Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Action Alert

I’m pleased to report that 4yo Miss Esmé has not been typing any bad words on her computer.

Don’t believe me?  You can watch up to 60 hours of her most recent computer use to verify it…


My biggest concern with Esmé’s computer use to date is that I occasionally leave her with an (educational) YouTube video running while I jet to the bathroom, etc. – and in a short period of time, she’s off to all kinds of other YouTube content without me having a clue how she got there.  Fortunately, the only bad-language stuff she’s gotten into was in another language that neither of us understand.

Other than that, she hasn’t been doing any Google searches, checking out her social media sites, or anything else that could lead her astray online. 

However, it’s nice to know I’ve got a way to keep tabs on her when she comes of age…


Action Alert includes everything you need to create a safe environment on the family computer.

The Internet is both an amazing resource and a very dangerous place. For many parents, it is a struggle to balance the benefits of the internet with the potential dangers to their children. Action Alert was designed so that your family computer can be kid safe in just seconds.

Time limitsCreates a kid-safe PC - with web site blocking and filtering
Time controlsControl Computer Use - with comprehensive time controls
Monitoring softwareGet alerted - know if anything suspicious occurs and review activity


Recommended Age:  Any age old enough to use the computer
Price: Free Protection!  Upgrade to Maximum Protection for $29.99.
For More Info/14-day Free Trial/To Purchase:
For More Reviews: TOS Crew

What Mom Liked:

  • Easy to Install. We installed this on Esmé’s laptop, which is our newest, albeit cheapest, computer.  No problems with installation whatsoever.
  • Hassle-free.  We use the default settings, and the running of the program is almost unnoticeable.
  • Email alerts.  You can get a text alert as well, but what works for me is an email alert that tells me if something questionable has been keyed on my daughter’s computer.  I have the option of shutting down her access from the email.  (Fortunately, Esmé never gave me a good test of this, so I had to go type my own bad words on her computer to try it out…)
  • Record of activity.  Action Alert records up to 60 hours of computer activity – with video-playback functionality.  It also tracks keystrokes, so you can identify usernames, passwords, and chat activity.  Your kid might call it spyware… but I like the ability to trackback and figure out where problems might have arisen.  Even if I never use it, it creates a degree of accountability.
  • Time limits.  At some point in the near future, this’ll be a nice feature to turn on to limit her computer access.  You can set limits on total time used per day, or on specific times of use.  Right now, Mom needs this more than Esmé does.
  • Action Alert home page.  This was the most noticeable change following installation for me, and I found it to be a positive one.  Action Alert defaults the home page to a kid-friendly one, with links to educational and other kid-friendly sites, as well as a search function that filters search results.  You can override the home page setting if you want to, but it works for us.
  • Allowed Sites Only mode.  Action Alert will block the sites you list (in addition to their master list), but considering how many inappropriate sites exist on the internet, I’m not sure how practical this function is.  An alternative I will definitely consider as Esmé gets a little older is the “Allowed Sites Only mode,” where I can list exactly which sites she will be able to access.  I can add our favorites to her browser now, and then easily add browser favorites to her allowed list when the time comes.
  • Settings by User.  You can change the settings by user.  Since we don’t have password protection on our computers, this feature isn’t currently being used by us – but it is nice to know that I’ll still be able to use Esmé’s computer without the “Allowed Sites Only mode” on should we choose to enable user logins.
  • Installing Viewer on Another PC.  While the program key is only valid for one computer, you CAN install the viewer on other PCs.  This will allow me to work on my own laptop while occasionally monitoring Esmé’s laptop – a very handy feature on days I work at home.

While this program won’t necessarily prevent your child from clicking on links and ending up on an objectionable YouTube selection (unless you’ve blocked YouTube, which I won’t), it WILL allow you to see where your child has been.

If your child’s internet safety is a current concern for you – and you have a computer with the capacity to handle monitoring software without noticeable performance problems – then I recommend you check out what Action Alert has to offer.

Thanks to
Action Alert for providing free Maximum Protection for purposes of review, and to the program, and to TOS Crew for coordinating the review.  We are not being paid for this review, and all opinions are our own.