General Feature Overview
Chat Monitor's main screen lets parents block or allow any
of the supported IM or chat clients, as well as limit usage
times. The simple, tree-based menu lets parents navigate easily
and set options quickly.
With a library of over 2,000 trigger words and phrases,
parents can filter, block, or receive an alert when a child
sends or receives offensive messages. Parents can also enter
personal information triggers, such as phone numbers or proper
names. You can group word triggers into three lists—High
Risk, Personal Information, and Other—and set the program
to replace offensive words with asterisks or to shut down the
chat when triggers are used.
Every time a child begins an IM
or Chat session, Chat Monitor starts a log. The log's header
shows the computer name, chat client used, user name, IP address,
and software information.
Both sides of the conversation are recorded, along with
start and end times. Summary reports show number of sessions,
clients used, violations, and total amount of time spent chatting.
Parents can set the program to send summary reports daily
or hourly, with or without the conversation logs. Chat Monitor
zips long log files together for mailing but gives them all
the same date and time, so it's hard to find a particular chat
without opening each file.
Chat Monitor takes a step back from
the graphical time grid in NetNanny 5, providing a list-based
time scheduler. It's still easy to use, however, and lets you
sync with the NIST atomic clock, thwarting possible attempts
to gain more online time by changing the Windows clock.
Although no filter is a replacement for good parenting,
NetNanny Chat Monitor 2.0 helps limit the risk of good children
being harmed online.
The vendor provides email support, which can be useful to those
who are unsure about how to use Parental Control Software.
By Jay Munro