PROS / It supports social media activity monitoring.
CONS / The online manual isn't keyword searchable.
VERDICT / Surfie would have ranked much higher on our top 10 list if it offered any support channels beyond email and the online user guide.
An internet filter software program with the tools necessary to detect cyberbullying, Surfie scores high on our top 10 list for the additional inclusion of a variety of filtering and blocking features. It unfortunately falls short in the area of help and support, providing an in-depth user guide and email support, but no channels to get in touch directly with tech support by live chat or phone.
Considering it scores low in help and support, we might have expected Surfie to fare poorly when compared to the best pornography filters and internet safety tools available. The reason it still does well is due to a combination of factors, including ease of use and filtering and blocking capabilities.
Installation is simple thanks to a setup and configuration wizard that first helps you create an administrator ID and then takes you step-by-step through the process of creating accounts for the different users you want to monitor and protect. When setting up the initial user profiles, you can assign the name and password that your child uses to key in to get online. Presets are available that let you customize the online experience based on age and maturity level.
Diving deeper into individual user settings you find that you can elect to turn on or off features like Facebook monitoring, time control, website filters, chat filter and file sharing controls. You can also turn on email reports and alerts, which can be used to notify you immediately of objectionable activity. It is unable to take screenshots of activity and has no ability to monitor email, but Surfie can provide you with comprehensive reports of online activity. The admin dashboard can be accessed remotely from any web browser, and the software is compatible with PCs running Windows Vista, XP, 7 and 8.
Surfie can also monitor a number of chat applications, including such frequently used programs as Skype, Yahoo Messenger and iCQ, among others. Once you select the chat applications you want to monitor, you can then type in specific keywords that, if used, will send you an alert. This is greatly beneficial for identifying cyberbullying and nipping it in the bud early on. You can also block or allow contacts from having access to messaging your child.
Surfie can be used to block certain websites, filter entire categories of sites, control internet time usage, identify cyberbullying or stalking, and send parents immediate alerts. Although it lacks support channels like telephone and live chat, it can be a very useful tool in keeping your kids safe online.