Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To Guide and Protect

I am the parent of a 14-year-old boy. This child loves to play on the computer and is allowed to do so frequently. It never used to concern me as we were very diligent about teaching him where he could and could not go. However, as most of us know, it only takes the slip of a finger to type in the wrong web address and end up somewhere you'd rather not be. My son isn't the best speller either.

I was thrilled to find out I would be reviewing PG Key for the TOS Homeschool Crew.

First, what is it and what does it do?

PG Key  is a thumb drive that plugs right in to any USB drive on the computer that you wish to protect. Installation was a snap. I plugged it in to the laptop that resides in our "shop" area and typed in a password. That's all it took to get started.

I have it set up to simply take a screen shot every five seconds the computer is on. It records this and I am able to watch it back - like a movie. I took my son out the other day to show him how this all worked. It was pretty amazing - if a tad freaky - to see what had happened on the laptop in the last 30+ hours. The PG Key has 60 hours of recording space on it.

While I don't have a lot of the other features set for the PG Key - this is my hubby's laptop and he wouldn't appreciate being locked out of a lot of things - it's nice to know I don't have to be looking over my son's shoulder every time he's on the computer in the shop. He now knows we'll be checking to see what he's been up to.

However, the PG Key has much more to it than that.....
  • Access Control - without the PG Key plugged and the knowledge of the password - the computer cannot be used - at all.
  • Time Allowance - tired of your kiddos saying "Just 5 more minutes!" when they are on the computer - set the time allowance and the computer stops them from going on
  • Content Filtering - type in the words you want it to filter and it will help eliminate those from any searches
  • Site Blocking - if you have sites you don't want the kids to go on - add the web address to block them
  • Activity Notifications - anytime something occurs that you need to know about (the recording time is filling up, a word you have marked is searched, access to a blocked website is attempted, etc), you will receive an e-mail notification. 
  • Chat and e-mailing logging - this allows you to see both sides of the conversation. A nice feature if you are concerned with cyber-bullying.

PG Key sells for $49.95 (one time cost - no annual fees). You can also try it out free for 30 days if you want to be sure it would be a good fit for your family.

Be sure to head over to the TOS Homeschool Crew site to see what others had to say about PG Key.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for these review. All opinions shared are my own. TOS Crew Members are given the product free of charge in exchange for our unbiased opinion of the product.


  1. I have always been intrigued by products like this. Did you notice the computer running slower?

    I am a computer nerd that specialized in computer security at work, so I have taken a much different approach, but this still intrigues me.

  2. I ran this on my hubby's laptop. It is slow anyway as it's about 10 years old. I didn't notice it acting any slower than normal. The nice thing about this product - should have mentioned it - there is no download to your PC. It's basically a thumb drive and all is contained on the "key."


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