BLOCKING & FILTERING SOFTWARE


Software that blocks children from accessing inappropriate area's on the Internet.



The following are a few software programs that can be purchased to lock kids out of areas that you do not want them to access while online. While they are beneficial for that purpose, I want to point out that these programs do NOT keep pedophiles or others who have criminal intent, from accessing the kids. If a parent wants to keep their child from accessing area's where they could download pornography, or newsgroups that contain obscene material, these programs will do just that. But the majority of individuals that seek children for illegal purpose do not go looking for them in adult areas, but rather in the areas the children congregate in, in the same way a pedophile in the "real" world will not seek children in a nightclub or local bar but will look for their victims at the school yards or playgrounds. With that warning as to what these programs can and cannot do, I feel these programs are worth checking into.

1) Skywatch Software

An excellent blocking and filtering program. For information on how to purchase this program, you can call (800) 458-6600 or email them at info@surfwatch.com.

2) Bess, The Internet Retriever

An excellent program for kids, parents, and schools. This is not a software program. It is on the Internet itself. Subscribers dial into Bess to access it. Bess has a graphical interface geared toward children, making it easy for them to surf the net in areas that are appropriate for kids. If a child attempts to access an inappropriate area, they will get a message saying the area is blocked and they cannot access it. One other excellent feature about this service is that any incoming or outgoing email that contains inappropriate language is returned to the sender.

Pricing for this service is as follows:

$30.00 activation fee

$24.95 monthly access fee for up to 30 hours of online time. Fee
includes one mailbox.

$.99 per hour for use over 30 hours

$2.00 per month for each additional mailbox

For further information they can be contacted at (206) 971-1400 or

email them at bess@bess.net.

Prices subject to change.

3) Cyber Patrol

This is the software that compuserve and Prodigy provide to their members free of charge. A fully functional demo can be downloaded for free on the Internet at cyber patrol or they can be contacted at (800) 828-2608 or (508) 879-9000 or email them at cyberinp@microsys.com.

4) Net Nanny

This software allows the purchaser to monitor, screen, and block out anything residing on, or running in, out, or through your PC, online or off. Unlike many of the other software programs, only you determine what is to be screened or not. If you have a credit card, you can download the full program from the Internet Shopping Network. Use the Yahoo search tool with the keywords: Internet Shopping Network (sorry I don't have that URL).

You can also download a free evaluation copy on the Internet at netnanny
or contact them for further information at (800) 340-7177.

5) Net Shepherd

This is a shareware program and can be downloaded from the Internet at shepherd
or they can be contacted at (403) 250-5310 (Canada), or emailed at info@shepherd.net.

6) MoM

"MoM," the new computer/web monitor with a unique screen-rewind feature. MoM software does a pretty good job for some families. MoM captures screens for later playback in a time-lapse movie by parents - It is as if someone might be glancing over your shoulder (that's actually the best way) while you are surfing - so you surf more thoughtfully. - MoM encourages appropriate computer use and is 'the next best thing to shoulder-surfing.' Produced by A Value Systems, Inc., MoM gives parents a highly versatile new tool for automatically logging visited web sites and filtering out online porn. MoM also is ideal for use by small and medium-sized businesses desiring to gently discourage online goofing off.

MoM is available as shareware download. It operates on Pentium-based Windows 95 computers and the full-featured version can be registered for $20, which is less than virtually all of its closest competitors. MoM requires Win95 and about 20 MB of hard-drive space. It installs automatically and is easy to use. What's more, MoM blocks objectionable websites and provides the user with a graphic movie of screen-shots. Now parents (or supervisors) can see exactly where their computer has been traveling on the web. It's like having a rewind button on your screen. No similar program on the market has this feature.

Also featured is 'MoM's Log Book,' a date/time-stamped readout of URLs visited. Each URL logged can be bookmarked or clicked to download. MoM's Screen Capture facility permits the user to save any number of web pages, then improve image quality using contrast, brightness and other controls. Plus thumbnail screen-shots are easily resized for viewing.

MoM can be set to take random 'Screen Peeks' at intervals ranging from one minute up to once a day. A day's worth is about 200 screens. And if you step away from your computer, MoM has enough built-in common sense to stop making screen-shots until you start surfing again. MoM knows how to economize.

MoM comes packed with its own list of "default naughty words," as well as less-obvious words to track, such as "blood," "kill," "bludgeon" and so on. There's even a "game set," keeping tabs on words such as "solitaire, cards, dice, etc.," all popular time-wasters in the workplace. In any office setting, MoM functions as a gentle reminder by emitting an audible beep each time an off-limits site is downloaded. In that way, it encourages behavior rather than outright censoring a site through blocking.

At home, however, parents may elect to use a combination of blocking certain pornographic or adult-oriented sites and taking an occasional peek at the trail of screen-shots logged as a way of guiding their youngsters. MoM gives parents an ideal way to monitor what their children are doing -- even when Mom and Dad aren't present at the time. Exploitation occurs online often because a child is alone with his or her computer. But with MoM, parents can easily tell when their kids have been visiting a chatroom.

A limited-option freeware version of MoM can be downloaded at MoM The full-featured, option-packed registered version can be obtained for $20 from either the website or by writing to AVS, (Attention: MoM), P.O. Box 163, Keene, NH 03431. MoM is available also on CD for $25 plus shipping & handling.

7) ChildSafe

ChildSafe is a computer monitoring utility that runs in the background, completely hidden, enabling parents to watch as much or as little of their children's computer and Internet activity as they see fit. ChildSafe's unique "Block-On-Demand" function enables parents to block access to specific web sites that they deem inappropriate, offensive, or dangerous. ChildSafe , which features support for the latest browsers, is extremely simple to use. In just a few clicks, ChildSafe is up and running! Childsafe can be configured to monitor all keystrokes (including chat room dialogue), programs used, and sites visited on the Internet. It can also capture screen shots, so parents can see exactly what their children have been viewing.The software can either run hidden or in an open mode, making it ideal for use in situations where parents want to set up an on-line safety plan (see sidebar). When ChildSafe runs in hidden mode, parents can observe their children's computer activities without intimidating their children. When running in open mode, ChildSafe will display a warning message informing children that they are being monitored.The innovative features of ChildSafe assist parents in ensuring that their children are "Cyber Safe" whether they are working off-line on the computer or connected to the Internet

Pricing to register this program is $39.95, Includes Free Technical Support & Updates for one year, and comes with a 30 day money-back guarantee.

For More Information, Go to ChildSafe



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