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Wednesday, June 23rd
You may recognize the name McAfee from the familiar anti-virus software installed on most new computers. You may have even purchased and configured the Safe Eyes software McAfee publishes to help you filter and monitor your kids' activities online.
Safe Eyes is available for Windows, iOS and Android devices. Mac OS devices seem to have been left out of their offering at this time, which is unfortunate since Mac is becoming a more popular platform than Windows for family computing.
You can get the mobile app for $9.99 per month, billed monthly. Or you can buy the Windows-only $8.33 per month plan, billed annually. We found the name and pricing a little confusing because another McAfee website advertised McAfee "Safe Eyes" and the cost at $49.95 per year for up to 3 computers, but with no Android or iOS available. The alternative was $69.95 per year bundled with McAfee Antivirus for up to 3 computers, this time with Android and iOS included. The difference in name and price and which platforms were available at each price was a little baffling.
There is a 30-day money-back trial available if you want to see whether it will work for your family.
Safe Eyes lets you see each device's activity, including websites and applications accessed as well as the device's current location and places where the child used its check-in feature. So, for example, if your child is away from home going to the movies with friends, you'll get an alert when they arrive.
If you have a need to set rules and timeframes for access on a device, website, or app, you can use pre-defined age-based rules and customize them based on each child's needs. If there is any kind of exception needed for a particular rule, you can allow your child to request extra app time or access blocked apps or websites.
Don't be surprised if you're confused as you try to figure out what Safe Eyes offers. When we reviewed the website, we found a three-column list of features which said the ones common to all platforms include:
However, we found that some of the iOS-only features it lists are "checked" on the three-column list. A link on the page specifically for iOS devices noted that the experience on Windows and Android devices differs from iOS because iOS is more advanced. For example, on iOS you can use "geofencing" to define "places" to send automatic notifications when your child arrives at or departs from the geofence. But those features are also listed for Android and Windows. On iOS you can be alerted in an activity feed when a child tries to uninstall Safe Eyes or disable features, but Windows and Android also show a list of installed apps for each device. The truly iOS-only features seemed to be reports of time usage limit violations on texting, phone or other apps that aren't blocked by Safe Eyes and seeing the last known location of your family member's device.
Support is available only via a McAfee general support portal website for all its products and not just for Safe Eyes. That site presents a lot of self-help and community-based options up front, but buries the contact Support button below the scroll line. On the direct contact page there is yet another list of categorized support options, now including social media, but, again, the "submit a case online" link is buried below the scroll line. That link only leads to a simple contact form where you submit your description and then wait for the page to refresh showing you a button to initiate chat. The page claims support is available 24/7. We were able to connect with chat in about 2 minutes. But an inquiry into the confusion of features on different platforms took about 20 minutes to complete, with the representative having to check with a higher-level team twice to get the correct answer.
McAfee has three listings with the Better Business Bureau, two of which are the same, but only one customer review, no accreditation and no rating. The one customer review was a complaint about not having authorized automatic billing. There was no response or resolution from McAfee. On iTunes, the iOS app enjoys a 4.5/5 star review with lesser-starred reviews complaining of kids being able to hack the app and turn everything off, too much difficulty in configuring it, and lack of comparable features on iOS as on Android. Another major review site gave it lower marks for being expensive, not available on Macs, and no web-based interface
Due to the confusing nature of the features list, a long support chat with an unknowledgeable support person, and problems with kids being able to hack the app and turn it off, our rating is lower than the overall iTunes Store rating. But the software might still be of good use for most users who already have McAfee products and want the convenience of adding Safe Eyes to that subscription set.
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.
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:
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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