Windows Live Family Safety
Being that this a guide to the best way to protect your kids whilst using a Windows PC, Microsoft has an entry in the top five in the shape of the Windows Live Family Safety tool that is part of the remainder of the Windows Live interactivity suite.
To kick things off, anyone that wants to use Windows Live Family Safety must have a Windows Live account and once signed in you can set up your account as a "parent" one that can then be used to monitor other members of the family using the PC.
Windows Live Family Safety requires that every family member has a different user account on the PC and if that isn't already the case the setup process becomes a lot longer than some of the other alternatives on offer.
All monitoring is handled through the family safety section of Microsoft's website with various options including the ability to place restrictions on Windows Store or games usage plus the usual web filtering, time restrictions and app limits also available.
Although blocking sites worked flawlessly with Windows Live Family Safety, it did show the page for a split second before the tab was closed and the monitoring feature didn't seem to pick up any of the websites we looked at inside Mozilla Firefox even though it blocked sites with ease.
For parents that want a blocker and not a monitor, Windows Live Family Safety is a good choice yet there are certain flaws that would advise you to look elsewhere on this list.
Another of the monitoring fraternity, Kidlogger is there to keep an eye on what is happening on your PC and then report back the findings with trademark accuracy.
Keylogger is a simple to use program that allows you to monitor everything from keystrokes and clipboard content to Skype chats, USB media insertions and website URLs, and everything can be password protected.
Its monitoring capabilities don't end there with the chance to capture video calls, screenshots at periodic intervals and even sound from around the PC itself just so long as a mic is present. This is all collected in log files that are stored locally and can only be accessed by the password holder.
One big drawback, like other keylogging programs, is that there is no facility to block access to certain websites and any parents that want to do that will need another application to supplement it. As a keylogger it does the job it sets out to do and in that sense Kidlogger will not disappoint.
Web blockers are the holy grail for many parents and Naomi delivers on that promise with an extremely simple yet effective filtering service.
Naomi runs in the system tray and filters out adult content automatically with a built-in list that cannot be edited thus leaving you at the mercy of what Naomi deems inappropriate. Luckily her list is an extensive one and we weren't able access a range of different sites when Naomi was turned on.
The fact you can't choose to block certain sites is the only real thing that holds Naomi back from being higher up in the parental control chart.