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SuperKids Software Review - The Parent's and Teacher's Guide to Childrens' Software
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Rulespace Inc.

All ages

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Ease of Use

System Requirements

PC Price Survey

Product Support

The Internet can be a wonderful resource for all who use it. Unfortunately, some of the information that can be found on the Web is not appropriate for children. Itís all too easy for kids to innocently stumble upon unsavory content -- often even simple searches are surprisingly distasteful in composition.

WebChaperone is one of the programs aimed at helping parents make the Web a safe place for their families to explore. It does this by screening incoming web pages using its own patent-pending iCRT (intelligent Content Recognition Technology) system. This system uses pattern-recognition techniques to analyze a pageís content. It studies each page, looking for a set of attributes that, when present, indicate inappropriate content.

Parents set the program up, providing user names and the level of security desired for each user. Security settings range from unprotected to minimum, medium and maximum protection. Once installed, the default setting for the computer becomes one of maximum security -- all potentially inappropriate sites are blocked. Each user then logs in under his or her name and personal password. In this way adults can have full Internet access while assuring that their childrenís access will be limited. Other options include custom phrase protection (parents list words or phrases they want screened) and custom site lists (parents enter sites that can and canít be accessed regardless of content). Adults can also choose to view a list of recent addresses visited by each child.

WebChaperone does a good job of filtering out unsuitable Web sites, on an age-appropriate basis. It does this for sites that are directly accessed (user enters actual location name), sites that appear as search results using any search engine, and sites that are embedded as links from other sites. If a child attempts to visit an unacceptable site, a special WebChaperone page appears bearing their logo and a cute message warning the child that the site is off limits. Messages include such zingers as "Yeeew! Whatís that smell?", and "Iíd feel silly if I let you go here." When blocked, the program suggests a kid-safe alternative.

In general the programís filtering system works well. Although searches for topics like "sex" and "rape" are forbidden, searches for "sex disease" and "rape prevention" may proceed. A search for "young boys" conducted by our review team was labeled "icky", but searching for "young boys clothing" was okay. Interestingly, the latter search resulted in a few objectionable links. When we tried to click on these links, our Ďchaperoneí intervened.

Equally important, because of its content recognition technology, WebChaperone can find and block sites that other list-based filters miss.

Ease of Use / Install
This program installs easily from two floppy disks, or by download. Administering the system is simple and straightforward, and because of its filtering technique, parents won't have to remember to regularly download updates, as the other filtering programs require. Support is available on the WebChaperone website, which also includes copious information about the software and its uses, and answers commonly asked questions about Internet protection software in general.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
WebChaperone works well for any family that wants to limit Internet content while maintaining its overall value. The program is especially good at providing varying levels of access control for different users. Beware of its limitations, however -- this is a Web browser filter, and does not address email, chats, or newsgroups.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other kid security software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC-only program.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98/NT running Netscape Communicator/Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher, 90 MHz or faster cpu, 3 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM,

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD
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