I’ve had quite an interesting time trying to find software I can use on my home PC which will help me moderate websites, applications and music for my children. You know like, an application that displays only “approved” child friendly websites, applications and music which can be easily invoked by clicking a button.
The concept is simple, and one would expect to have an array of products to choose from on open software market (open source, licensed, etc.) right? Apparently not! My choices are very limited and consist of only two options:
- A very costly enterprise approach with nifty endpoint appliances and such which is complete overkill for me.
- A very costly software approach which is built round the education sector and lays the foundations of a group policy approach which is not necessary here at home.
Both approaches are great, but what I’m looking for is a more simplistic approach to the management with perhaps foundations in open source. The software needs to not only be trusted and customizable, but also safe and easy for children to use by default!
As a result of my software dilemma, I decided to write my own software for personal use and wanted to share it to the rest of our 15 readers. The logic here is simple; when a specific user accesses their “profile” the application, the software is launched and maximized as part of the logon process. And when the user clicks on the button, the ‘feature’ (website, application, song) is automatically launched in a maximized state in a controlled, locked down manner.
Website Manager [WM] takes into consideration several concerning aspects of a local profile management and addresses the following during runtime:
- Appropriate profile management for local users: Local user profile locked to access only “approved” websites and applications. Customizations are made from an account with administrative rights.
- Safe internet browsing via rule management: Internet Explorer is locked so that only the initial requested website is accessible during the spawned IE session. Application allows for approved subdomains and wildcard requests and can be easily customized via various ‘wizard type’ rule configurations.
- My Start Menu is a completely mess: No worries, we address the start menu on a “per user” basis. Profiles identified as “monitored” will have a locked down start menu. Only approved applications and processes will be available for users.
- Easily migrate user settings and customized rules: Export settings and migrate from computer to computer.
- Application easily runs on all supported Microsoft Operating systems for desktop including Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
- System resources : WM uses under 7MB of system memory and requires less than 5MB of hard drive space.
- Automatic updates: Subscribe for no charge to our automatic update service. We will pass along children friendly websites, all you need to do is approve the ones you want to be accessable. We do the hard work of finding great educational and entertaining websites and you get the satisfaction of having the ‘final say’.
- The software is absolutley free, we dont believe in collecting any revenue stream for this product.
- Control when your children can use the computer and for how long with our timer policy and usage limitation controls.
To download the software, simply logon with any social media outlet or custom account- click ont he “downloads” tab and select the Parental Control Software [PCS] download link. Please let us know if you have any questions or have recomendations on how to improve the software.