Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The "Key" to Internet Safety

TOS Product Review - PG Key
PG Key, LLC
Keyware, Inc., 2585 N. 1st Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719
info@pgkey.com
sales@pgkey.com
1-800-301-8698 (office hours are M-F
8 to 5pm MST)



Have you given any thought to the safety of your children using the internet?  Are you willing to try a product that might make you a bit more comfortable when the kids say, "Can I get on the computer?"  How about PG Key? 

I recently received this product to use for a TOS product review.  Here's what I found out about this nifty little "key".

That red thing over there on the right goes into the USB spot on your computer.  It's about the size of a memory stick you might use to store documents.  Once you plug it in, it stays there.

Basically, you set up what you want to allow/control for each user of the computer, and the "key" does the monitoring for you.  While it monitors, it filters and denies items you don't want users to access.  You can use website blocking, filtering, access and time control features.  When you activate your account online there is a place to set up your controls under your own password.  In addition, you can set up e-mail or mobile notifications to alert you about attempted misuse.  The key records the most recent 60 hours of computer use.  Yes, you get your own mini video of where the user went and what they saw. 

There is a one time cost of $49.99 plus shipping, and no annual fees are required.  The product works with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.  You will need 1 key per computer in your house that needs to be protected.  You may request a free trial before purchasing the "key".  Online support, a toll free phone number and e-mail support are available. 


The PG Key site states:

    "Strong and effective parenting is the most critical part of any strategy to deal with these challenges."

    "Simply plugging PG Key into a child’s or teen’s computer allows parents to follow the advice so often given by law enforcement and parenting experts: 1) Control when and how long the computer is used, 2) Properly setup your system with filters and web site blocking, 3) Create the “over their shoulder” environment that encourages kids to act the same way “on line” as they do in every other part of their life."

    "Simply put - PG Key does NOT replace parenting with technology - It ENABLES parenting with technology."

Likes:  **Filtering, blocking and alert system help keep out unwanted material
**No annual fees
**Easy installation and setup
**Guarantee and warranty/repair and replacement
**Effective blocking and filtering for younger children


Things to Consider:  **Installation can require support help depending on your browser and other filtering software you may already be using, does not seem very compatible
**If inappropriate sites, etc. are reached, (i.e., a search with alternate terms bringing up something you tried to block) the user may still get to the information, but you will get an e-mail letting you know they saw it and a recording of what they saw (which means you both get to see what you tried to block)
**may not be as effective for older children/teens - parental involvement/monitoring need to be established 

This product is certainly a good attempt to help parents monitor and filter internet usage.  Personally, it was not a great realization that material (such as pornographic pictures, etc.) could still be accessed, followed by an alert allowing me to discuss it with my teen.  I'm glad the company points out that it enables parenting with technology rather than replacing parenting with technology.  It would be great to have this a bit more compatible with the browsers we use, but otherwise the setup was easy to follow.  We did find that it slowed down our computer a bit, but perhaps it was just our computer.  Every little bit helps when trying to keep our kids safe.  I think I'll still be watching and checking over the shoulder randomly, but that's just the mom in me I guess. Although I would really love to say everyone needs one of these, I am hesitant to do so due to the material that was still accessible for anyone creative enough to use different search terms.

This product was sent to me free of cost by the vendor to use in return for providing an honest review.  No further compensation was received.  For other TOS reviews on this product, click here.

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