Content Watch – Net Nanny 6.5 review

Keep your youngsters safe-ish online, and let them know they're being watched...
Photo of Content Watch – Net Nanny 6.5

There’s one issue to be addressed by anyone thinking of shelling out for a subscription to Net Nanny. The long-established Internet policing product is an in-your-face way of monitoring and restricting what people can do on a computer. It’s aimed, of course, at parents who want to put some online shackles on their children – and it does just that. But it leaves the user in no doubt what’s happening, and it’s also susceptible to a Ctrl-Alt-Del and End Process Tree escape path.

Getting to grips with it
If you accept that Net Nanny is representative of an old fashioned approach, then it’s hard to knock the way it carries it out. Targeted best at the machines of pre-teens, who are less likely to strop out/hack their way around Net Nanny, the service filters out some of the worst that the web has to offer.

In fact, Net Nanny does a lot more than that. You set up logins for different users, and arrange their privileges differently. Thus, each user can have a different collection of websites blocked, while social networking access can be restricted, instant chat can be monitored, e-mails can be checked and file sharing can be blocked. Furthermore – and arguably the most useful feature for some – it can monitor what your offspring are doing online, and limited the amount of time they’re allowed to go online.

Taking charge
As the administrator, you have absolute control over who can do what, and there are defaults set up for users that you can adjust as you see fit. Once you’re past the software’s initial learning curve, it’s all really rather straightforward. Setting the product up is easy, and while it inevitably slows things down a little while it analyses them, it does what it sets out to do with aplomb.

There is the odd thing that slips through the net. One adult advert found its way onto our screen during our travels, and one or two pieces of legitimate content inevitably get swept up in the mixer, too. But finding the product that can filter content with no mistakes whatsoever is verging on the impossible.

Company: Content Watch

Net Nanny is about as good as you can hope for. It works across several platforms and has clearly moved with the times. It's an effective - if unsubtle - way to monitor and restrict what users do online.