. It also blocks searches for iTunes songs that contain inappropriate content. If you want to prevent access to peer-to-peer file sharing, you can do so by checking a box to prevent anyone from downloading pirated music and videos. Any iTunes items that users accesses will appear in the activity report.

When it comes to instant messaging, you can block or filter most services, except for web-based chat sites such as Facebook. You can block access to online chat rooms. Your activity report will contain the content of the chats plus the time and date that they happened.

Because web-based games can be for mature users only, you can block game content. Or you can block access to the multiplayer function and block access to game sites that let players compete within the site. The activity report will show you the names of games that your child accessed and the times and dates of each game.

If you want to block access to social networking, you have the option. You can also monitor whether your child posts any personal information. Furthermore, you can record any profane or sexual language that Family Protection finds on the visited site.

Email is also something that you can control. You can receive a list of all sent or received emails. If you want to go a step further and block email, you can block all web-based email accounts or all non web-based email (SMTP and POP3). If you allow email, you can control who can send email and to whom they can send it. You will receive a detailed activity report about all email activity.

The sheer amount of time that a child spends online is something to consider, even if the child is not involved with anything unwholesome. This internet filter software gives you the ability to establish an internet-access schedule. You can place a limit on the total amount of time allowed, even if it occurs within the allowed access schedule. If there are special circumstances wherein you choose to permit more than the allotted time, you can easily extend it on a one-time basis.

Family Protection emails reports to you that you store on your local hard drive. You control the frequency of the reports and the recipient email addresses. However, you don't have to wait for regularly scheduled reports. If your child makes a number of attempts to reach a site that you have restricted, the software can send you an instant alert by text message (in the U.S. only) or email. You control the sensitivity of the monitor in case you need to be alerted less often or more often. You can manage your children's profiles online, but you can't view reports online.

Ease of Use
Compare
9.8/10
Net Nanny
McAfee Family Protection
PureSight PC
CYBERsitter
CyberPatrol
Profil Parental Filter
imView
10
9.8
7.5
6.9
6.5
5.6
5

This internet filter software makes it easy to add new users and to edit existing users' passwords and profiles. If you forget your password, you can recover it by calling McAfee technical support. A representative will ask for the answer to your account security question. Children often attempt to access a parent's password by calling tech support, but the McAfee support staff is trained to detect and deter children's attempts to obtain administrative passwords. The screens are thoughtfully constructed. The visual layout for the section where you control the length of time available for internet access has a clear design so you won't accidently give more time than you intend.
 

Ease of Installation
Compare
9.8/10
Net Nanny
McAfee Family Protection
PureSight PC
CYBERsitter
CyberPatrol
Profil Parental Filter
imView
10
9.8
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5

Installation procedures conform to contemporary best practices. Assuming that your system meets the minimal Windows machine requirements (10MB free hard disk space and 256MB of RAM), the program runs. If you buy the software online, download and enter your registration code. If you buy the product at a retail store, you can go online and register to download your purchase. You can install the program on up to three PCs. In order to uninstall, you will need to provide your administrator user name and password. If you cannot connect to the internet while you are uninstalling, you will need to request an uninstall code. Suffice it to say that a child who gets the bright idea to uninstall McAfee Family Protection is not going to be able to do so.

Filtering Effectiveness
Compare
9.8/10
Net Nanny
McAfee Family Protection
PureSight PC
CYBERsitter
CyberPatrol
Profil Parental Filter
imView
10
9.8
7.5
7.5
6.5
5.6
5

We verify that McAfee Family Protection internet filter software does what it says it will do. You control website access by categories that you select, sites that you enter and by forbidding certain search words. You control video by choosing the internet TV rating that you permit each child as well as filtering YouTube videos. If you check the box that restricts your child from streaming content using a media player, Family Protection prevents all attempts to stream content. This internet filter software effectively filters music by restricting iTunes songs with explicit lyrics and by blocking access to peer-to-peer file sharing. Another filter that this product effectively accomplishes applies to instant messaging. You can block or monitor instant messages. It lets you block web-based chat sites.

McAfee Family Protection Summary:
9.8/10

McAfee Family Protection extends itself to Windows PCs, Macintosh computers and Android devices. It has a comprehensive feature set that takes into account websites, music, video, games, social networking, instant messages and email. It has a thoughtful design and works well. You can block your children from websites in 35 categories. If your child posts personal information on a social networking site, or if sexually explicit or profane language occurs in connection with your child, you will know about it. If your child tries to go to a site that you blocked, you will find out through email or text. 

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Software » Security & Privacy » Internet Filter Software Review » McAfee Family Protection
 
 

McAfee Family Protection

Pros
McAfee Family Protection envelopes your child with well-considered layers of protection.

Cons
Activity reports are via email. They are not available online, in case that is an important feature for you.

The Verdict
: 9.75/10

McAfee Family Protection is a good tool to protect your children while educating them about online threats.