- The Good
- 18 filter categories
- Instant text messaging notifications for flagged activity
- Automatic summary reporting on Internet activity
- The Bad
- Social media monitoring sold separately
- Can get very expensive for multiple devices
Net Nanny has been an industry leader in parental control software for more than two decades. The extensive reporting options and customizable filters allow you to exert just the right amount of control over your child’s online activity. The downside is that it can be expensive and can be antiquated compared to some of the newer offerings. You can sign up for Net Nanny here.
Other Parental Control Reviews
- The Good
- No subscription fee
- Individual filter options
- Limit time on specific sites, not just the entire web
- Pause Internet access for the whole house
- The Bad
- Hardware could require regular upgrades
- Only works around the house without a Circle Go subscription
Circle with Disney is a new take on parental controls. Instead of the software solution that is more common, Circle offers a hardware solution that controls internet access directly from the router. It intercepts data as it travels between devices and the router, so it can monitor and deny traffic that should be blocked.
Other Parental Control Reviews
- $39.99 per device
- $12 per device for five devices or more
- $9 per device for 10 devices or more
- Only $12 for the app
- Free two-week trial
Net Nanny falls into the more expensive category for parental control solutions. Charging per device can rapidly increase the cost, particularly when many people own multiple devices. If you have several children and each has a tablet and smartphone in addition to home computers and laptops, the cost can rapidly grow to more than $100 per year.
Some parental controls cost upwards of $100 per year. Others are much more moderate on an annual basis, but Circle offers a one-time cost of $99 for a solution that could last for years. This puts it solidly in the middle of the shelf for pricing, though there is a Circle Go option that extends the service to 4G LTE devices for an additional $9.95 per month.
- Internet filter
- Pornography blocking
- Time management
- Profanity masking
- Alerts and reporting
- Remote administration
As a long-time industry leader in the parental controls space, Net Nanny offers a complete suite of features designed to give you peace of mind about your children’s online activities. From blocking dangerous or adult sites to filtering out profanity while still displaying the rest of the page, Net Nanny does it all. Other parental control solutions may offer some of these features, but few have such a complete range of products.
- Create individual usage profiles for every user
- Program daily time limits for specific apps and sites
- Set filter levels by age
- Set a BedTime that shuts off the Internet at a preset time
- Pause the Internet for one family member or the whole house
With Circle, you can set the house internet rules and leave Circle to enforce them. If you want the kids to spend less time watching videos, limit them to 90 minutes of videos on YouTube, Netflix, Hulu or other similar sites. Tired of fighting about bedtime? Let Circle shut down the internet on time, every time. Plus, you can add some time if the kids are nearly done with a film or you want to reward good behavior. You have nearly total control over internet access and how it is used.
- Remote Access
- Remote management
- Remote reporting
- Remote administrative login
With Net Nanny, all you need is an internet connection to adjust settings, change access schedules or approve a website. Any changes you make filter down to all connected devices within one minute. Children don’t have to wait for long before they can log back onto a site, and you don’t have to worry if you need to block a site remotely. Using a computer or the app from your smartphone, you can make changes as needed, at home or on the go.
- Remote Access
- Remote management
Circle only functions around the home. This means you don’t need remote access to make changes when you can connect wirelessly and update settings. If you want remote access, you’ll want a service like Circle Go, which extends all of your device settings onto 4G LTE networks, so the same settings apply at home and on the go. You can manage setting changes remotely, but this only applies to devices connected to your home Wi-Fi.
- Supported Devices
As a cloud-based system, Net Nanny offers remote access to your account through any device running on a compatible operating system. This includes most PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. As long as you have an internet connection, you can log in to the management portal and make changes to settings and schedules.
- Supported Devices
Circle is compatible with virtually any router, but the control mechanism is through an app-based interface. That means you will need a device that can run on Android or iOS to change the settings and set up user profiles. Both the Android and iOS apps offer the same functionality, and you can even use a PC if you have an emulator that allows you to run Android apps.
Net Nanny: User Reviews
Circle with Disney: User Reviews
How Does Net Nanny Work?
Getting started with Net Nanny is quick and easy. The installation wizard walks you through the process of installing the monitoring software locally on your computer and helps you set up profiles and accounts for each family member. During the setup process, you’ll also set permissions and features to deal with different levels of internet access.
Once you have the basics set up on your computer, you can also install the app on individual devices. Have your kids download the app onto their phones and tablets. You can let Net Nanny know which device goes with which profile to start monitoring.
What Makes NetNanny Stand Out?
With any good software, the features are really what makes the difference. Net Nanny offers a comprehensive list of features that let you customize internet access for your family. From scheduling to filtering, Net Nanny does it all.
With Net Nanny, you can block internet activity during school hours or after bedtime. You can also set limits for cumulative internet use. For example, if your house rule is no more than 10 hours online each week, Net Nanny will track individual usage and automatically cut off access once a user reaches 10 hours. There’s no need for you to track which kid has already used up their online time — Net Nanny does it for you.
