Norton Online Family
Norton Online Family is among the newest of the parental control products, but it doesn’t lag behind its more established competitors, and in some ways it surpasses them. Leveraging Symantec’s security expertise, Norton Online Family is built on a solid foundation with good security and accuracy. Where Norton shines is in the thoughtful, comprehensive approach it takes to monitoring and controlling the entire online experience.
Set up was straightforward, but it required the creation of extra Windows accounts to match user profiles, a step that has big security advantages but can cause inconveniences for many home users. The web-based administrative interface is attractive and easy to navigate. Norton Online Family stores all information online, so it allows remote access and the ability to manage multiple computers. Norton Online Family offers some of the best online reporting we saw, including tables with multiple options like the ability to sort by column.
Norton Online Family was among the most accurate of all the products tested. Norton blocked 99 percent of the pornography sites, among the best of nine products tested, and blocked 77 percent of the violent websites. Norton’s overblocking was slight – just 3 percent of the sexual health sites.
Symantec has a lot of experience with security, so it wasn’t a surprise that Norton’s security was strong. Norton handled search engine caches, translators, proxies, circumvention clients, and attempts to halt the system. But like most of the parental controls, Norton only blocks proxies that are on the product’s blacklist, so we were able to access blocked material with an unlisted proxy.
Norton shines with a strong set of features, such as the ability to monitor activity remotely for different events such as Instant Messaging, web access, and even online videos. Norton also offers some privacy options many parents with appreciate, with the ability to block private information such as name, address, and social security number.