Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PG Key: another option for families

As a mom of four boys, I am concerned about internet dangers. In the past, I have used web blocking programs. It has been a constant source of aggravation for our family. Software conflicts, over protective blocking, and monthly or yearly dues are some of the many downfalls of these programs. PG key is a new alternative, that may be just what I was looking for.

Just what is it?

PG Key is a little USB device that has amazing capabilities. I am still in awe of the technology. It is used to monitor your child's internet use, block web sites, set time limits, and also remotely monitor. It is an alternative to expensive blocking services, since you pay once, $49.99, instead of monthly or yearly billing. They offer customer support and continual upgrading free of charge. You can even try it free

I won't bore you and retell their ad. You can see more information here

My experience with PG Key...

I was hesitant to try it on Paperboy's computer, as it was having serious start up issues. My past experience with filtering software has been one of a terrible inconvenience and long conversations with tech support. My doctrine of phone calls to tech support: It is a place for unrepentant sinners, just kidding. Since I am currently happy with our filtering program, I really didn't want to rock the boat. 

I decided to first try it out on the Gman's computer. The installation and use of it was very easy. There were no technical issues and I was able to review all of his web use as fast or as slow as I wished. I felt like a spy. We have an open book policy, so he didn't have an issue with it. Of course, I may not want him to see how much time I spend reading recipes, instead of making them, haha. But the technology is incredible. 

When I tested the web filtering ability, I wasn't as awed. I do not have time to think of all of the evil and terrible search words to enter in manually. I decided to trust PG Key's preset blocks. So of course when I searched for instructions to do harm (words changed to keep this post out of search engines), the offensive web sites came up freely. Not only did they do that, the sides bar ads made me nauseous. Pornographic images were not filtered out.  When I used it with my current blocker, they all were blocked. Every parent must be diligent in this area. We can pay through the nose for monitoring and filtering systems, but learning more about computers is essential, if we truly want to keep our children's computer experience pure. If you are unconvinced of the dangers of pornography, see James Dobson's interview with Ted Bundy here.

My thoughts about Pg Key

Even with my trip to the offensive web sites, I still have to recommended PG Key. Just the feature of recording of past web time is valuable in itself. I sometimes cannot remember when or where I found this cool website.  PG Key can play the past 50 hours of web visits and computer use in fast motion. You chose how often you want a screen shot taken. The alert feature was thorough. I think a working parent may appreciate an email or text when their child removes the key(which disables the computer) or visits some questionable sites. It works well with my current filtering program, so they are a great team. The key can work in multiple computers, but if more than one computer is being used at a time, you will need a second key. I did uninstall it, this was easy and uneventful. 

I didn't try the time limit feature. This may be appealing to families with multiple children.
 I like the old fashioned way.
 I use my kitchen timer, when I want to limit computer time. It goes like this:
 "Time's up, sign out!" 
"Yes, Mother Dearest!" 

I would like to quote Ronald Reagan and apply it to teen computer usage.

"Trust but verify!" 

With PG key, this is possible.

This product was given to me free of charge as a part of the TOS home-school review crew. This blog was written while using PG Key in the USB drive. These are my own opinions. You can find out what other crew members have to say about PG key here.

I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at


Diane Allen said...


You made some good connections. I use a different surfing platform so the filtering didn't work for us -- but it wasn't my main concern.

I like that point about using the screen shots as a personal memory tool!

Marie said...

Great job with this review. I enjoyed reading it and you made some very good points. We must be hands on when it comes to protecting our children on the computer.
Now I'm off to find out how you ended up 'accidentally homeschooling'...

Marie said...

Great job with this review. I enjoyed reading it and you made some very good points. We must be hands on when it comes to protecting our children on the computer.
Now I'm off to find out how you ended up 'accidentally homeschooling'...

Unknown said...

Thank you for this review. My oldest is getting the age where he needs more freedom on the web and I am not sure how to provide it and protect at the same time. I will look into this.

What is your other current filtering program? Obviously we'll need something to work along side it for the pornography stuff...