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spacer all reviews >>> Internet access filtering

Reviews of Internet Access Filtering Software

SuperKids' reviewers compared six filtering programs this month. These programs are designed to provide various degrees of control over Internet access by children, at home, in school, or in libraries.

We found a broad range of products on the market, each laying claim to some advantage or superiority. Our tests pierced through the marketing hype, and revealed the relative strengths and weaknesses of each, and should help users decide which is most appropriate for their needs.

Do you really need one of these? Check out our story on Pornography on the Internet for some additional insights.

  • Cyber Patrol from The Learning Company, provides customizable access controls for multiple users. Aside from installation difficulties, this is one of the best for families, especially where continuous supervision is unlikely. Requires subscription for regular updates.
  • Internet Explorer 3.0 or later from Microsoft, has the ability to block websites that provide PICS ratings labels. Works well where labels are provided -- unfortunately, not enough sites do so.
  • KidDesk Internet Safe from Edmark, provides absolute access control. Parents must pre-select specific websites and applications for each user. However, this greatly reduces the potential educational value of the Net, by capping the amount of information accessible.
  • Net Nanny from Net Nanny Software, attempts to filter by comparing words and website addresses to "forbidden" lists. Had the poorest results in our tests. Requires regular updates.
  • SurfWatch from SurfWatch Software, provides excellent protection against intentional or accidental exposure. Occassionally overzealous, and doesn't offer multiple-level flexibility. Requires subscription for regular updates.
  • WebChaperone from Rulespace, uses an effective, non-list-based approach to Web-only filtering. Provides multiple levels of access control for different users. Excellent results with no need to regularly download lists.

Can't find one that meets your needs? Check out other filtering programs SuperKids has reviewed.


SuperKids Ratings Ratings Key
Title
Publisher
Effectiveness Breadth Ease
of Use
Buyers Guide
(Price Survey)
Cyber Patrol
    The Learning Company
4.8 4.5 3.5 PC / Mac
Internet Explorer
    Microsoft
3.0 3.0 5.0 na / na
KidDesk Internet Safe
    Edmark
5.0 5.0 3.5 PC / Mac
Net Nanny
    Net Nanny
3.0 5.0 2.5 PC / Mac
SurfWatch
    SurfWatch
4.5 4.5 4.8 PC / Mac
WebChaperone
    Rulespace, Inc.
4.8 3.0 5.0 PC / Mac
Reviews of Other Filtering Programs


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