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PC Tattletale Review

Wednesday, June 23rd

2021 Internet Filter Reviews

PC Tattletale Review 2 Star Rating

PC Tattletale

2 Star Rating
  • Cost: $79 for up to 3 PCs

PC Tattletale markets itself as computer monitoring software that is simple to install, records everything a user does, and lets you view their activity in detail, even remotely.

PC Tattletale seems to cater to two types of purchasers: employers and families. For employers, the draw would be to watch every detail of every activity the employee does on the computer, without the employee being informed of the monitoring. This way, an employer can see whether the employee is looking for another job, stealing, following instructions, taking longer breaks than usual, browsing unapproved websites, playing games, or watching videos when they ought to be working.

For family users, PC Tattletale lets parents monitor their kids to see if they're being cyberbullied, playing too many video games, watching violent or pornographic YouTube videos, starting secret profiles and sharing inappropriate photos, as well as seeing who they're chatting with and sending email to.

The approach PC Tattletale takes is reactive. It has nothing to do with filtering (to prevent inappropriate activities before they occur) and only focuses on catching someone in the act and addressing the problem after the fact. While this may be the preferred approach of some families and employers, the approach is rather fear-based. There are a lot of good reasons to choose internet filtering and monitoring software that is not based on fear alone.

In researching this software, we wanted to know more from a pre-sales perspective about how the software actually functions, which options are available, and troubleshooting steps should something go wrong. Most software vendors have a support or help section that explains these things to anonymous visitors. PC Tattletale has this content available only to users having accounts and not people casually browsing their website to educate themselves before buying.

Best Internet Filters

After signing up for a free account, which includes 7 free days of monitoring, we were able to find a little more support and help information as well as set up a device for free. Devices supported include Windows, Android or Kindle, and iPhone or iPad. Mac OS computers were not supported. For the free trial, some features are disabled until you upgrade.

The account overview screen shows the plan selected, days available of recording time under the trial, account identity information, and a button to close the account. A dashboard screen shows which devices have the software installed.

Once the software is installed, the user will not see the name "PC Tattletale" anywhere on their computer. The most they'll see is a reference to "Security Services", which seems fairly routine and innocuous to most users. For the administrator to be able to remove the software, they must run a removal tool which exposes the true location and name of the software for uninstallation.

Viewing activity remotely is just a matter of signing into the PC Tattletale members area online. You will see a screen split into two sections: a video and a bar graph showing click activity throughout the day. It also records keystrokes and displays them in a video overlay as they occur. This is potentially a privacy and legal concern for employees who have, whether for personal reasons or as a matter of their job duties, entered sensitive health information into their computers during the workday as they set doctor appointments or deal with health insurance information.

It appears that installing the software does leave certain traces in the user's Microsoft Edge browser such as cookies, browsing history, and cached data and files, and the setup file that must be deleted manually when uninstalling the software.

Once you have a paid account, you'll be able to take advantage of live monitoring and GPS tracking features.

Other questions we had, like whether the software works with multiple browsers or only with the decreasingly popular Microsoft Edge browser, remain unanswered by the support materials.

We have several concerns with this approach to monitoring, especially in absence of any filtering capabilities. Because PC Tattletale is reactive rather than proactive and has no options for filtering based on keywords or URLs, we suggest you look to other vendors if you want to build relationships of trust with your computer users or prevent unwanted behaviors proactively. However, it may be that there are situations that call for reactive exposure of a user's behaviors. Corporations may want to think twice about using this software for legal reasons and may even want to block it for security and intellectual property reasons so as to prevent non-authorized users from installing it on other employees' computers and spying on them.

What is the Best Internet Filter?

Internet Filters are more important now than ever. One of the very first things to make its way to the Internet was pornography and other offensive content. Because pornography companies are privately held, nobody knows for sure how much revenue the porn industry generates. However, estimates range from $5 billion to as much as $97 billion per year, with a social cost much higher than that.

It might be surprising to know that websites displaying porn get more traffic than Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined. Every week there are thousands of new porn sites created, with a nearly uncountable number of porn sites today. The best internet filters can block these sites, because this is a problem that is not going away anytime soon.

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Internet Filter FAQ

Internet filters are useful for anyone who wants to ensure that illicit content is not available to users of their Internet connections and services. Customers of Internet filtering solutions tend to be parents, with the remainder being libraries, religious and community organizations, and businesses.
Internet filtering solutions are more commonly designed and implemented on an individual basis, particularly for parents who are concerned about their children accessing problematic content online. However, businesses are also customers of Internet filtering software companies because they have specific liabilities they want to avoid when it comes to employees accessing pornography, gambling, or engaging in other online activities that are not part of their job descriptions.
Internet filtering software costs differ depending on the pricing and subscription models each vendor follows. They can range from under $10/month per device to $70-$150 for multiple computers. Cost will also vary depending on the number and complexity of the features involved in the software.
There are many different kinds of filters: software, hardware, DNS, proxy, and Virtual Private Network (VPN). Each of these has a different way of detecting and blocking access to sites known to contain or link to undesirable content. Some rely on "allow lists" of good online resources and block lists of bad online resources. Others have sophisticated programming that scans and analyzes a site prior to allowing or blocking access to it on screen.
Setting up an Internet filter should only take a few minutes if the software is designed well. The best Internet filtering software typically has a configuration "wizard" routine that will walk you through all the default and recommended settings to get you started right away. Once the software is set up, it shouldn't take any further configuration or intervention beyond the occasional adjustment for newly problematic websites.
No internet filtering solution is perfect. Users have been able to successfully interfere with almost every internet filtering software solution in existence. They often get "cheats" and special code or passwords from friends or online resources where such things are published. It is important for the administrator of the software to regularly review access logs and determine whether a particular user is abiding by the rules and agreements around the devices and use of the internet connection they have access to.
Internet filtering software should include such features as remote and local administrator controls, time management, profanity masking, alerts and notifications, reports about a user's online activity, individual user profiles, and controls to fine tune the specific websites that might have been blocked but that the user should still have access to. It should also have good support from the software vendor, the very least of which should be email and chat with a customer service representative at extended hours.
At times, internet filtering software can be either over or under aggressive in blocking specific types of content. For example, information about the human body, which may include reproductive organ descriptions, could be blocked when a student is doing a science report for an anatomy class. That would be an example of overblocking. An example of underblocking is when a website for a video game is mainly graphical and changes often, thus not providing enough current information in a textual format that is easy for the software to interpret and execute a blocking routine on.
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Continued from above...

Fortunately, internet filter programs exist to keep objectionable content away from innocent children. These programs each have a unique way of dealing with this difficult challenge.

There are a number of factors to consider when shopping for an internet filter. Some of these include:

  • Features. Can you only block websites? What about blocking or filtering email, file-sharing services, and chat rooms? Most of all, are they easy to use and difficult for children to circumvent?
  • Support. Look for as much support as you can get: toll-free phone service, chat, and email support taking no longer than 3 days from beginning to resolution.
  • Cost. Look out for services that charge you a fee to answer your questions. Pay attention to the full cost of the software and keep an eye on the number of months or years you're subscribing to.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best internet filters available today. We hope this information helps you protect you and your family right away!

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