WebWatcher Review - The Introduction
The latest parental control products trend toward getting the child's understanding and agreement that parents want to keep their darlings safe from cyber bullying, Web predators, and other dangers. Sometimes, though, what you really need is a full record of everything the kid is doing at the computer. WebWatcher ($169.95, now $97.00 with our 40% discount) from Awareness Technologies records every single action on the child's monitored computer and lets parents configure settings and view logs remotely.
The new and improved WebWatcher is unlike any other recording and monitoring software on the market. WebWatcher has a newly designed interface that allows you to easily access what you want with the click of your mouse. The new interface gives you the option to filter the recorded information by date. WebWatcher records emails, chats from the most popular chat clients including Facebook, instant messages, keystrokes including passwords, websites visited, searches performed and screenshots.
WebWatcher's Main Features:
- Emails sent and received including webmail.
- Instant messages and chats.
- Websites visited.
- Web searches.
- Records every keystroke.
- Facebook activity.
- Monitor and block websites.
- Word & Excel documents.
- Applications used.
- Takes automatic screenshots.
- Monitor from anywhere.
- Web content filtering.
WebWatcher Monitoring Features Review
WebWatcher records all Internet sites looked at, all programs ran, all instant messages and email communications, and all Internet searches. It also records periodic screenshots, saves all keystrokes, and adds detailed monitoring for social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.
By default, all users are treated the same, but parents can optionally select multiple profiles with separate configurations. For example, parents who share the PC used by their kids could define a parents profile and turn off all monitoring and recording for that profile.
How WebWatcher Works
WebWatcher has the ability to notify parents of specific Internet actions and interactions. It will email a notification when your children visits Internet web sites matching almost three dozen web categories (and numerous sub-categories). WebWatcher does not send website notifications immediately, but rather, bundles them together by hour, day, week, or month.
WebWatcher includes the following monitoring features:
- Record Websites Visited - Which websites are they visiting online?
- Block Unwanted Websites - Block websites by keyword, key phrase or website URL.
- Take Screenshots in Real Time - See what your children are seeing as they see it happen on their own monitor.
- Record Instant Messages - Who are they chatting to and what are they saying to each other?
- Record Emails & Attachments - Your children can no longer send secret emails to each other. You will have access to everything including email attachments.
- Log Keystrokes Online & Offline - Record every keystroke typed on their keyboard including passwords.
- Runs Invisibly - Your children won't know this is installed because it hides itself very well. WebWatcher is not found in the registry, program files, or the Windows task manager.
The missing report: Based on our in-depth review of WebWatcher, we found that this software package is currently missing the ability to monitor files uploaded, files downloaded, accessed files, files printed, and clipboard logging. However, overall, this software has many of the features most customers want in a monitoring spy software package. In the future, we'd also like to see WebWatcher add a Macintosh supported version.
Need a comparison of WebWatcher to their competition? Take a peek at the TopFiveAwards comparison chart to see how WebWatcher stacks up with their included features!
WebWatcher Content Filtering Features Review
Not only does all activity get recorded by WebWatcher on the monitored computer, but content filtering is also included with WebWatcher's features. Just like other leading parental control monitoring programs out there, WebWatcher supplies the parent with the capability to filter all content, including media, that the kid may encounter online. WebWatcher also supports keyword alerts. When WebWatcher encounters the given keyword during a session, you'll receive an e-mail that the keyword has been utilized. Keyword alerts function if an individual of the monitored computer uses the keyword in an e-mail, an Internet research or the keyword is contained in content as they browse the Internet.
WebWatcher defines 35 important site classes and many sub-categories. If the child tries to see a blocked website, the default message states "This site has been blocked per your company's Internet plan." Customization can be requested by parents from Awareness Technologies to alter or remove that information if needed.
WebWatcher also includes the following content filtering features:
- Data Sorting - Using the WebWatcher alert system, you can sort, filter, and prioritize your recorded data immediately.
- Alert Word Screenshots - You can set up WebWatcher to capture a screenshot on a trigger word event whether it is typed or came across on the Internet in their web browser. If "donkey" is a configured alert word, WebWatcher would take a screenshot if they type that word or see that word while browsing the web.
- Site Blocking - Block websites instantly in real time.
Parents can also restrict the times when specific programs can be used. The first step is to establish a schedule profile by saving one or more time periods for blocking on specific days. Time periods can not overlap, can not mix or end at night, and must start and end on five minute intervals. These requests imply that there is no way to, for instance, block usage of specific programs all night. We feel WebWatcher should implement the simple grid-based scheduling found in most parental control products.
Anything can be found online by anyone, regardless of how crazy, creating the demand for computer monitoring and internet filtering applications. If you are like the majority of people, you do not have the time to read every single item of communication that is done with the computer that you are wanting to monitor. WebWatcher makes parental monitoring much simpler with a proven easy method of quickly determining which emails, IMs, etc. need your consideration.
With WebWatcher, we were unable to find a content filter for chat filtering option that is seen in other comparable monitoring products.
WebWatcher Reporting Features Review
Parents have the ability to obtain their child's computer usage records on the Internet through a simple to use interface. The interface makes monitoring more than one user on a computer a cinch. Each session is recorded by date and time, as well as with an individual name of the children being monitored. The ability is provided by the interface to quickly read through recorded information on key words and dates so parents are in a position to quickly identify and thwart any online risk. WebWatcher also keeps track of the searches performed on the monitored computer.
WebWatcher stores all recorded monitoring data in an online account. To track a child's web usage, the parent just logs onto the on-line account and opens the monitoring interface. Because WebWatcher records monitoring information in real time, the parent is actually able to track the child's PC usage as soon as the child performs an action on the computer.
WebWatcher's log data provides parents with a complete report of most electronic mail conversations and instant messenger conversations. Parents may also view a listing of all the sites visited and screenshots taken as a result of use of their restricted keywords feature. Further, most of the keystrokes entered by the children are available in a list format. The activity reports can be accessed through any computer by having a web connection, but the quantity of information supplied in the report can be overwhelming for parents. There is an online dashboard with summarized data supplied with the premium version, but that will set you back extra money. While the activity reports are detailed, there is no record of conversations on social media sites and automatic alerts cannot be received via text message.
Some of the missing features we looked for with WebWatcher in the reporting functions was the ability to generate top 10 lists, we couldn't find an email log delivery system or an FTP log delivery, and there was no localized reporting system if the administrator is on the monitored PC and simply trying to view logs.
WebWatcher Security Features Review
WebWatcher is completely invisible. There is absolutely no trace of the software as it doesn't appear in the Registry, the Process List, the System Tray, the Task Manager, on the Desktop, or in Add/Remove Programs. There aren't even visible installation files that can be seen!
For security features, we'd like to see WebWatcher add logging scheduling, lock down scheduling, splash screen alerts, and stealth hot keys to activate a control panel on the PC being monitored.
WebWatcher Review Conclusion
WebWatcher is, without a doubt, one of the better remote monitoring software products that are available. We'd prefer if WebWatcher updated the look and feel of their product to make it a little more user friendly. As for the pricing of WebWatcher, at their $169 list price, it is far more expensive than all of their competition. Even with our discount of 40% off, WebWatcher is still around $30.00 more expensive than Realtime-Spy (see our Realtime-Spy review).
The WebWatcher computer software suite makes it to be easy for parents to discover their child's Internet usage habits. This is a great product for a parent to see what activities their children participate in online and offers an open door to communicate the do's and don'ts of proper safe Internet use.
- Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7.