Monday, March 19, 2012

Action Alert (TOS Review)


Action Alert is an internet safety program. Its features include:

  • access control
  • activity notification alerts
  • activity video recording
  • time allowance
  • site blocking
  • content filtering
  • keystroke logging
  • chat and e-mail logging

  Alerts can be sent to a cell phone or computer. We received the maximum protection package to try out.

My Thoughts:

Action Alert works very well in the area of accountability. I like the ability to receive email alerts whenever a questionable word or phrase is typed. Action Alert is pre-programmed with alert words, but the user may add additional ones. I added some innocuous words just to test it and it worked fine.

I liked the ability to shut down Emily’s computer remotely. I don’t know that I’ll need to use the feature, but it’s pretty cool!

The ability to see screen shots of daily activity was also useful. For example, I could see that Emily had been sending emails and doing non-school-related searches during school hours one day and discuss that with her.  She also found the slide show entertaining! I think that in a few years, when she starts to get involved on social networking sites, this feature will be great! I had to go to her computer to see the activity, though. That particular feature is not available remotely.

The accountability features are useful not just for safety, but also for maintaining family rules and standards, whatever they may be. I think that just knowing that their actions can be monitored will keep most kids honest.

Searching from the Safe Search filter included with Action Alert prevents offensive sites from even showing up in the search results. Hundreds of thousands of sites that contain adult material or virus threats are automatically blocked and the user is able to add additional sites to block. For younger children, a blocking option is available that only allows parent-listed sites.

We did have trouble with the computer this was installed on having frequent un-explained shut-downs. These started occurring just after Action Alert was installed.

I was less than impressed with the FAQ and help sections on Action Alert’s website. Although I found the program very easy to set up and use with the basic instructions given, the “help” section of the website seemed to be outdated. Much of the information pertained to a previous version of Action Alert and was simply confusing.

Conclusion: I love the idea of Action Alert. I love that the company provides the basic program for free, providing both blocking and reporting. I am also a bit concerned about the random shut downs it seems to be causing on the computer. I think perhaps the program needs a few bugs worked out before it is the ideal child safety software for us.

The basic version of Action Alert is free. The Maximum Protection version, which includes multiple user protection, is fully customizable, and has full social network monitoring, has a one-time fee of $29.99. To read more reviews of Action Alert, please visit the TOS Crew Blog.

3/5 stars


As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a free software download from Action Alert in order to write this review. All opinions are my own.


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