By Dr. Brent Conrad
Clinical Psychologist at TechAddiction.ca
Given the many dangers kids are exposed to on the Internet, it is very important that parents are aware of what their children and teens are doing online.
Obviously, this begins with parents talking to their children about online safety, setting rules at a very early age for what they are and are not allowed to do online, and taking practical steps to reduce potential risks when using a computer.
Many times however, parents must take extra measures to protect their children or monitor their online activities. For example, if your children spend any time at all online, it is very important to use parental filtering software to minimize exposure to inappropriate content online.
Despite using filtering software, some parents still rightfully worry that their children are accessing inappropriate content (filtering software is not perfect and tech savvy teens can easily defeat the security measures). And related to our focus here at TechAddiction, parents may also be concerned about child video game addiction or that their kids are secretly playing computer games when they are not allowed.
In these situations, parents may turn to monitoring software (sometimes known as “key logging” programs) to obtain more information about what their children are doing at the computer when no one is watching.
In the war on video game and internet addiction, parents need all the help they can get. Is Gecko Monitor worth your consideration? Let’s get to the review.
What is Gecko Monitor?
From the website:
“Gecko Monitor is the complete solution to monitoring everything that happens on your computer while you're away. Perfect for parents who want to monitor their child's computer or bosses who want to monitor their employees computers - Gecko Monitor has everything you’ll need to give you peace of mind!”
For parents looking to monitor a child’s computer and online activity, Gecko Monitor offers:
Screenshots of windows and websites
Programs used and when they were accessed
Lists of every website visited
Complete records of all keyboard activity
Monitoring of all printed documents
Email reports of recorded activity
Operation in stealth mode - completely hidden to other users
Gecko Monitor retails for $39.75. Unlike similar programs used to monitor internet and computer use, this is a one time fee - no monthly charges. A free time-limited demo is also available.
Installation worked flawlessly – less than one minute from start to finish. The program requires to you setup up an initial password when the installation is complete:
After installation you arrive the very clean home screen which provides you with an overview of your current monitoring status. By default, nothing is being monitored when you begin. I actually like this and prefer to turn on the features that I want rather than having everything watched right away.
From here, each monitoring function can be enabled with just one click via the separate tabs across the top of the program. For this review, I activated all monitoring processes expect for “Printer”. Very, very simple setup so far. Even parents with very limited computer knowledge should have no problem with installation and setup.
After this very simple setup, most users will want to go into the “Settings” menu in the bottom left corner to set preferences for hiding and showing the program, passwords, how often to take screenshots (default is every 300 seconds), email reporting, etc. Again, this was all extremely simple to do – no problems whatsoever.
That's it for the setup! Extremely easy.
After this initial setup, simply slick "Start Monitoring". Gecko then hides itself and will begin recording the computer activity you have specified (keystrokes, screen activity, open programs, etc.). You can also choose to have the program launch at startup and begin monitoring.
To see what has been going on at your computer, you can either login to the program and / or choose to have it automatically send you email reports - which is a convenient feature that many parents will appreciate.
The home screen gives you a summary of activity while the individual tabs provide more detailed information on specific types of computer use.
This is a summary for just a few minutes of use:
Example of the Screenshots tab:
And the Applications tab:
Let me preface this by stating that there is no substitute for watchful and involved parents when it comes to keeping children safe online and for making sure that they are following family rules for computer and/or video game use.
For parents who are worried about what their children are doing online or at the computer when no one is watching, Gecko Monitor is an excellent choice for anyone considering monitoring software.
While it does not come with all the bells and whistles of some of the more expensive programs (often with monthly fees), it will be more than enough for 99% of parents who are looking for computer monitoring software.
It is simple to set up, easy to use, more affordable than similar programs, and above all else, it works exactly as advertised - highly recommended.
Interested in trying it out? You can download a free trial of Gecko Monitor using this link.
Thank you for visiting TechAddiction! We hope you find the info here helpful.
Please take just 1 second to click the "Like" button.
Many thanks - we really appreciate it!