LearnMeter2Reviewer’s rating:  
Where to buy: Free download from www.learnmeter.com

For most parents computer usage and particularly the internet present a bit of a quandary.

Yes, our children desperately need to be technologically literate, to be able to research online and utilise the learning games and tools that technology provides.

But how do you know they are safe, learning and in some cases undertaking the activity they’ve lead you to believe? Well-enter LearnMeter.

This new downloadable and free tool allows you to electronically monitor your children’s computing habits and gauge their learning activities, gaming activities and the websites they are viewing online. It also shows you exactly how much time your child is spending where.

Features and Benefits

  • Free
  • Easy to download and use
  • Breaks activities into categories such as learning or fun
  • Displays website names and documents visited
  • Has polite little pop-ups to prompt your children to stop playing and start working, should their playtime be excessive
  • Automatically classes websites into fun and learning categories i.e. Facebook is classed as fun and news sites equal learning
  • You can review your child’s habits by day or week
  • You can generate reports outlining their habits

Reviewer’s Experience

Being less technologically literate than my children, I had wondered about my abilities to effectively use the tool, but the LearnMeter was easy to set up and simple to use.

The program allows you to set up individual accounts for each of your children that monitor their learning activities.

On computer start-up the program asks you to sign into a particular child’s account, and you can switch at any time.

It then runs quietly in the background monitoring where they go. To me this didn’t feel too intrusive as, while I could see where they had been, I couldn’t see exactly what they had been doing. For example I knew there had been 15 minutes spent on Facebook and 20 at news sites.

It also showed me an hour spent working on a particular Word document. On the dashboard it displayed a meter outlining the ratio of learning to fun and when I clicked on activities I could see a breakdown of websites, programs and games accessed.

It was also canny enough to pick up what was being looked at across multiple open tabs.

A highlight was when after an hour spent surfing the internet, a message popped up gently prompting my child that it might be time to do some work.

When they did, a little while later another popped up encouragingly noting their great effort and that they were already spending more time learning than most other children.

All-in-all LearnMeter provided a great means to ensure my kids were using the computer as intended without having me feeling like too much of a spy. It gave me peace of mind and my children encouragement in a user-friendly way.