Vista’s parental controls – do they work for you?

I recently had to replace our home computer and found a great deal on a Dell XPS at Bestbuy. Okay, none of that matters, what does matter is that it came with Vista Home Premium. I’ve been trying various methods over the last few years to keep my kids safe while surfing. I had K9 protection on my previous PC. It seemed to work well, except that I got tired of entering my password every time one of my kids wanted to see a website.

I didn’t reload K9 with the new PC, instead I decided to check out Vista’s built in parental controls. The parental controls are broken into many categories. I think that’s a step in the right direction, but it still isn’t quite right. Each category has several sub lists. I imagine the idea is to give the parent more customization options. In theory it sounds great. In reality, it doesn’t work, at least not to my satisfaction.

It took a bit of time to set up accounts for each of my kids, customizing the settings according to what I consider age appropriate options. After tweaking the accounts, I thought we had a working solution. I was feeling good about it. The next day the real world tests began and my hopes were crushed. I had to enter my administrator password several times for each account just so that my children could play games. And I’m talking about E type games, not teen or mature games by any means.

So it seems the parental controls don’t work all that well and I’m back in the same bag. I’ve gotten frustrated and just given the oldest my password. Doesn’t someone make parental controls that don’t require a lot of baby sitting? I haven’t tried Net Nanny yet, maybe I should check it out. I’m sure there are many more resources I don’t know about. If you know of any no cost or low cost software that really works and is parent friendly- your feedback is appreciated.