Net Nanny

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Net Nanny
Developer(s)ContentWatch, Inc.
Stable release
10.8.0 / September 2021
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows, Apple OS X, iOS, Android, ChromeOS, Fire OS
TypeContent Control
LicenseProprietary EULA
WebsiteNet Nanny Homepage

Net Nanny is a content-control software suite marketed primarily towards parents as a way to monitor and control their child's computer and phone activity.[1]


The original version of Net Nanny released in 1994 was a web browser that could filter web and IRC content, block images, and mask profanity.[2][3] Modern versions allow complete remote administration of child devices through a web portal or parent applications. Some of the features offered are:

  • Allow or block usage of child devices using ad-hoc controls or through a schedule[4]
  • Monitor and block Internet content in various categories[4]
  • Create custom blacklists and whitelists for websites[4]
  • Track search engine usage, enforce safe search, and receive warnings for flagged words[5]
  • Place daily time limits on device use[4]
  • Monitor and allow/block applications installed on devices[citation needed]
  • Track the location of mobile devices
  • Apply different rules for individual children[citation needed]

Web pages (including dynamic pages) are blocked by content rather than URL, even over HTTPS.[6][7] This prevents children from accessing blocked websites through proxies.[citation needed]


Net Nanny was designed, created and founded by Gordon Ross in 1994 in Vancouver and moved to Bellevue, Washington in 2000.[8] He became inspired to create an internet protection service for children, families and organizations, after viewing a sting operation on a pedophile soliciting a child online.[9] In 1998, the company expanded its offerings beyond family protection when it launched BioPassword, a bio metric security access system based on technology it acquired from Stanford University.[10] On November 14, 2002, Net Nanny filed for bankruptcy and was sold to BioNet Systems, LLC, a maker of bio metric security software in Issaquah, Washington.[11] LookSmart Ltd, a commercial web search company based in San Francisco acquired Net Nanny for $5.3 million in stock and cash in April 2004.[12]

In January 2007, Net Nanny was purchased by ContentWatch Inc and moved to Salt Lake City.[13] The product line was expanded to include security and business-oriented solutions.[14] Mobile browsers for iOS and Android were released in June 2012 at the Consumer Electronics Show.[15][16] These also allowed parents to monitor and manage the applications on the phone.[17][18] In 2013, Net Nanny Social was launched to allow parents to monitor their children's social media activity and to protect against cyber bullying, cyber stalking, grooming by sexual predators, and the spread of sensitive images and videos.[19] Features were added to the desktop applications to help adults who wanted their internet content filtered.[20] In May 2014, the Brooklyn Public Library chose Net Nanny to filter content and applications on its Android tablets to ensure compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act.[21]

Zift, a digital parenting company, acquired Net Nanny from ContentWatch in 2016 and moved most operations to Philadelphia. In May 2019, Zift's applications were rebranded and launched as Net Nanny 10 for all supported platforms.[22] In 2021, Net Nanny merged with SafeToNet, a British cyber-safety company headquartered in London.[23]


Net Nanny was rated first by in "Internet Filter Software" and fourth in "Parental Control Software" in 2017.[24][25] PCMag also posted an online review stating that "Net Nanny is fully at home in the modern, multi-device world of parental control, and it still has the best content filtering around.".[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McMahon, Jordan. "How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online". Wired. CNMN Collection. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  2. ^ Stevens, Andrew (March 1, 2013). "Net Nanny Watches Over Your Internet Browsing". 148Apps. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  3. ^ Munro, Kathryn (January 8, 2001). "Net Nanny 4 monitors child's habits". CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Internet Safety with Net Nanny Content Filtering Software". Retrieved 2009-03-20.
  5. ^ Rossen, Jeff; Bomnin, Lindsey. "These 3 Apps Can Help You Monitor Your Teens' Activities Online". Today. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  6. ^ Temko, Sandra. "How Well Can Kids Get Past Parental Control Software?". ABC News. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  7. ^ Rubenking, Neil (June 3, 2011). "Get Net Nanny Free for a Year". Yahoo News. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  8. ^ Lahey, Liam (March 23, 2000). "Net Nanny Heads Stateside". IT World Canada. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  9. ^ Bereznak, Alyssa (2016-08-19). "Twitter's New Tool Is Hardly the First Internet 'Quality Filter'". The Ringer. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  10. ^ Nelson, Matthew (October 12, 1998). "Net Nanny takes security beyond passwords". CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  11. ^ "BioNet Systems, LLC Acquires the Assets of Net Nanny Software International, Inc. - Free Online Library". The Free Library by Farlex. November 14, 2002. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  12. ^ "BioNet sells Net Nanny for $5.3M". American City Business Journals. April 29, 2004. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  13. ^ "ContentWatch Inc. Acquires Net Nanny from LookSmart Ltd". Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  14. ^ "Internet Filtering Software for Business". ContentWatch. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  15. ^ "Net Nanny mobile helps keep kids safe and parents' minds at ease". Android Guys. January 10, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  16. ^ "Net Nanny for Android Lands Editor's Choice; Extends Benefits Beyond the Desktop". Cision PR News Wire. July 25, 2012.
  17. ^ Emigh, Jacqueline (March 11, 2013). "Net Nanny iOS Browser to be Joined by Versions for Windows 8 and Maybe RT". Tablet PC Review. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  18. ^ "E FUN Partners With Net Nanny to Provide Internet Parental Controls on Nextbook Android Tablets". Yahoo Finance. August 8, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  19. ^ Renouard, Chelynne (April 24, 2013). "Net Nanny Social monitors, protects kids' online presence". Desert News. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  20. ^ "Net Nanny Offers New Service for Adults: Password Account Manager". MarketWatch. July 31, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  21. ^ "Net Nanny Helps Brooklyn Public Library Protect 1,000 Android Tablets from Inappropriate Web Content and Apps". MarketWatch. May 8, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  22. ^ "Zift is Now Part of Net Nanny". Net Nanny. May 10, 2019. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  23. ^ "Net Nanny, a SafeToNet company: the new safeguarding powerhouse". SafeToNet. December 21, 2020. Retrieved 2022-04-15.
  24. ^ Shipley, Renee. "The Best Internet Filter Software". Top Ten Reviews. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  25. ^ Shipley, Renee. "Best Parental Control Software". Top Ten Reviews. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  26. ^ Rubenking, Neil. "ContentWatch Net Nanny 7". PC. PC Magazine. Retrieved 6 January 2018.

External links[edit]