The internet is an established part of our world, and modern education has included it in the education of our children. Unlike past generations, where the internet was as much a source of games and amusement as a tool for adults, these days our children are immersed in it. Given that it is a part of their daily lives at school, it naturally follows that we can't keep them from their computers at home so they can do research and homework on it. With that in mind, we have to keep a close watch on the things our kids do online so that they don't unwittingly become security risks in this day and age of computer-related crimes.
There are two types of programs that will help our home security over the internet immensely; the first is firewalls, which keep out viruses and spyware that our kids may accidentally touch on in the course of conducting their research. The second is child safety software, which are programs especially geared towards helping parents monitor and control their children's online time. Here are the top three free picks for firewalls and child safety programs you can download.
1) Comodo Firewall - one of the top picks among both free and purchaseable firewalls, comodo scans all incoming internet traffic before actually allowing it to touch any other part of your PC. It's main feature is a program behavior analyzer that detects if programs have any unusual activity that may signal a virus or worm in the program. For inert viruses it also has a trojan protocol detector that is constantly updated online.
2) Kiero Personal Firewall - this is a software that has been reported by users to offer them minimal headache in operation and use. While it's protections aren't as sturdy as some other firewall programs, it offers reasonable defense nontheless. It's main strength is it's ease of use, so that you can teach your children to operate it, giving them the benefits of learning internet security early in life.
3) Zone Alarm - this is rated as a cross between comodo and kiero. It offers more security options than Kiero and is easier to use than comodo. The most balanced choice between ease of use and security. Depending on your preferences, it can also be taught to your children, but it's advanced settings may actually cause them to mess up your firewall, so it might be a good idea to keep the operation of this software to yourself.
1) EZ off - this program is essentially a time management software for your computer. It will automatically turn the PC on and off at scheduled intervals, allowing you to control how much time your children spend on the net. This is best used to keep your kids from playing video games past their bedtime. The timer also features a calendar and scheduler, so that you can even keep the PC running for set intervals when you're not at home.
2) Windows Supervisor - this is an office program that can also be used at home. It's main purpose is to monitor all logs made on the computer, so that you will be able to tell not only WHEN your children access the internet, you'll be able to tell what activity was running when they were there, including what sites they visited, files they up or downloaded, programs executed, and even keyboard typing done.
3) StopGame - for those who want to let their children enjoy the internet from time to time, a less-strict version of EZ off is similar to a firewall in that it lets certain, specified programs and web sites be accessed at certain times of day by the computer. If your kids are, for example, doing homework from 6pm to 8pm and you let them have game time from 8pm to 10pm, you can set this program to allow them access to certain games (that you specify) from the 8 to 10 slot. Also, taking a cue from Windows Supervisor, it will be able to monitor past activity as far as the allowed game programs listed are concerned, as well as attempts made by your kids to access other sites.