Norton Security Premium with Norton Family is solid computer security and parental control software, from a maker we all know and trust, that should meet the needs of most parents.
Download and Installation
The download and installation process from the Norton website was fairly painless. Signing up to My Norton was straightforward, and downloading the software onto my Mac was very simple. Norton gives you the option of 4 extensions ‘Norton Safe Search‘ ‘Home Page‘ ‘Safe Web‘ and ‘Password Manager‘. I had no use for the safe search and password management options, so I just installed the ‘Safe Web‘ option.
Safe Web uses a Chrome Browser extension, which is perfect for me as I only use Google Chrome for surfing. Installing the extension is very straightforward from the Chrome Web Store.
I have to say, as soon as I installed Norton Safe Web and started surfing securely I felt more ‘protected’. I know that sounds odd, but there was a definite piece-of-mind element. With so many web-based threats out there like Ransomware, Zeus trojan viruses and Cryptojacking, as well as new threats being created every day, it definitely felt better to surf under Norton’s protection.
It’s also worth noting here that Norton Security Premium now has a New Zealand-based VPN for surfing through. This ensures you can surf your favourite sites, while protected by Norton, and at full speed.
Installing the Norton product across multiple devices is also a doddle. For this review I set it up on my Mac and Apple iPhone. You choose to protect another device from the Norton dashboard, and it’s as simple as sending yourself a text message.
From there you can install the app from the Apple App Store (or from Google Play Store on an android device).
Again, this installation procedure was a breeze. And set up was as simple as a few system changes on the phone. Surfing from my phone through the Norton VPN was nice and fast, I noticed no difference.
And again, I actually felt ‘safer’ going online on my phone. Whereas my desktop is always up-to-date and probably fairly secure already, I often neglect phone updates, and I’ve never had any antivirus app running on my phone. So this felt like a step in the protected-direction!
Norton Security and Antivirus
The Norton Security Premium dashboard is very similar to the one most of you will have seen and used before. If you’ve never had antivirus running before, you’ll find the dashboard intuitive. Norton uses big, clear buttons are the virus scanning, and disk cleaning functions are all clearly labelled. Setting up antivirus scanning to run in the background on a schedule (say weekly, or fortnightly) was really easy. I ran a full system scan straight away, and my scan came back all clear.
The hardware scanning isn’t limited to just your desktop either. You can also run a scan across your added devices. When I scanned my iPhone Norton discovered that my operating system wasn’t up-to-date. I think Apple did tell me this some time ago. But my iPhone storage was full, and I never actually got around to updating the Apple iOS. In fact, I think I was now 2 updates out-of-date! So thanks Norton for alerting me to this and giving me some helpful steps to rectify it too:
Now that all your devices are secure and scanned for viruses, it’s own to the parental control software. This is the part of Norton Security Premium I most wanted to learn about, and see if it works.
We have 2 small children, just 6 and 3 years old. So we’re not quite up to the perils of kids and the internet just yet. But with both of them already apt at using our smartphones and tablets, it’s just around the corner!
Setting up and controlling Norton Family from the My Norton dashboard is really intuitive. Again Norton use big buttons, simple toggles and clear labels. This seems really well done. The options for protecting your child’s devices include: Web, Time, Apps, Location, Search, Video, Social and Text Message. This gives parents a lot of options for protection.
Unfortunately I found setting up the iPhone end of Norton Family to be very confusing.
You have to set up a ‘profile’ on the phone to connect with the dashboard, and I had to go in and out of system settings, and try it a couple of times to get it to work. The phone also needed a restart. The whole procedure felt really clumsy. And for un-techie parents, setting this part up will be a real test. The Norton help files were quite helpful, and a quick Google search finally sorted it out for me.
I feel like it should be more simple for me to take control of my kid’s devices. But this is an IT problem, every phone is different, and they all use different settings.
We tested out the Location function on Norton Family, and I can report it worked a treat. I know some parents will find this feature far too intrusive. For me, I have an adventurous and independent daughter. Within a few short years she’ll be taking the train to the city with friends, or even by herself (gulp!). To know we could find her location via GPS anywhere in the country is a huge piece-of-mind for me. And the Norton feature worked really well. It updated the location in real-time and within just a few metres of the phone too.
For me, I think ensuring safe-browsing (Web), controlling screen time (Time) and GPS tracking (Location) are the features I’d use. Other parents may seek to control more or less options for their children. For instance, for me the thought of scanning my child’s text messages feels very intrusive (akin to reading my child’s dairy). But it depends on your parenting style and philosophy.
There’s no right or wrong here. The important thing is to protect your children when they’re online, whatever that looks like for you. The dangers of online are real, and the outcomes can be seriously detrimental for some children. This is an area of your child’s life where you definitely want to opt-in.
Norton Security Premium with Norton Family is the best of Norton antivirus, available on multiple devices, with the bonus of fairly rock-solid parental control software. Like most modern software Norton is now sold on a SaaS basis. This means you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription for the product. But it also means you’ll always have the most up-to-date version running; and when it comes to antivirus software, this is a must!
The software is simple to set up, and intuitive and Norton has good help files and an active forum online. The parental control software is probably entry-level but more than most parents will ever need. And the safe surfing via a New Zealand-based VPN is a great option for surfing securely online. Great product, trusted brand, 4 stars. Norton Security Premium with Norton Family RRP$169.99 per year