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

Net Nanny shows you what your children do online and lets you establish limits as to where they go and what they do. You can identify information that is never to leave the computer, such as your home address or credit card numbers. You don't have to be on the computer that your child uses in order to manage Net Nanny, you can manage the account from any computer with a web connection and a browser. Net Nanny wins the TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award for internet security filter software

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Feature Set
Compare
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

Net Nanny internet filter software includes remote management and remote reporting. The remote functionality allows you, the administrator, to be anywhere in the world with a computer and internet connection to access activity logs and make configuration changes. You can stay current on the internet use in your home, while at work or on vacation.

Rather than blocking or allowing a given site based on comparison to an established, relatively static database, Net Nanny analyzes content continuously for objectionable content. For example, a legitimate news site might be blocked in the morning because of a particularly violent event. However, an hour later, when the website content changes, it will again be allowed. In the event that a parent deems a blocked site appropriate for a child to access, it can be overridden with the entry of a password.

There’s also the option of a warning function as opposed to blocking. The user receives a warning of objectionable material, but then is afforded the option to proceed without interruption or restriction. This works nicely in conjunction with the parental notification system. Parents can be notified by email if children attempt to access objectionable content. Combining the notification with the warning can potentially be a more forceful learning tool than an outright content block. Notifications can be made in real-time through email or SMS if desired or reports can be made periodically as specified by the parent. Administrators can choose to have notifications sent hourly, daily or weekly.

Profanity is another category addressed by this comprehensive internet filter software. The service can go through a website and make sure you aren't bombarded with vulgar language. It can be set to replace objectionable terms with random punctuation marks so that the entirety of the content isn’t lost.

Net Nanny has the ability to block certain PC games. You can restrict games to exclude games with adult, mature or any other rating level. Games can also be restricted based on specific content categories. There’s also an option to block specific games by title.

As the use of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others has proliferated, there is a need to monitor and regulate kids’ access to them. Parents can get detailed reports on profiles, including friends' lists, pictures, videos, personal descriptions and wall posts. IM conversations can be monitored and inappropriate video streams can be blocked.

Proxy software tries to bypass filters to let users access objectionable content and can be a particularly difficult challenge for internet filter software to address. With Net Nanny, you can block these programs before they can create a serious lapse in security. It also blocks any websites that offer such functions. It blocks proxies, secure proxies, local host proxies and application proxies.

Each child's search activity is visible including searches for web sites, videos and images. All the popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask are covered as are all browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome and Safari. The program breaks down these numbers into charts, graphs and other formats to give you a better sense of what your child is searching for.

Ease of Use
Compare
10/10
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

For those who would prefer to personalize the settings more, there are plenty of options. In the Administration Tools interface, there are well-labeled categories under two headings—User Settings and Family Settings. The categories include Profile Settings, Time Controls, Reports and Email Notifications. The remote access interface is similar and just as easy to use.

The product can be used in households with multiple computers. Net Nanny offers a subscription-based service with discounts for additional licenses. This makes it possible to protect multiple users for far less than most other products. This solution is also useful for small businesses or home offices that have multiple computers.

Net Nanny is completely customizable. You can choose what to filter and what to allow. It even incorporates age-based profiles to help you determine the best settings for each of your children. The product is quite simple to use and accommodates a variety of user levels. The interface is streamlined, the program is organized effectively, and navigation and use are remarkably intuitive.

Ease of Installation
Compare
10/10
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

The download and installation were quick and easy. If you need to install the product on multiple computers, the software allows you to carry over customized settings to each of your computers thus saving time and creating consistency.

Keeping the level of protection current is not a problem as automatic silent filter definition updates are included. And because the service is subscription based, you get any program updates that may occur.
 

Filtering Effectiveness
Compare
10/10
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 tested the software for over blocking (websites that should not have been blocked) and under blocking (websites that should have been blocked, but weren’t). The ideal internet filter should have a nice balance between detecting sites that might go unnoticed as inappropriate and releasing sites that may have subjects or keywords that seem inappropriate at first, but are not.

Net Nanny works particularly well because it doesn’t rely on a database of URLs. Rather, it analyzes websites in real time as you surf the internet. Pages that contain content that don’t meet your filtering criteria are identified then blocked. Net Nanny also blocks websites that contain keywords an administrator specifies.

The programming utilizes SSL (HTTPS) filtering to truly filter (not just block) questionable content in real time. This also enables it to proactively prevent attempts made to get around the filter by using secure proxy web sites, a common method used to circumvent filtering.

The program over blocks from time to time, but with the immediate override function, it isn’t generally a major inconvenience. Most parents would rather err on the side of safety than to permit offensive material to slip through. Very few instances of under blocking occurred, even with foreign language websites, which are notorious for confusing internet filter programs. We were pleasantly surprised because most internet filtering programs have problems detecting pornography on foreign language websites. Even if you don’t visit such sites often, good protection is still provided, regardless of the language.

Net Nanny doesn’t stop with just websites. This tool can detect and block other sources such as instant messaging programs and email accounts. There are many different settings that allow you to customize the level of filtering. The filtering can even go beyond specific content. You can also monitor and regulate the amount of time that your children spend in specific areas.

Net Nanny Summary:
10/10

Net Nanny filters and blocks content according to the preferences that you control for each of your children as they surf the web, play games or visit social networks. You can capture the conversations that take place during chats and Facebook sessions. Net Nanny proactively scans your children's communications looking for dangers such as bullying, profanity, aggressive words and threats. Net Nanny sends you an email whenever it discovers potentially dangerous communications. Net Nanny protection also extends to checking the words that your children type into search engines. You can get help and support by online chat, telephone or email. Net Nanny is available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. 

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Net Nanny 7

Pros
Net Nanny lets you manage all of the installations from a web portal.

Cons
It does not work on Windows XP (but then you should have moved on from XP by now anyway).

The Verdict
: 9.95/10

Net Nanny is the most effective internet filter software.