As parents, we want our kids to believe we have eyes on the back of our heads. But once those kids go online and start interacting with others, the limits of our parental omniscience become painfully apparent.
Whether the issue in your home is how much time your kids spend on the Internet (Madelyn P. says her daughter’s laptop “is open 24 hours”) or what they’re searching, watching and doing there (“there will be no FB for her until she is at least 13”, says worried mom-of-two, Beverly A.), it may help to know that there’s a tool that addresses all of these concerns: an all-in-one software protection package that guides, monitors, and reports on your children’s online explorations.
In partnership with McAfee Safe Eyes Software, Circle of Moms recently distributed copies of Safe Eyes Family Internet Manager to our members for a trial and review. Here are the results:
Heidi C. – Mother of 8 yr old and 11 yr old:
My son is 8 and is a very avid and astute computer user. From an early age he could do things I had no idea how to do on the computer. My husband, a Network Administrator, was pleased to find that in his opinion the Safe Eyes software was not easily bypassed. The two features I liked the most were the ability to easily limit Internet time, and receiving a daily e-mail with all the tracking information from each account. I do intend to continue to use the software. It will be installed on our older daughter's laptop so we can more easily see what she is doing with it.
Diana L. – Mother of 14 yr old and 10 yr old
I believe Safe Eyes is a good product. It definitely did what it was supposed to do. My daughter was blocked from the appropriate sites yet she had no trouble going on the Internet to the sites I normally allow her to go on. I intend to install the program on the laptop we will eventually buy for our daughter when she starts high school this fall as I believe it will "do my job" if I cannot
Robyn M. – Mother of 10 yr old
The set up and installation was fairly easy and took very little time (a major plus for moms). The software is a good tool for parents to monitor their children's Internet usage as long as everything is set up correctly. The default settings are pretty good - they do prevent our children from accessing sites that we wouldn't want them to use, also easy to change if we wanted to. I will definitely continue to use this software to monitor my son's Internet usage, it's especially helpful that we are able to limit the amount of time he spends on the internet per day. Overall, a helpful tool for parents of children who use the Internet (almost all kids do now!), and easy to navigate and use.
Diana H. – Mother of 16 yr old
I love the reports that show activity, instant messaging, and email as well as the time limits, that is a huge help in keeping the time spent on the computer to a minimum. I will definitely continue using the program, I am glad there is something that can keep an eye on what my kids do online when I am not able to.
Robyn P. – Mother of 7 yr old
I liked the fact that I could set a time limit for my child and after that time limit was expired she could not use the Internet any longer. One feature we liked was that the Safe Eyes software could look at the rating on shows to determine if she should see the shows. Using Google's safe search was a nice feature in that she can't accidentally be exposed to something by typing something into the search field. It is one thing to block individual site types but it is nice for that accidental exposure opportunities.
Kim H. – Mother of 6 yr old and 9 yr old
This software allows my daughter the amount of time I give her on the computer and also blocks her from going on sites that I don’t want her having access to including emails. I am definitely going to continue using this software as long as my child is on the computer. What’s also good about this software is everyday I get a report telling me not only what sites my child went on but myself as well, so in case there was a day I forgot to log out of my id to log in my child’s and she went on a site she shouldn’t be on, I would find out the next day.
Vanessa B. – Mother of 6 yr old and 9 yr old
Well I wasn’t sure how well this would work, but I have to say I feel a lot better when my kids are online! It took a bit of working but I am assured that my kids are much safer online. Safe Eyes blocked all the inappropriate content. We had to adjust some of the settings so the kids could go on Webkinz, but I liked knowing that they were limited in what they could access. I also enjoy the time limit. I have always tried to keep a limit on how much "Screen Time" the kids get. Now once their time is up they are unable to get back on until the next day. The software was easy to download and the settings are standard for each age group, although you can personalize them. My youngest is 6 and she likes to type in her login and password all by herself. I can feel secure that she will only access appropriate content. We will definitely be keeping this software and I will be suggesting it to friends and relatives as well.
Keri J. – Mother of 7 yr old, 9 yr old, and 13 yr old
I found the installation to be extremely easy, the set up process was fairly easy, but for some reason I could not access Farmville.com no matter what I changed, but I am pretty sure that was user-error, not the program. I do like that I can customize for what I find ok for my child to view/play etc. I will absolutely keep using this program! We were actually looking for something like this anyway this is perfect for our needs!
Jennifer R. – Mother of 5 yr old and 9 yr old
I LOVED how it e-mails reports, shows everything that was searched for, what videos she tried to watch, etc. It's great! Lots of information that you would normally not be able to see.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.