Best free parental control software: 5 programs to keep your kids safe in 2015

Block access to sites and programs, record keystrokes, get email alerts and more

Best free parental control software

Whilst web browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox have made it simple to eliminate access to certain websites it's still easy to circumvent parental controls when a dedicated piece of software isn't used.

Parental control software gives elders that extra bit of control over the family PC to make sure children aren't able to access adult content or get inside software that is only to be used by other members of the family.

Many of the options available for Windows PC users are completely free of charge and we've picked out our five favourite free parental control software programs of 2015.

K9 Web Protection

A very small application that packs quite a punch, K9 Web Protection provides a layer of safety for your kids online and runs from right inside your browser.

On the first startup you have to set up a new license to use it and from then on its simply a case of setting up the filters to the exact specification required. Blocking is primarily done by category with various levels of blocking open to the user ranging from monitor (allows all categories and just logs traffic) to high (protects all default categories as well as social interaction and unrated sites).

K9 Web Protection
K9 Web Protection

Beyond the main category restrictions you can also set up time restrictions to place blocks on when web access is allowed with a custom option allowing you to impose an online curfew for anyone using the internet on the family PC.

The customary web site exception setting permits you to always block or allow specific sites and there is even the chance to block various URL keywords that will automatically bar access to a site should it contain certain words. It goes even deeper than even that with safe search redirecting to K9's own Safe Search and, even though it may concern some that this is turned on as default, it's very easy to turn it off straight from the setup page.

K9 Web Protection performed well in our testing where we were blocked from accessing various adult sites and gambling services, even when clicking on links from other sites to arrive at them. There was very little we could find wrong with K9 Web Protection and knowing that all of this is completely free meant it gains top marks.

Spyrix Free Keylogger

Plenty of different methods exist to keep an eye on a child's browsing habits and Spyrix Free Keylogger brings the art of keylogging to the table, but some will find the limited number of features infuriating.

What Spyrix Free Keylogger does offer is perhaps the highest level of keylogging of any application around right now. Monitoring is categorised by each user on the computer and sorted according to the data collected that includes keyboard entries, screenshots, webcam snapshots, sound recording, webcam video, clipboard value, webpages visited, and search queries.

Spyrix Free Keylogger
Spyrix Free Keylogger

Hiding the program is limited to closing it down and then having a password to get back in and other ways, including being able to hide it completely, are only accessibly by upgrading to a paid option.

You will notice that site blocking and social network activity are also among the options available. Unfortunately both these are also behind the paywall and not being able to block sites means that most parents will want to combine this with another program, upgrade to the paid version or just abandon it altogether.