Six Simple Solutions & Technologies You Can Use to Monitor Your Home Computer Use
Filtering software, also known as “blocking” software, can be an effective tool in preventing home computer users from accessing objectionable, questionable, or hazardous content on the Internet.
There are various reasons why you might monitor the use of a home computer. Maybe you want to be certain your kids aren’t accessing questionable Internet content when you’re not acting as their direct personal computer monitor. Or maybe you want to make sure they’re not meeting questionable characters online or engaging in inappropriate online activities or conversations with classmates. Maybe you want to make sure your kids aren’t being victimized by cyberbullies. The list of reasons for wanting to monitor the home computer usage of kids could go on, but there are other reasons for monitoring a home computer as well. For instance, perhaps your have a significant other – girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse – whose fidelity you suspect. It’s an unsettling thought, and no one wants to believe it could be true about the one they love. You’ll want to tread lightly, too, in deploying home computer monitoring software in such a way, but the option is available. Or maybe you suspect you’ve downloaded a Trojan or other malicious code that allows a hacker to take control of your computer or access your private data. Whatever the circumstances, if you need to monitor a home computer, below are six simple solutions and technologies to enable you to get the job done.
- Activity monitor software. This is probably the most obvious item on this list and probably the most powerful of all computer activity monitoring software solutions. Monitoring software like that offered here at SoftActivity allows you to monitor computer usage in real time. Our monitoring software can be installed without leaving any traces of that installation, too. What’s more, SoftActivity monitoring software runs in the background, completely invisible. No trace of our software will show up in Windows Task Manager, and there are no files whatsoever downloaded to the hard drive. Keep track of email attachments, programs opened and installed, and websites visited. Our monitoring software also allows you to log how much time the user spent on each website or using any program. Plus, our remote monitoring technology will allow you to view real-time shots of the computer you’re monitoring from another machine. There are many other advantages to using SoftActivity monitoring software – it offers powerful tools that make it a great choice for monitoring your home computer.
- Keylogging software. A keylogger is another great solution for keeping track of who’s using your home computer and how. Keyloggers go a step beyond computer activity monitoring software by recording every keystroke a user makes. That means URLs, chat sessions, and documents composed in word-processing, spreadsheet, or other software are all recorded – along with any other type of computer activity in which a keystroke is involved. SoftActivity’s keylogger will record POP3/SMTP email communications or Web-based email, too. So whether the computer user logs on through an email client such as Outlook, Eudora, or Thunderbird or logs on directly to the Internet through a Web browser, our powerful keylogger will record it all. And like our monitoring software, the SoftActivity keylogger runs completely invisibly in the background and also includes remote monitoring technology.
- Filtering Software. These programs aren’t activity monitor software in the sense that they record user activity or provide a specific log of what’s accessed or typed into the computer. Rather, these programs are designed to block specific types of websites deemed inappropriate or malicious. Want to help your special someone avoid the temptation of dating sites or, worse, internet pornography? Filtering software is an excellent option. Filtering software will help protect your children from such content, too, allowing you a deal of control regarding what children can see and read on the Internet. Filtering programs are a great way to supplement the use of personal computer monitor programs.
- Password protection. Compared to the home computer monitoring software solutions on this list, this one is less sophisticated. Regularly changing passwords, however, can go a long way in helping you control not only who accesses a home computer but when and how often. Of course, effective deployment of this solution will entail regularly changing a computer’s password. Once you get into a regular habit of doing so, though, you can then choose with whom to share that password. It’s also possible to password-protect many individual computer programs, allowing you to block access to only certain software installed on the machine or certain areas.
- Video and audio surveillance software. This one may seem more intrusive, but in the modern computing area, when video chat and Internet-based calling have become ubiquitous, being aware that someone is using Skype or a calling program might not be enough. You might need to know the content of those conversations, and if no data is being entered via the keyboard, that’s a tricky proposition. Video and audio surveillance software solutions are available that can surreptitiously record computer-based video or audio conversations.
- Talk to your kids. This is the most decidedly low-tech solution on this list but one that can be no less effective – perhaps even more effective if properly and honestly practiced. The key to using this method, of course, is having open lines of communication between you and your kids. Talk to them about who they’ve friended on social media and about how many people they’ve friended; review those friend lists with them, making sure you either know those people or are, in the least, comfortable with your child maintaining a social media relationship with them. Talk to your kids about the danger of meeting someone in person with whom they’ve previously only communicated via the Internet. Talk about the hazards posed by malicious code downloaded from the Internet. Teach your kids to heed search-engine or virus-software warnings against clicking on such sites. If you establish an honest relationship with your kids, promoting honest, open dialogue, you can potentially protect them from the perils of the Internet better than any monitoring software.
By Frank Winston, SoftActivity
Photo by San Jose Library (Flickr)
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