Net Nanny does not offer a free trial of any kind or a feature-limited free version. For comparison, Qustodio costs $54.99 for a five-device plan—the same as Net Nanny—and Mobicip costs $49.99.
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When people hear the words “accountability software,” the very first thought that pops into most people’s heads are attempting to keep children safe on the Internet.
The Internet, even though it is a marvel of modern technology, can at times be seedy, nefarious, lurid, or just plain dangerous for children. Social media and other apps share location information. This makes it orders of magnitudes easier for a criminal to find and kidnap a child. Implementing software that prevents kids from entering dangerous sites or chatting with strangers makes them safer.
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In addition to parental control software’s obvious use of blocking pornography, they can also be used to help manage time. Some products come with tools that allow a guardian to granularly provision every hour and minute of the week to schedule when a child can or cannot use a device.
This helps prevent children from becoming Internet-addicted zombies who don’t spend time on other activities like their studies. Furthermore, some software products even come with tools that eliminate all profanity from entering a web browser.
Accountability services and software aren’t only useful in a home environment. Consider an organization like a church, that wants to eliminate the possibility of anyone accessing offensive material on its internal computers, or a school that wants to prevent its students from accessing content that’s inappropriate for a minor.
There are a lot of other use cases for this type of software, but without delving too deep into all of them, I did want to compare two of the leading services: Net Nanny vs Covenant Eyes.
Covenant Eyes vs Net Nanny Price Comparison
The prices are actually significantly different. Typically competitors in the same industry have similar pricing plans, but the prices between Net Nanny and Covenant Eyes aren’t even close. Let’s take a look.
The following outlines Covenant Eyes’ plans and pricing:
- Personal Plan – $11.99 per month ($143.88 per year), $2 per additional person
- Family Plan – $15.99 per month ($191.88 per year)
The following outlines Net Nanny’s plans and pricing:
- 1 Computer protection – $39.99 per year
- 5 Computers protection – $59.99 per year
- 10 Computers protection – $89.99 per year
- 15 Computers protection – $119.99 per year
The main difference, however, is that Covenant Eyes allows one account to be tracked on an unlimited device, whereas Net nanny uses a per-device model. But consider that Net Nanny’s most expensive package protects 15 computers and costs $119.99 per year, while the cheapest individual plan offered by Covenant Eyes costs $143.88 per year.
If you’re a very price conscious person, there’s no question that Net Nanny is superior – at least when considering the cost. If you wanted the absolute cheapest protection and opted for Net Nanny’s one computer protection plan, you would save $103.87 per year when compared to the individual plan offered by Covenant Eyes.
Also, both providers claim to offer a free trial. In reality, each provider has a “fully featured free trial” that lasts the same length as their money back guarantee, meaning you will be required to enter payment card information to start the “free trial.”
If you are dissatisfied, you can then request to get your money back. Net Nanny offers a 14-day money back guarantee, which I suppose is better than nothing. Most providers, as does Covenant Eyes, offer a more standard 30-day money back guarantee.
I will say this for Net Nanny, however: I was impressed to see Net Nanny refunds automatic billings because most companies do not and intentionally create hooks to bill customers they have duped into signing up automatically. Net Nanny has a policy that allows for a refund of automatic renewals within 90 days of the recurring billing. It’s nice to see a software company with integrity.
Net Nanny vs Covenant Eyes: Features
Net Nanny has a long list of comprehensive features, including what I would consider being the core two features of this type of software: an Internet filter and parental controls.
The Internet filter and parental controls allow an administrator to set different dangerous categories to one of three levels: block, warn, or allow. Some of the categories included are alcohol, dating, death and gore, nudity, pornography, profanity, weapons, tobacco, abortion, anime, and more.
Each category consists of a list of curated sites to ensure the user doesn’t have access to them. Then, Net Nanny will generate a report that shows you all of an account’s activity.
It can generate reports, show you the top blocked domains, show you activity on a weekly basis, and display alerts. To make things even easier, Net Nanny includes a remote management console, so you can log in through a web portal to monitor user activities in real time.
