Guardian Monitor 9.0's many features make it easy for you to see what your kids are up to. There are too many features to name them all in this review; instead I’ll outline these five key features:
RUN TAB [See Image3]
- In stealth mode the application runs invisibly. Because it’s invisible, you’ll need to type in a combination of keys (hot keys) to call up the application.
- You have the option to create a message that displays whenever a user logs on (“Warning, this system is being monitored!").
- The Monitor Database feature allows you to store recorded information that can be changed to suit your needs.
MONITOR TAB [See Image 4]
- The video feature takes snapshots of your computer screen at set intervals and only when there is activity.
- The history feature records all websites visited. You can click on any URL in the list of websites and your browser will take you there. This option works with Internet Explorer, Opera, Netscape Navigator, and AOL (7.0, 8.0, and 9.0 browser).
- Guardian Monitor captures and records both sides of a conversation with instant messaging and chat rooms. The programs supported are MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ Lite, AOL Instant Messenger, and AOL 7.0, 8.0, and 9.0.
- Like the Chat/IM’s, recorded emails are divided into two parts on the screen. Simply click the title you wish to view and it displays on the lower half of the window. Supported applications and protocols are Microsoft Outlook Express, Eudora, AOL 7.0, 8.0, and 9.0, AOL Classic, SMTP, and POP3.
Selecting the download option enables the software to monitor all files downloaded from peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. The information recorded includes the P2P application used, the user’s name, the time, and the file’s name, type and details, as it appears in the P2P network. Supported applications are KaZaA, KaZaA Lite, and Gnutella clients including LimeWire, Shareaza, BearShare, and Morpheus.
Guardian Monitor will record all keystrokes. The list includes the user name, the time, and the application used. WATCH TAB [See Image 5]
- The Watch feature flags words and phrases. There are built-in categories, and a configurable section allowing you to define your own set of up to 50 words and phrases.
EMAIL TAB [See Image 6]
- This option is great if you are monitoring a computer other than your own. It might be next to impossible to get onto a child’s computer if they are always on it, or if you are monitoring them without their knowledge. It could also prove useful if you are away from home and want to continue to monitor your teens.
BLOCK TAB [See Image 7]
- Guardian Monitor 9.0 will let you block websites. You have the option to block just certain users, or you can block sites from all users. When users attempt to visit a blocked website, they will get an “Error 404 Page Not Found" message or you can customize the message to say whatever you want. [See Image 8]
This version of Guardian Monitor does not support Hotmail or Yahoo Mail. You’ll need the Professional version for those, which is unfortunate since Hotmail and Yahoo Mail are popular with kids. According to Guardian Monitor’s Help section on its website with regard to monitoring email, Guardian Monitor is unable to capture email attachments. Therefore, if you have devious children who know you are monitoring them, they may be able to let some things slip under your radar. Likewise, it cannot capture images sent through instant messengers.