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Spytech SentryPC Review
Technology should make our lives easier
• Remote Management
• Three licences included
• Automated screenshot capture
• Instant messaging monitoring
• Comprehensive time management tools
• Doesn’t block illegal file sharing
• Incompatible with Mac
• Limited social network monitoring
SentryPC is incredibly easy to use and is equipped with an impressive range of features that effectively protect your child from access to inappropriate content.
If you are after parental control software that provides you with full control over your child’s online activities then SentryPC is definitely worth considering.
Spytech SentryPC is designed to be easy to install for even the most novice computer users. The remote installation feature allows parents to wirelessly install it on any computer. The software is compatible with Windows only at this stage.
The annual subscription package provides the parent with three licences, so to install the software on more than three computers additional licences will need to be purchased.
Filtering and Blocking
Website: SentryPC filters websites from predefined categories, including: pornography, drug sites and hate sites. Parents can choose to block access to all websites except those on the allow list or select from one of the default categories. Specific websites and keywords can be accessed to the block list so if a restricted keyword is used in a search engine the software will immediately block access to the results. Additionally, you can choose to incorporate specific websites into the time scheduler to restrict access to certain content within the time limits specified.
IM & Chat: The software monitors and filters chat conversations from online chat rooms and popular instant messaging services, including: Yahoo, MSN, Skype and AOL. You can choose to completely block certain instant messaging services or monitor both sides of the chat conversations for specific keywords. If a restricted keyword is used in a conversation the parent will instantly receive an alert and a screenshot will be taken.
Social Networks: Restrict and monitor access to popular social networking sites, such as: Facebook and Twitter. The software also allows you to view screenshots of your child’s activities on social media sites.
Game: SentryPC enables the parent to block specific game applications or restrict access to the online multiplayer feature of games. Further, games can be added to the time scheduler so that the child can only access particular applications for a restricted amount of hours.
Other: Keystrokes can be monitored and filters can be set to block specific keywords. Email conversations can also be monitored.
A few parental control tools struggle against proxy sites and occasionally have a few slipups by allowing access to restricted sites; however, SentryPC does an excellent job in blocking all proxy sites and effectively blocks access to restricted content. The content filters are intensive and block access to all restricted content. The filters are near impossible to evade and repeated attempts to bypass the software will send an alert to the administrator. The child cannot uninstall or modify the software at all as an administrator password is required before any changes are authorised.
SentryPC is equipped with an impressive range of time control features. The parent can set restrictions on games, programs and websites. You can define the number of hours specific applications can be accessed or completely block access to the computer on specified days. Further, you can set daily and weekly schedules in which you can restrict the amount of hours the computer can be accessed in a given day or week. Once the week’s hour limit is reached the child can no longer access the computer until the following week.
The administrator has full access to all the settings and features of the software. Users are required to input administrator account details before initiating the uninstall process or to make any changes to the software. As the administrator, you are the only one with access to data logs and can choose to apply additional security measures to prevent any unauthorised changes.
A unique feature found in SentryPC is that it allows the administrator to encrypt all activity logs and provides the option of running the software in complete stealth mode so it is completely invisible to the user. This is useful for monitoring your child without them knowing that you have installed software to track their online activities.
The software boasts a decent range of reporting tools that provide parents with comprehensive reports regarding their child’s online activities. SentryPC provides parents with detailed reports that contain a complete list of websites visited each with a time and date stamp. Parents can also view screenshots, a complete list of every single keystroke typed and a list of all the events performed by the user. The amount of information the software provides can be overwhelming for parents, but the reports are chronologically organised and displayed in an easy to read format that even novice parents can interpret.
The parent can define the frequency at which they would like to receive reports and can access the data logs remotely from any computer with an internet connection. Unfortunately, alerts cannot be received via text messages.
Ease of Use
The software is designed to be easy to use for both novice and experienced users. The graphical user interface is simple to navigate and the menu allows you to quickly setup the core features of the software without any hassles. The reports and log data can be easily accessed and are formatted in a way that the parents do not have any difficulties in interpreting the data. Additionally, a guided wizard is provided for parents to quickly setup the software without manually changing the settings.
Parents can choose to apply and use the predefined profiles if they do not want to alter the settings or they can easily create new profiles to suit their requirements.
Help and Support
If you require technical support you can access the frequently asked questions database to find a quick solution. Alternatively, the support staff can be contacted through the toll free customer service phone number or by submitting a ticket containing your enquiry to the 24/7 help desk service. Although the support team is quick to reply to any enquiries, the lack of an online chat support option is definitely an inconvenience if you require urgent assistance.
Spytech SentryPC is an incredibly effective tool that allows parents to monitor all their child’s online activities. The software is equipped with an impressive range of features and gives parents full control in blocking and monitoring their child’s computer. SentryPC is definitely one of the most comprehensive parental control software in the market as it effectively allows parents to block access to inappropriate content.
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