2009 Parental Control Software Review

Parental control software allows you to keep tabs on what your children are doing online. Some kids view it as invasive, but I see it as no different than a usage policy at a corporation. As long as you are honest with your kids about the fact that they will be monitored, parental controls serve a useful purpose. They allow automatic blocking of known inappropriate sites as well as content and image filtering. They permit you to schedule when the Internet is available (to curb those late-night surfing sessions) and to log instant messages. Some now include monitoring of social networks like MySpace and FaceBook. Such programs typically have trial versions so you can try them before you buy.

  • NetNanny has a new Macintosh version available. Both the Windows and Mac versions provide content filtering, instant message logging, usage reports, remote management and social network monitoring.

  • SafeEyes has also been revamped since last year. It's available for Windows and Mac and also has a version for mobile devices like iPhones. Its features are similar to NetNanny's.

  • CyberPatrol hasn't changed much over the last year. It's only available for Windows and unlike NetNanny and SafeEyes, doesn't provide monitoring of social networking sites.

  • Intego ContentBarrier is a Mac-only program that, like CyberPatrol, is fairly basic and doesn't monitor social networking sites.
Last year I noted that my least favorite antivirus program Norton includes some parental control features. Many antivirus programs are now doing the same, but I don't consider that a substitute for bona fide parental controls.

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Posted byTriona Guidry at 12:35 PM  

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