Tuesday, October 26, 2010
TOS Homeschool Crew Review of PG Key SafeKey
Okay, let me just begin this review by stating that I have looked around and not found a product comparable to this one ~ read this review with that in mind!
PG Key is a USB external drive (often referred to as a "stick") manufactured by KeyWare, Inc. This product is not only a filter that can be used to protect your family while they use the internet; it not only blocks websites that are inappropriate or obscene; this little device is a portable, multi-functional tool that makes parenting and homeschooling in the internet-age easier than I ever guessed it could be.
Using the external drive is simple.
Step 1.) Remove product from the box
Step 2.) Plug product into your computer
Step 3.) Choose a password
Step 4.) There is no Step 4 - you're already done!!
So, at this point you may be curious as to what all this super-amazing product is capable of. The answer is, a WHOLE LOT!! With this one product, parents can rest assured that websites are blocked, filtering is in place, and notifications regarding user activity can be received in text or email form. PGKey provides a google based search engine that is safe and accessible via a toolbar or can be set as the homepage. There is a time lock option that controls the amount of time the computer can be used. And there is no "override" option - the password is encrypted so that it cannot be "hacked" and the computer simply will not work if the stick is removed. Those are some fabulous features - take it from a mom who has explored many of the internet safety options on the market as of late!
Beyond all of that, parents are able to review ALL forms of chat...FaceBook, IM, you name it, you have access to it all. This is accountability in action, and accountability truly is nine-tenths of the battle. If you know you will be held accountable for what you do, you probably will not make a poor choice to begin with, right?
And all of this is available to use on as many computers as you like - of course, you can only use the driver on one computer at a time, but you can use it over and over again with no yearly fee. That one feature alone makes the PGKey SafeKey stand out in a sea of internet safety products. You can even take it with you on vacation and easily use the PGKey on any laptop or PC your child will be using. That's not something I have seen any other product offer. That's a lot of security for $49.95. Check it out for yourself at www.pgkey.com
And two of my favorite homeschool-friendly features are the ability to record up to 60 hours of computer activity and alerts (sent to you via text message or email) when your child used key phrases you have chosen in advance. Why do these two features appeal to me as a homeschooling mother? I have five kiddos in five different grade levels doing five different things all at one time - the ability to signal out key words and phrases and receive a message when they use those key words means I can give the student an assignment and know when they are working on that assignment. The ability to view a recording of the student's internet activity later on means I can send a student to work on the computer while I work with another child, and later on at my convenience (whatever that is in the life of a homeschool mom, LOL!) I can review their work. I just press play, watch the video, and press pause if I need to look more closely at something they have worked on.
Long story short, I absolutely love the PGKey SafeKey. I did receive this product free of charge for review purposes, but I can promise you I would glady pay $49.95 of my own hard earned cash for it any day of the week. It is worth every penny and then some. This is a great product and the safety of your children is of paramount importance; don't hesitate to consider purchasing PGKey if you are in the market for an internet filter.
Happy Safe Surfing!
Day 49 done :)
Jan L. Burt