Net Nanny is a software application that provides you with a complete set of tools to configure who can access the Internet, when, and what kind of pages they are allowed to visit or not. You, as the administrator, can create users and passwords, and establish different permission profiles, one for every specific group of users.
The installation of the program is, nevertheless, a pretty complicated process. On one hand, it is necessary to create an account and provide a valid e-mail address in order to be able to download the installer file. In case you would like to download it again later, you will have to log in with your previously assigned e-mail address and password. On the other hand, when installing it, it asks you to type a license key, something that most free and trial programs never do. That trial license key can be found on the download section of the developer's website. The installation process also allows you to define your administrator password, and - optionally - to create additional users and passwords.
Once you have finished installing it, Net Nanny works mostly as a system service, and you can always see its icon active on the system tray. According to the website, this trial version is supposed to work fully during 14 days - however, as soon as I installed it, it warned me saying that there was only 1 day left in the trial period, which (in most cases) is not enough time to test all the program's features.
The program's main panel is very clear and easy to understand. It allows you to create, delete, and edit users, configure all the filtering functions, set override and uninstall passwords, configure the time controls, add web and application exceptions, and configure the e-mail notifications and alerts.
Among the most important filtering functions Net Nanny provides, I must mention its web filtering, which allows you to select the categories of the pages that can be visited by the current user from around 35 different types, letting you define them as "allow", "block", or "warn". It also contains an instant messaging tool that allows you to tell the program which messaging tools can be used by the user in question, and if that activity must be logged or not. Then, the social networking utility provides you with a similar functionality, though this time related to well-known social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter. There is also an additional module that allows you to configure which categories of games websites are allowed for a certain user.
Finally, you can also establish time controls, to define the hours at which the user can access the Internet services. Furthermore, you can also browse the reports provided, allowing you to check your user's activities in all detail, and configure e-mail notifications that will be sent to you as soon as a user tries to violate your pre-established policies. To top it all off, you are also allowed to configure exceptions, which are pages or applications that will be allowed or denied at all times. Definitely, Net Nanny is an excellent tool that will provide you with all the functions you need to completely control your family's Internet activity.
- Easy to use.
- Nice interface.
- Very complete set of tools.
- Allows you to see reports.
- Sends notifications by e-mail when somebody tries to violate the policies
- Asks you to create an account on its website to be able to download the installer.
- Hard to install.
- Trial period is too short