When it comes to the Internet we all want to get as much out of it as possible. Broadband is now superfast. With speeds up to 330 Mb per second. We also have seen mobile broadband improved alongside fixed broadband mobile broadband has entered the era of 4G, with theoretical top speeds upwards of 100 Mb per second on download.
With these new speeds the richness of the Internet activities we do have increased immeasurably. We now stream high-definition movies, listen to online radio and engage in a more interactive way. The TV, phone and broadband packages we purchase have more to offer than ever before. This is fantastic for our kids and families. However, it means we have to be more careful than ever about the content that young minds are exploring.
Two Ways to Protect
There are two main ways that you can protect your family from content and dangers online. The first is to do network level protection.
Network Level Protection
Network level protection is driven by the Internet service provider. Some providers provide free services whereby they can block certain content and filter the activities that can be done. Many of them provide you with the opportunity to customise the level of protection you use. You are even able to restrict certain activities during certain times of the day. Some of the providers charge a one-off or a subscription fee in order to access their services.
The second level of protection involves installing software on your devices. This can be more difficult to manage because you obviously have to ensure that all the correct permissions are set up on each device. It also means that your family members could use new, additional devices in order to connect to content that you don’t want them accessing.
Which option is best to your family is your choice. However, software could it; software solutions tend to be more flexible and more comprehensive. You are able to set different permissions for different users, time-limit certain activities in a more robust way, blacklist certain URLs or activities, and have different permissions on different devices.
Choosing between different providers can be a difficult challenge. The different software out there offers different levels of protection, different levels of customisation and different additional features. They also handle instant messaging and social media in different ways.
What Are You Protecting Against
There are so many threats online these days. One of the most serious is identity theft. It’s very easy for younger members of your family to share information that is usable by unscrupulous identity thieves. They may unwittingly share your postcode, date of birth or anything else that leaves you vulnerable.
There are also many software programs that can infiltrate your computer and steal your data. They may log keystrokes you make, monitor your browsing behaviour, and even get access to your Internet banking. Some software may have the express goal of influencing the way adverts are displayed to you, to drive revenue into the pockets of the perpetrators.
Of course pornography, and paedophiles are normally top on the list of what your children must be protected against. Software can go a certain way in this regard, however you should also make it clear to children what guidelines they should follow. If you don’t know about the Internet, then learn. Ensure that you are able to guide your family on best practice to avoid the threats that are online.
Older children often have to be protected from themselves, so it’s important that you do have thsee conversations.
The Top Software Programs
So without further ado let’s take a look at some of the recommended programs to help you stay protected online.
Bitdefender Parental Control
Bit Defender is an excellent piece of software that filters extremely well has lots of additional features is easy-to-use and represents really good value for money. It comes in at just £20 including VAT and offers you unlimited devices for the period of a year. As well as supporting PCs using the Windows platform, it also includes an Android application. This is great for tracking phones and tablets to. All in all this is a cracking bit of technology, they can help keep your family safe.
Blue Coat K9 Web Protection
This is one of the most highly recommended pieces of software for protecting your family. In terms of value for money it is second to none; mainly because it is free. It has some of the best filtering options available on any software, has good additional features and is one of the easiest web protection software packages out there and has wide support in terms of devices, protecting PCs, Macs, Android devices and iOS devices.
Norton Family is another superb package just like Blue Coat overall it is rated superb. It is on a par with Blue Coat in terms of filtering and has just about as many features to. It’s very simple to use, and represents superb value for money because, after all, it is free.
A few other good ones you could consider are AVG Family safety, Kaspersky Internet Security 2013, and Net Nanny 6.5.
A Few to Avoid
So there are three of the best programs around. Here are some that you should perhaps avoid.
This program performs pretty badly on all counts except for value for money. It’s free so it is difficult to score it below excellent on value for money. It has very poor filtering options, very few features, and is not very easy to use at all.
Open DNS Basic
This is another software package that is not particularly good. It has okay filtering and similar performance in terms of ease of use and additional features. There are better options out there.
So there you have it a look at some of the best web filtering programs available online. As we mentioned earlier, the most important things is to ensure the whole family understands the dangers of the Internet. Read up online guides about how to keep your family safe and ensure that you can put in place policies within your home to keep everyone away from the many threats.
Phil Turner made a shortlist of possible TV, phone and broadband packages because he knew there were many options available. Phil used comparison sites like uSwitch to compile details of the packages on his shortlist.