Verity Parental Control is another freeware program that will help you keep your kids safe on the internet, as well as offline.
Additionally, the program helps to keep your computer secure by monitoring all activity, not just when kids are on it. It’s simple to install and very easy to use.
As a reviewer of free programs, one of the things that I get the most requests for is parental control software. With the Internet being so easy to access now it is even easier for our children and others to see or do things that they should not on the computer.
Now, I’m not talking about things like viruses or malware, specifically. What I am talking about are things like making sure your children are not visiting websites that they should not visit, as well as making sure that they are not running programs that they should not be running. For most of us it is a no-brainer that we have some kind of software to protect our children as well as ourselves on the computer so it’s no surprise that there are hundreds of options in both paid and free software.
As with anything else I always prefer simplicity in my software for protection. This applies to both anti-piracy programs as well as parental control and protection programs. Therefore I was quite pleased to learn about this particular bit of handy freeware called Verity Parental Control because it is very simple and yet, by thinking outside the box it is also very powerful.
Verity Parental Control (VPC) approaches the subject of security and protection for yourself, your computer, and your children from a simple yet powerful standpoint. By going back to the basics VPC offers powerful protection and monitoring without giving you a headache over options from a 15 hour learning curve. It does this in three main ways: screenshots, logs, and limits. It will allow you to set limits on things like Internet access as well as program access. It also takes screenshots at regular, specified intervals of whatever is happening on your computer at that time. Also, it keeps logs of almost all activity on the computer including keystrokes, mouse clicks, and Internet sites visited or programs that have been accessed. With these particular points VPC is able to give you the control over your computer that you need a while keeping things simple and easy. It does have other options, such as remote access through Internet connection, but for purposes of this article and to keep things simple I wanted to focus on these three main ways that it protects you.
The first and, in my opinion, most brilliant a way that VPC helps to protect you is by taking screenshots of whatever is happening on your computer at any particular time. You can specify the interval at which you want the program to take screenshots. You can specify where you want the screenshots to be stored. You can tell it not to take screenshots at all if you don’t want to. So, you could set the program so that any time VPC is running it will automatically take a screen shot every five seconds, or every ten minutes, whatever you like. Normally, VPC runs quietly in the system tray so there is no notification given when a screen shot is taken. However, there is a warning that pops up when it is first run that will let the user know that they are being monitored, so no one can say fair warning wasn’t given. Additionally, you can tell VPC to only take screenshots of specific things like chat programs or peer to peer file transfer programs. There’s a lot of leeway as far as to what you can choose to do with the screenshots system so take time to explore it and tailor it to your needs or desires.
In addition to screenshots VPC also allows you to set limits on your computer. These limits can include things like not allowing certain programs, web sites, and other actions. I tested this particular feature very thoroughly and I discovered that it is pretty darn effective. As an example, I added a few programs to the list of prohibited programs and then tried to run them. Once you have completed your list and restarted the program, VPC will then watch for those prohibited items, and automatically close them if they are detected. For instance: Notepad is one of the programs I added to my prohibited list. When I attempted to run Notepad it did actually run for approximately three or four seconds. But then, just as I went to begin editing a document, VPC closed Notepad and gave me a notification in the system tray saying that notepad.exe is not allowed on this computer. There are lots of options for this particular function as well, like adding different prohibitions and restrictions for different users according to their Windows login, setting time limits for system or Internet usage, and lots more. One of the smartest options in this area is that you can have Verity disable the task manager in Windows so users cannot simply use CTRL+ALT+DEL to shut off the protection software. In addition, you can also exit the Verity system tray indicator and still have Verity running silently and stealthily in the background, should you desire to keep it secret from users on your system.
The third way that VPC offers protection is by keeping very comprehensive logs of pretty much all activity on the computer. This includes any programs run or attempted to run, as well as loggers of all online chats, programs downloaded, times logged in and out of Windows, and more. These logs are accessible through the VPC interface only if you have the proper e-mail address and a password that VPC is registered with on your system. That means the kids can’t go in an erase their tracks, so to speak. Additionally, these logs (as well as pretty much everything else that VPC does) are available for review and changes online. This means that you can access it and its records, as well as modify permissions or restrictions, from anywhere that has Internet access. You can you even do it through the web browser on your mobile device by going to the appropriate VPC web site, although there is not a dedicated mobile app offered at this time. Hopefully, as with any good bit of freeware, we will see that implemented in the future.
The verdict: VPC offers most, if not all, of the power and functionality of the big name and well-known protection programs at no cost. By approaching that the concept of protection from a basic and a simple direction, VPC manages to stand out as one of the best parental control in protection programs that I have seen, free or otherwise. While there may seem like a lot of information here, it’s broken down in an easy to learn and understand format in the great Help files that come with VPC and it really is so easy to use that you’ll be moving right along within moments of finishing the installation. I would recommend it for anyone at all who owns a computer, whether they are using it to monitor their children or their roommates, restrict the access to certain programs or websites, or just to see what is happening on your system when you are not there. Give it a try and see for yourself if it will fulfill your needs for security. Until next time, my friends.
Get Verity Parental Control here (Windows).