One of the things that parents need to consider when configuring parental controls and monitoring applications for their children on computer systems is how easy it is to bypass those mechanisms that are designed to protect the underage computer users.
Qustodio is a free parental control and Internet monitoring application for the Windows operating system. The developers claim that the program is protected against tampering. That's a bold claim and one of the things that I investigated during tests.
When you first install the software on a Windows computer system you are asked to create an admin account. This account is used to manage and limit online access. The program asks you to select the number of children that use the computer and suggests to create a separate Windows account for the children for improved protection against tampering. New accounts can be generated effortlessly during setup.
A restart is required once the initial setup has been completed before the actual monitoring and protecting starts.
The program opens an activity summary page when the admin user is logged in that provides information about a user's activities. This includes the type of websites visited (like tech, entertainment and social networking) as well as individual websites that have been opened by the selected user.
The Rules and Settings tab allows the parent to configure web browsing rules. Here it is for instance possible to enable or disable certain types of websites. This works similar to the filtering provided by OpenDNS where users can enable or block website categories as well. Several website categories are blocked by default, including websites related to mature content, weapons or violence. Additional categories like games, forums, health or social networking sites can be added to the block list. Another possibility is to allow access to a category but add it to a list of monitored categories. The program will send out emails whenever children are accessing websites that are listed under that category.
Qustodio's effectiveness relies on the configuration of user accounts for each children on the system, as well as additional hardening that include blocking the computer's BIOS with a password and disabling booting from optical discs and external drives.
This should keep most children away from bypassing the parental controls configured on the computer.
Qustodio works on the user account level which means that it provides more protection than programs designed to protect children in a specific web browser or only certain types of programs. Parents can download the free parental control software from the developer website. It is fully compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Microsoft Windows operating system. (via)
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