Internet Parental Control - Summary and Links

Last Updated: March 2009

So, which products should you buy?

(Note: just because a program isn't mentioned below, don't necessarily disregard it, these are only based on my review of the web pages and on-line reviews, and are not based on hand-on personal reviews of the programs)

Top Rated "All Around" products:

ContentWatch's NetNanny
Intego's ContentBarrier (for MAC)
Internet Safety's SafeEyes

The PC programs range from about $40 - $60 per year for coverage on up to three PCs.

Top Rated Free Programs:

(Note: I have used the top three: K-9, Symantec, and OpenDNS)

K-9 Web Protection: Server based filter with local controls. I've used this for some time, and the ability to over-ride a blocked website is important as we've run across quite a few "legitimate" sites (at least for our family) that were blocked. I would have liked to have two separate passwords - one that allows me to bypass a block and a different password for access to the on-line reports. That way I can allow my children to bypass the blocked sites, but I can still monitor where they went, without giving them "total control"

Symantec Norton Online Family Service: Similar to K-9 Web Protection. I found it a bit harder to use, but it has a cute dog on the desktop that let's the children know it is in-use, and is configurable for different profiles. It is free right now during Beta testing. I don't know how long before it becomes a fee-based service.

OpenDNS: offers Domain Name Service lookup (which you need anyway) along with web filtering. The reports are well done and accessible from anywhere. Highly recommended, though may not be suitable as the only parental control because a savvy child can bypass OpenDNS and set up an alternate DNS for the local computer. OpenDNS can, of course, be used for MAC or Linux systems as well.

Microsoft Vista Parental Controls: Come free as part of Vista, and are certainly worth turning on.

IMSafer: has a free Internet Messaging service

McGruff Safeguard: Has a free version of website visits, Social Network monitoring, and so forth.

(Note: I have not recommended any of the "local" filtering products even though many are provided for free, simply because I have not tested them and being a resident program, they have more potential to interfere with your system operation. If I can make time in the future to test some of these, I may add them to the list).

Top Accountability/Addiction Services

Centipede Networks: Filterpak provides filtering, and accountability service is available.
Covenant Eyes: I've seen a lot of recommendation for this accountability service. Filteirng is also available.
FamilyFellowship: allows you to put local bypass in the hands of the ISP
HedgeBuilders (and other filtered ISPs): provide filtering that you can't turn off and have limited bypass capabilities
NetMop: Pornography is always filtered and not bypassable
SeeNoEvil: blocks adult images, even within pages
WiseChoice: Based on SafeEyes, no local override is available without contacting WiseChoice
x3Watch: free accountability software

Links for More Information

These are just a few of the many sites to go to for more information about safety on the Internet 

National Cyber Security Alliance: information for homes, schools, and businesses.

The NetSmartz Workship, with links to and Provides colorful and entertaining information about Internet safety for all ages.

Federal Trade Commission (in Partnership). Information on Internet fraud, safety, etc.

TechMission's SafeFamilies site. Lots of safety information and their free program for Windows XP (not Vista)

An online safety blog sponsored by AOL
Safe Wired Schools: Intended for Internet filtering in Gov't Schools, but some useful information for all
Deloitte's Safer Internet includes benchmark tests for Parental Control Software
David Burt's excellent up-to-date blog on web filtering, with reviews

Christian site for overcoming addition
Top Ten Reviews site - Internet Filtering Software reviews

Top Ten Reviews site - Parental Control Time Monitoring Software

Well Researched Reviews page on monitoring software

Internet Safety, Help, and Educational Resource
A somewhat dated review of filtering software

Help for pornography addiction