Cybersitter

Cybersitter
Developed by: Solid Oak Software
Ranked: 5th
Overall rating:
Best price: $39.95
Purchase:

Stephen
Qualtrough

Reviewer

Technology should make our lives easier

Review summary

Good points Cybersitter review good points

• Quick and easy to setup

• Remote Management

• IM & Email monitoring

• Three Licences Included

• Social Network monitoring

Bad points Cybersitter review bad points

• Missing vital monitoring features

• Slightly difficult to configure

• Limited reporting features

Our verdict

The impressive set of features and customisability of the filters make CYBERsitter an effective program that restricts access to inappropriate content.

Screenshot of Cybersitter 1 Screenshot of Cybersitter 2 Screenshot of Cybersitter 3



Full review

Setup

CYBERsitter is quick and easy to install. It only takes a few minutes for the installation process to finish after which you can start configuring the settings.

The product is paid for on an annual basis and can be installed on up to three computers with one licence. To install it on more than three computers you will need to upgrade your subscription plan to the required amount of licences.

Filtering & blocking

Websites: The default settings of the software block access to adult sites on the monitored computer. The parent has the option of choosing from over 35 categories that filter a range of unsuitable content, such as: pornography, drug sites and gambling sites. Of course, parents can also add specific websites to the block list. The content filters keep a record of keywords that lead to blocked websites and restrict the use of prohibited keywords. On the downside, the software isn’t equipped with any key monitoring tools so older children or more advanced users can evade the website filters. Also, CYBERsitter struggles against some proxy sites, particularly sites in a foreign language.

The administrator can choose to receive daily email reports containing a list of all the websites visited by the user. However, the logs are cluttered and it is quite difficult to look for specific information.

IM & chat: All instant messaging conversations are monitored and recorded for the administrator to view. Email alerts are sent out if restricted keywords are used.

Social network: The software allows you to monitor your child’s Facebook and Twitter posts, along with all chat conversations on Facebook.

Games: The online multiplayer feature of specific games can be blocked and access to online game websites can also be restricted. Unfortunately, you cannot block specific games unless they are connected to the internet.

Other: Peer to Peer downloading can be restricted and the hard drive can be scanned for inappropriate material.

Effectiveness

CYBERsitter effectively filters and blocks restricted content. It has a solid set of basic features that will prevent your child from accessing inappropriate content; however, its lack of more advanced monitoring features, such as a keylogger, allow advanced users to bypass the filters. Further, the software struggles to block some proxy sites and occasionally allows access to restricted sites. This is a letdown as children may get exposed to inappropriate content even if the software is installed.

The child cannot make any changes to the settings or remove the software as administrator login details must be entered before any settings can be altered.

Time controls

The software utilises a unique scheduling system. Much like other parental control software, CYBERsitter allows the parent to define the number of hours a particular application can be accessed. But what is unique is that it allows you to setup weekly schedules for each predefined category, for example: the parent can restrict the amount of hours the child can access online games or social media sites. Basically, this gives parents more control over specifying time limits on certain types of applications.

Administration

As the administrator, you have complete access to all the settings of the software. You can choose to block content by choosing a predefined category or add specific websites to the block list. The program doesn’t allow any changes to be made to the settings without first entering in the administrator password so the child cannot bypass the filters by altering the settings. The parent can access the control panel remotely on any device with an internet connection and modify the settings as they see fit.

Reporting

Reporting tools are quite limited. The logs provide a full list of all the websites visited and IM conversations with the time and date they were visited on, but the format of the logs is cluttered which makes it very difficult to locate specific information. The administrator has the option of specifying when they would like to receive reports, however reports can only be received via email. On the plus side, the logs can be accessed remotely from any device with an internet connection so the parents can monitor what their child is up to on the go.

Ease of use

CYBERsitter has a user friendly interface that makes it simple to adjust the filter settings. It may be a bit difficult to configure for inexperienced users, but once you familiarise yourself with the control panel it is quite easy to navigate. The default settings allow users to quickly deploy the software without making any changes to the settings. The predefined categories allow parents to easily choose which content they would like to block without having to specifically define parameters for the software.

Help & support

A number of support options are available. Customers can access an online database containing frequently asked questions or contact the support team by submitting a support request form within the software. The support team can also be directly contacted via email and if the situation warrants a phone call then a member of the support team will discuss your issues via telephone. Customers would benefit from a live chat feature or direct phone call support as the current support options are slightly limited.

Overall

CYBERsitter is equipped with essential features that effectively monitor and block access to inappropriate content. The software provides the parent with full control over the content they want to restrict, and although it is a bit difficult to configure CYBERsitter is definitely an impressive parental control program.

The subscription prices are quite reasonable, particularly for a family with three kids as it allows the parents to monitor up to three computers on one licence.


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Ratings breakdown

Overall
 received a rating of 4 for Overall
Setup
 received a rating of 4 for Setup
Filtering & blocking
 received a rating of 4 for Filtering & blocking
Effectiveness
 received a rating of 5 for Effectiveness
Time controls
 received a rating of 4 for Time controls
Administration
 received a rating of 4 for Administration
Reporting
 received a rating of 5 for Reporting
Ease of use
 received a rating of 4 for Ease of use
Help & support
 received a rating of 4 for Help & support