Monday, March 19, 2012
This month, I am reviewing Action Alert, an internet safety tool that allows you to protect your kids from harm while using the computer. Because let's face it: the internet is a tremendous learning tool that we will probably never give up. Even the youngest children can benefit greatly from online games and learning videos. It's just the creepy weirdos that have made the internet a worldly nightmare for parents who aren't quite sure if they have the right protection.
Obviously, keep all computers that your children have access to, within your eyesight--in common family areas. But beyond that, Action Alert can help in other ways.
Action Alert comes with built-in filters which you can customize as "family-friendly". You can block inappropriate sites, although it will already block sites deemed inappropriate or likely to cause SPAM.
Action Alert will notify you when a "questionable word" has been typed by a computer user. You will get an instant email notification or a text and guess what? You can shut that computer down immediately from a remote location. Action Alert also records up to 60 hours of screen shots and videos. Every few seconds, it snaps a shot of what's being viewed on that computer. It also records usernames and passwords for all sites the user accesses, and will show email and IM chatting on both sides of the screen (what your child types and what is communicated to them by others).
Another feature which is handy to have for "computer hogs" is a timer, which you can set to allow certain times of day a computer can be used or set time limits on computer usage.
Action Alert really works. I was looking for a Bible reference and I knew it had a phrase with the word "hell". Lickety split, I got an email stating that the word "hell" had been typed on my keyboard. I had to giggle, but it was a nice test drive of the product.
Action Alert brought to my attention that I have been too lax with my kids on the computer. I never allow them to take their laptops upstairs, and they know they have to ask to Google a particular phrase (because we all know that when a child searches for "toys", the results aren't always going to be pogo sticks and Legos. Sad, but true). But beyond that, I just trusted them to do the right thing. As they get older and hit the pre-teen years, I need to realize that natural curosities are going to spring up, and having wide-open access to The World At Large isn't healthy for them. Their innocence is still worth protecting.
The award-winning Action Alert has been featured on the Today Show, as well as being honored with awards from Disney Parenting. The free version provides you a basic set up. The Maximum Protection version is $29.99, available here.
**I was provided with free access to Action Alert to review this product. No other compensation was provided to me.
See what the other folks at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew had to say about this product here.