The SpectorSoft eBlaster 6.0 parental-control software offers practical tools for monitoring computer usage.
For parents worried about the internet's potential to expose children to sexual predators and inappropriate content, tools such as SpectorSoft eBlaster 6.0 - software that watches your children's activities on the internet - offer peace of mind.
SpectorSoft's eBlaster 6.0 - like SearchHelp Sentry Remote - offers stealthy surveillance tools capable of logging every keystroke typed, every email sent, every application used, every website opened, and every line transmitted in an instant-messaging exchange.
SpectorSoft eBlaster 6.0 isn't as aggressive as Sentry Remote, but it is pricier. SpectorSoft says the final version will cost $145 (around £75) for one licence, although the initial release costs around £50.
SpectorSoft eBlaster 6.0 acts as a forwarding service that emails chat logs and email logs, plus data on keystrokes, programs used, websites visited, peer-to-peer files downloaded, and log-on/log-off activity. Unlike Sentry Remote, SpectorSoft eBlaster 6.0 does not alert children that it is enabled, and it is accessible only via a preset hot-key that brings up an authentication box for an administrator password.
Getting SpectorSoft eBlaster 6.0 set up is a breeze. The control panel features a three-tab interface for tweaking the report delivery options. You can use one-click on/off check boxes to determine the extent of recording violations and sending alerts, as well as computer-usage restrictions.
You can ask SpectorSoft eBlaster 6.0 to be alerted when certain keywords appear in a chat session, but you must select those keywords yourself; unlike Sentry Remote, eBlaster does not include a list of suggested cringe-worthy keywords.
The beta we tested works well, and SpectorSoft eBlaster 6.0 offers the ability to change any configuration setting remotely when direct access to the computer is impossible, but it falls short on true remote monitoring of PC use. Also, the use of email as the sole delivery mechanism for reporting violations is less convenient than Sentry Remote's web-based approach.