Furthermore, it has a profanity masking feature. This feature does not actively block sites, because any website with a commenting feature could become a host to profanity. Instead, the profanity filter masks curse words, so the user is shielded from profane words if they were to visit a forum.
I also like the time management filter. Net Nanny claims that children spend over seven hours a day on the Internet. After seeing my niece and nephew turn into brain-dead zombies when they watch YouTube Kids on my iPad, I’m wondering if kids don’t spend more than seven hours a day on the Internet. And it is really difficult trying to manage their time.
The time management feature is very granular and allows you to set time allotments and budgets for different days of the week. You can select, in half-hour intervals, every minute of the week for which they are allotted time or blocked.
The following outlines Net Nanny’s list of features:
- Parental controls
- Internet filter
- Ability to block pornographic content
- Time management
- Profanity mask
- Alerts and reporting
- Remote admin
- User profiles
- Available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
Now, let’s take a very brief glance at Covenant Eyes’ features; don’t worry, this won’t take long, because it is drastically more watered down than Net Nanny. More or less, it seems that the main feature of Covenant Eyes is the ability to track which websites you visit. Then, it generates a report and sends it to a trusted friend.
The service is solely focused on accountability instead of using tools to prevent someone from visiting them in the first place actively. There is an optional Internet filter, but it only works on Windows and Mac, though there is limited in-app filtering for iOS. Android and Kindle Fire do not support the filter.
The following outlines Covenant Eyes’ list of features:
- Optional Internet filter
- Available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire HD
- Sends reports to partners and parents
- One account is usable on an unlimited number of devices
I wasn’t altogether impressed with Covenant Eyes list of features. It seems to me that the core feature of Covenant Eyes is accountability via sending a list of the websites and individual uses to a trusted partner or parent. Net Nanny, on the other hand, has accountability and reporting features. In addition, it includes remote management, time management, Internet filters, and a profanity filter.
For those of you who don’t already know, the profanity filter scans HTML text, as well as text in other formats on the web, for matches in its database of vulgar and profane words. When it finds a match, it blacks it out in the web browser, so the user isn’t exposed to it. This may sound trivial, especially if you already have an Internet filter preventing anyone from visiting a vulgar site. However, with social media and other social sites like forums, you never know what words your children will be exposed to.
Altogether, though I do think Covenant Eyes has some decent features, I don’t think it can hold a candle to the long list of Net Nanny’s features. I also didn’t like that Covenant Eyes made the Internet filter optional. It should be included by default, like Net Nanny’s service.
Final Thoughts: Covenant Eyes or Net Nanny?
I think this comparison is heavily one-sided, and that there isn’t any question regarding which is the better service.
Personally, while I do see value in Covenant Eyes and think its solution does indeed serve a purpose and solve a real-world problem, I don’t think it’s the best choice. Net Nanny simply offers a lot more value. It is a much more robust product with oodles more features than Covenant Eyes.
Net Nanny has all the same features as Covenant Eyes and piles on extra features on top for good measure. Oh, and did I mention that in addition to being jam-packed with more features, Net Nanny is actually cheaper?
The only thing I really didn’t like about Net Nanny was that it uses a per device model with its subscriptions. Other than that, I think Net Nanny is superior to Covenant Eyes (unless you want to cover ALL your devices and the math works out – in which case go with Covenant Eyes here)
P.S. If you just want an individual license, I actually preferred Qustodio OVER Net Nanny in this comparison. Be default, it’s my top choice.
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Six Internet Safety Loopholes Parents Need to Know; Free Net Nanny
SALT LAKE CITY, May 31, 2011- When it comes to safety on the Internet, there are widely accepted precautions parents can take to protect children from online bullying, predators and objectionable content such as pornography. There are also loopholes kids use online to get around parental control software such as web filtering. In recognition of Internet Safety Month (June), ContentWatch (www.contentwatch.com) points out six technical loopholes parents should know.
The company is also giving away 2,000 free licenses of Net Nanny (www.netnanny.com), an effective and flexible parental control solution and web filter, at the Net Nanny Facebook page. http://on.fb.me/mtdGx5
Six technical loopholes kids use to bypass security measures:
- Proxy Websites- Many teens use a proxy website, which is essentially a web page within a web page, to circumvent web filters and to surf the web anonymously.
