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Technology should make our lives easier
• Remote management
• Browser independent filtering
• Comprehensive instant messaging monitoring
• Three licences included
• Doesn’t filter HTTPS sites
• Limited social network monitoring
• No automated screenshots
PureSight is an effective tool to monitor and filter content from websites and instant message conversations, but it doesn’t offer some of the powerful features found in other parental control software.
The installation process is fairly straight forward, but it does take a bit of effort to ensure that it installs correctly. Once the software is installed, the administrator can use one of the default profiles or add custom profiles for up to ten children. After you have added or removed permissions for each profile, the software begins to monitor your child’s online activities.
Payment for the product is made on an annual basis and comes with three licences. This is ideal for a family with three kids; however, to install it on more computers you will need to purchase additional licences.
Filtering and Blocking
Website: PureSight uses an artificial intelligence filter to monitor and block access to inappropriate websites. Through its active content recognition engine, PureSight blocks restricted content as soon as it is published on the web. The software comes with 17 predefined categories that block access to a range of inappropriate content, examples include: pornography, drug sites and gambling sites. Parents can mix and match the predefined categories, but it doesn’t allow you to add specific websites to the block list. Since the filters are completely web browser independent, the child cannot evade the software by using an unsupported web browser.
However, the software doesn’t filter HTTPS sites, thus the content filters can be bypassed by using certain proxy sites. The lack of HTTPS site filtering has a negative impact on other features, for example: while PureSight manages to enable safe search in supported search engines, it can easily be bypassed by using Google’s HTTPS search page.
IM & Chat: The software monitors and filters conversations from major instant messaging services, such as: Yahoo, AIM and MSN. PureSight can pick up on words concealed in a different spelling and allows the parent to define the number of restricted keywords the child can use before the software shuts down the conversation. Parents can also define keywords to filter and can choose to only receive alerts when restricted keywords are used in conversations.
Social Networks: Social media monitoring is mainly targeted at Facebook and allows you to monitor some of your child’s activities on it. However, the social network filtering is limited and unreliable.
Games: Monitor and filter content from online game sites. You can completely block specific online games or block certain features, but the game must be connected to the internet for you to be able to filter it.
Other: Peer to Peer downloading can be blocked and emails can be monitored for restricted keywords.
PureSight’s main advantage is with its browser independent content filters. This provides consistent protection across major web browsers and eliminates a common option of bypassing the software by using an unbranded web browser. The software effectively blocks inappropriate websites and monitors chat for restricted keywords. However, it struggles in filtering content from proxy sites; this is a major drawback as kids are increasingly becoming aware of using proxy sites to bypass parental control software.
The software doesn’t allow any changes to the filters without prompting the user for administrator login details and it cannot be uninstalled without an administrator password.
PureSight provides you with two time scheduling options. The first one is a basic time scheduler which allows you to define time restrictions on weekdays and weekends. The parent can also set daily or weekly time limits for internet usage. The other option is the advanced time scheduler which enables you to setup a weekly schedule and define the times your child is allowed to access the internet on each day of the week. Through the advanced time scheduler, you can also define time limits for specific applications.
The holder of the administrator password has complete control over all the settings and features of the software. PureSight prompts the user to enter administrator login details before allowing the user to make any changes. You can remotely configure the settings of the software from any device with an internet connection, but the web browser interface doesn’t allow you to make detailed changes to the software. The software allows you to setup and configure up to 10 profiles for each computer, with the option of modifying the settings using the remote management tools.
A decent number of reporting tools are available at your disposal. The software provides detailed activity reports that include a full list of all the websites visited and an identification section that lists the category each visited site falls into. The reports also show a full log of all chat conversations and any attempts to access blocked content.
PureSight allows the parent to define when they would like to receive alerts. It lets you configure the settings so that you receive alerts when the child attempts to repeatedly access blocked content or uses restricted keywords in chat. Unfortunately, the software doesn’t allow you to receive alerts via text message, although it does allow you to remotely configure alert settings.
Ease of Use
Most of the settings in the software are quite easy to configure, however, the user interface can be confusing at times and the online configuration interface can take a bit of getting used to. Parents who do not want to go through the configuration process can simply select from one of the predefined profiles and alter the filters they would like to customise for particular profiles. It is simple to add or remove filters from one of the default profiles, but it can be a bit tricky to setup a custom profile – especially for novice users.
Help and Support
A range of support options are available. An online database of frequently asked questions and an online user guide can be used to find solutions to common problems. Additionally, you can directly contact the support team via email or access the live chat support feature to speak to a technical support member. A phone support option would be helpful for users who need urgent help as there can be slight delays in online chat support.
PureSight has a good range of features and is a solid option for monitoring your child’s online activities. The filtering capabilities of the software are strong and its active recognition engine complements its ability it to block access to inappropriate content. However, it’s a little on the expensive side and its feature set isn’t quite as rich as some of the other parental control software in the same price range.
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