The internet is both a blessing and a curse, depending on its use. And teachers and parents can't always be there when students make the decision between good and bad sites and messages.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of some sites that provide a watchdog service. Some charge, and others are free. The partial list below provides insight into what’s available, but is by no means complete. However, this list might be a good starting point.
Prices range from free to more than $12 a month, depending on the type of coverage you want for your family. Always check to see if these sites cover cell phone, tablet and home use. Some sites use GPS tracking and other services such as call blocking.
Take your time reviewing each site before making any decision. Check the contract carefully.
As a teacher, I make sure to ask the school technology department what blockers they use. Remember, students may be able to access the school server with their cell phones, which can eat up bandwidth if they are downloading large files.
Please note this list is information only and is not meant to convey our approval.
- Covenant Eyes
- Amber Child Safety
- Phone Sheriff
- Open DNS
- App Certain - This service is free and includes features such as a remote curfew mode, as well as an analysis of apps.
- Norton Family Premier - This $50 service allows you to check what kids are doing online, sets limits of computer time, and can monitor mobile device activity and more. Check for a free version.
- K-9 Web Protection - This free program provides an Internet filter and controls software use. It can force a SafeSearch on all major search engines and can override websites with a password.
- My Mobile Watchdog - Mobile Watchdog allows users to monitor all cell phone activity on Android devices — text messaging, application use and browsing use. The app may be capable of sending usage emails.
- Net Nanny - This site has several packages and a variety of safety features. It monitors contacts with friends, pictures and posts on social networks.
If you know of similar sites teachers should know about, please use the comment section to share them.
Alan Haskvitz teaches at Suzanne Middle School in Walnut, California, and makes staff development presentations nationwide. He serves as an educational consultant, curriculum developer and author.