- Peer-to-Peer- Kids use peer-to-peer file sharing to distribute music, photos, and movies to each other. It is possible a child thinks she is downloading an innocent movie that ends up being pornography or hackers can steal personal information when a computer is open to file sharing.
- User-generated Content- Blogs and wikis are user-generated web pages. Most web filters allow these sites, which can contain objectionable material, because they do not have the ability to search content on web pages in real-time.
- Facebook Alias- Kids may create bogus Facebook accounts for their parents to monitor and access while using a different Facebook account with friends. Additionally, a majority of households don't use the privacy controls available on Facebook, potentially exposing a child to predators when kids or parents post names and photos.
- Administration Rights on the Computer- If parents allow kids to access computers with open administration ('admin') rights, they can get around or uninstall any security software, including web filters.
- Using a Website IP Address to Bypass a Web Filter- Each web page has a specific IP address associated with it. Many web filters prevent access based on a website name, but do not block access to an IP address. Kids can easily obtain a web page IP address and then use it to gain access to a website.
'Kids seem to have a technical advantage over their parents,' said Russ Warner, CEO of ContentWatch, maker of Net Nanny. 'It is important for parents to know some of the tricks kids use to get around measures put in place for their safety on the Internet.'
Speaking with your children and setting rules and common sense practices go a long way to protect children online. In order to truly provide a safe Internet environment, parents should be aware of these loopholes kids can use to get around safety precautions.
Watch a quick video on the six loopholes here:http://bit.ly/kEaPrw
Read more about common Internet safety practices here:http://bit.ly/m3CX1x
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Net Nanny is an important and effective tool for Internet safety. It protects children from many of today's dangerous situations. In fact, during one recent 30-day period, Net Nanny effectively blocked more than 83 million pornography, lingerie, and adult/mature websites for its customers.
During Internet Safety Month, the first 2,000 people who 'like' the Net Nanny Facebook page will receive a free license of Net Nanny. ContentWatch encourages people to ask questions, comment on their online concerns or provide Internet safety solutions they have implemented.
Net Nanny is a powerful web filtering tool parents can use to help provide Internet safety for their children. It directly addresses many of the safety concerns parents face, including:
- Proxy websites. Net Nanny detects and controls content from proxy websites.
- Peer-to-Peer. Net Nanny blocks peer-to-peer file sharing.
- Blocking Websites such as Facebook. Net Nanny can block any website, including Facebook, to prevent aliases as well as provide other Facebook monitoring and control tools.
- Blogs and Wikis. Net Nanny reviews blog or wiki content in real-time to determine if it should be blocked.
- Bypassing URL Filter. Net Nanny checks web page content in real time, in addition to the website name or IP address.
- Provides Time Controls. Net Nanny allows parents to set time limits on Internet usage.
- ESRB Rating Enforcement. Net Nanny allows parents to set the Entertainment Software Rating Board ratings allowed for games.
- Profanity Masking. Net Nanny replaces profanity on-screen with non-offensive symbols (masking) on web pages and within user comment sections.
- Parental Monitoring. Net Nanny allows parents to monitor their children's Internet/computer use from work from the web-based Net Nanny admin portal.
- Dynamic Content Analysis. Net Nanny doesn't just block predefined URL lists, it analyzes page contents in real-time to determine if content is objectionable.
- Predators and Cyber-bullies. Net Nanny can monitor Instant Messaging (IM) sessions between a child and others and alerts parents when language may include potentially risky behavior.
'Parents can protect their children from Internet problems with education and by instilling strong rules and precautions,' said Warner. 'Always remember, kids are natural-born technologists- they know how to find the tricks to get around precautions. By openly speaking with children and placing these and other safety measures in place, parents can make the online experience wonderful and safe for their children.'
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About ContentWatch, Inc.
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Based in Salt Lake City, ContentWatch has been delivering Internet security solutions for consumers and businesses since 2001. ContentWatch's mission is to integrate its suite of solutions from the desktop to the mobile market. www.contentwatch.com.