Review: Control and monitor your kids' online activity with Qustodio

What do your kids do online all day, anyway? Find out with this parent-friendly freeware.

Qustodio helps parents keep their kids safe online by leveling the playing field against the biggest threat: your tech-savvy kids, themselves. Even the cleverest little minds will find it all but impossible to bypass Qustodio's constant monitoring of their online activity: What sites they visit, who they visit with, and what they say and do. It covers social media sites, e-mail, and the sites kids visit, not to mention the ones they shouldn't; Qustodio blocks access to those sites, and you know which ones we mean, plus any you deem inappropriate for the progeny. You can configure separate accounts with different settings for each child, so the 13-year-old doesn't have to share the 8-year-old's security levels, even if you think they should. And even Little Einstein will have a hard time cracking Qustodio's shell. Here's another break: Qustodio is free.

When you install Qustodio, you must close all your browsers to enable the program's security features and toolbar icon. Next comes an extensive but easy, wizard-based setup process that involves creating a password, entering some personal and family information, and setting up separate accounts for each child. But don't fret; it's one of the friendliest wizards we've encountered, with each step explained and even nicely illustrated, and the whole setup process is topped with a video tutorial. In setting up an account for each child, we accepted the default settings, though it's easy to change them later and customize each account's settings, avatar, and other options. We could also choose to hide Qustodio; something that will appeal to parents of older children. Once we'd set up and activated Qustodio, it didn't take us long to find sites for it to block! Of course, we'd have to spend a lot of time online to generate the sort of activity reports Qustodio depicts in examples; but not to worry: your kids have that part covered, as you'll see when you access their log files.

Parents who want to know what their kids do online should try the easy-to-use (but hard to bypass) Qustodio.

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