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      January 15, 2019

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Safe Eyes vs PC Tattletale

Best Internet Filters

To help you find the Best Internet Filters, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Safe Eyes and PC Tattletale.

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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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2019

Internet Filter Reviews

3.5 stars
Safe Eyes

SAFE EYES Visit Site

Cost:

$49.95 per year for up to 3 computers (Android and iOS not included)

$69.95 per year bundled with McAfee Antivirus for up to 3 computers (Android and iOS included)

$9.99 per month billed monthly (only available as a mobile purchase)

$8.33 per month billed annually (only available as a Windows purchase)

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:

  • Location alert history
  • System alert history
  • List of installed apps
  • App blocking
  • Screen time management
  • Digital time-out
  • Locate children on interactive map
  • Receive check-in alerts
  • Receive automatic alerts when kids arrive or leave a known place

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.

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2 stars
PC Tattletale

PC TATTLETALE Visit Site

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.

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.

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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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