The option to add social media monitoring is another big plus. Kids often don’t realize the impact of online bullying, so it’s important for parents to be aware of what is happening on social media sites. By tracking activity and seeing conversations as they happen, Net Nanny lets you respond in real time to real issues. Since it’s a web-based platform, you don’t need to install any software to start monitoring. Simply give Net Nanny the email address or social media account information you want to track, and you’ll start getting reports. It’s that simple and that powerful.
Common Reviews of Net Nanny
Net Nanny consistently gets excellent ratings from software reviewers. The granular filtering options and flexibility offered through the Net Nanny suite make it a top contender when comparing parental control software. Like all of the best parental control platforms, it has its fair share of negative reviews, mainly from kids.
Parents may give Net Nanny five-star reviews, but the kids dealing with restricted access generally don’t. In fact, the better the software works, the lower you should expect the reviews to be. After all, there are more children complaining than there are parents offering a thumbs up.
The only area where Net Nanny has some work to do is for iOS. While they offer an app through Apple, the functionality leaves a lot to be desired. The Android app delivers on most of the promises made to PC users, and with the option to buy the app at a much-reduced price point. NetNanny delivers consistent quality and a very comprehensive set of features.
Is Net Nanny for Me?
Selecting a parental control software can be difficult. Some install like spyware, and your children never know they’re being monitored. Others send out notifications to you and your children whenever they try to visit a blocked site. Ultimately, if you want a one-stop-shop for parental controls and monitoring along with some of the most granular filtering options, Net Nanny might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Net Nanny lets you block everything from pornography to anime, so you can be very specific about what is and is not allowed. If you have tech-savvy kids who find workarounds to other parental control options, you might want to give Net Nanny a try. Instead of working through your existing browsers, Net Nanny blocks all other browsers and only lets kids use their proprietary option. The result is easy online monitoring that includes both activity logs and scheduling.
Depending on the number of devices you need to monitor, Net Nanny can be a very affordable option that offers maximum coverage and some nifty features. The ability to continue to display page content while only blocking profanity is helpful for you and the kids. Adding social media monitoring is another big bonus, particularly since you only pay once for the service, not per account.
How Does Circle with Disney Work?
Most parental control solutions you see are software-based. They act as a kind of firewall, denying access to inappropriate content. Circle is different. Using a method more commonly found among hacking tool boxes, Circle intercepts traffic as it moves between the router and the device, denying access to any content that is not allowed.
By using this method, Circle inspects all of the data passing through the router, limiting the utility of workarounds. Whereas other parental control solutions might fail due to a browser plug-in or add-on, Circle avoids the issue with a hardware solution.
What Makes Circle Stand Out?
All decent parental control solutions enable internet filtering and individual user profiles, but many stop there. With Circle, you not only get the great filtering that blocks pornography and profanity, but you also gain direct control over individual browsing activity.
Remember when parents would take the remote control and set the TV channel? Circle works a lot like that, giving you the ability to pause the internet or shut it off, without any discussion at all. Circle puts an internet remote on your mobile device.
Along with the ability to filter out content, you also get the chance to set time restrictions for specific sites. You can say “no more Facebook tonight,” or “you’ve watched enough YouTube” and really make it stick with Circle filtering enabled.
Scheduled OffTime and BedTime also take the internet off the table when you want the kids to focus on homework or go outside and play. Turn the internet off during dinner or special events. This will help kids find a better balance between online and offline life.
Game systems are another big plus to the Circle system. When using Circle, you can limit internet access through gaming consoles the same way you do through computers or mobile devices. You don’t need to see what games your kids play or directly monitor their play time – Circle does it for you.
Common Reviews of Circle with Disney
Circle with Disney brings in an average rating of 3.8-stars, which is not bad for a new device. However, there are a few issues that deserve a mention. You’ll want to make sure your router is compatible with Circle before you install it. If there is a compatibility issue, it will not work and may interfere with connectivity. If it is compatible, installation is quick and easy. Most users have no trouble starting it up right out of the box.
Once it’s installed, it works as advertised, though some of the functions may require a bit more management than is ideal. For example, if you extend bedtime on Monday, you’ll need to remember to reset it for Tuesday. You’ll also want to give the kids a heads-up before bedtime. When the preset time is reached, there’s no notice before the internet shuts off.
Is Circle with Disney Right for Me?
The bedtime, pause and time limits offered by Circle with Disney make it an ideal solution for parents with children old enough to experiment with workarounds. After all, a parental control solution only works when it’s installed on the device, right? Not with Circle. With Circle, even if your kids bring in a new device, you can set it to deny access until the device has a matching profile.
So, if your kids are old enough to be creative about their attempts to circumvent your parental controls, Circle might be what you need. Not only does it control access to inappropriate sites, but it can also limit game time by cutting off the internet connection to gaming consoles. That’s something that virtually no other parental control systems offer. By directly controlling access to the internet, you avoid a lot of potential problems, like plug-ins that ignore access restrictions or guest accounts with no limitations on them.