Monitor Your Child's Access
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To Internet Pornography

    Software that filters or monitors Internet activity or regulates computer usage helps keep your children safe.  Although none of the following products can substitute for parental supervision, the best can help you when you can't be there.  Our tests included products that range from multifunction packages such as Cyber Patrol and Net Nanny, which block and filter Web content and help limit your child's use of computer games, to single-purpose products such as SurfWatch and X-Stop, which block and filter Internet content only. We also reviewed products such as Time's Up! and WatchDog, which do only time management.

    In several products, parents can view and edit the lists of objectionable sites. This ability is critical because none of the products have enough built-in intelligence to distinguish among obviously inappropriate sites and sites that are harmless (i.e., some programs block searches for Super Bowl XXX).  Only Cyber Snoop and Net Nanny permit both list viewing and list editing.

        Our testing confirms that these packages principally block sites with pornography, obscenity, and sexually explicit content--and they do a pretty
good job. Still, parents should look for the tool that gives them the most control over the sites their children can view.  Before we release our rankings of software filters, we believe it is important for you as parents to understand what type of sites exist and hope that after viewing the following sites, will understand how important it is to protect your children.  Although the degrees of accuracy differed, all filters were able to block children from the following types of sites. 

Protect Your Children from these types of sites!
We do not condone the use of these sites, but place them on this page to serve as an example. 

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    We hope that you now understand the necessity to protect your children from such sites and offer the following packages and links so you can gather more information about this innovation in software.  Cyber Snoop 2.07b, from Pearl Software, was our clear winner but we suggest two other products to consider for particular circumstances. For parents willing to relinquish some control over what kind of content is filtered to the software, Cyber Patrol 4.01, from The Learning Company, is a well-rounded package. If you're not concerned about filtering but wish to regulate your child's computer time, Time's Up! 1.10, from The Fresh Software Company, is an excellent choice.  We wish you the best of luck in parenting and in combating the availability of internet pornography to minors. 

Cyber Snoop 2.07b
. List price: $29.95. Requires: 486-based PC or better, 4MB RAM, 10MB hard disk space, Windows 95 or NT 3.51 or later. Pearl Software Inc., Chester Springs, PA; 800-732-7596. Download |

Cyber Patrol 4.01
. List price: $29.95. Requires: 486-based PC or better; 8MB RAM; 800K hard disk space; Microsoft Windows 3.1, 95, or NT 3.5. The Learning Company, Cambridge, MA; 617-494-1200. Download |

Time's Up! 1.10
. List price: $19.95. Requires: 5MB hard disk space, Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. The Fresh Software Company, Coral Gables, FL; 800-846-3787, 305-569-6422. Download |

Runners Up (still amazing programs):

Cyber Sentinel 1.4.
List price: $49.95; download, free for 30 days. Requires: 486-based PC or better, 4MB RAM, 20MB hard disk space, Microsoft Windows 3.1 or 95. Security Software Systems Inc., Sugar Grove, IL; 888-835-7278. Download |

Cybersitter 97. Street price: $40. Requires: 386-based PC or better, 8MB RAM, 1MB hard disk space, Microsoft Win-dows 95 or NT 4.0. Solid Oak Software Inc., Santa Barbara, CA; 800-388-2761, 805-967-9853; fax, 805-967-1614. Download |

Net Nanny 3.1. List price: $39.95. Requires: 486-based PC or better, 4MB hard disk space, 4MB RAM, Microsoft Windows 3.x or 95. Net Nanny Ltd., Vancouver, B.C., Canada; 800-340-7177, 604-662-8522. Download |

SurfWatch 3.0. List price: With one-year subscription, $49.95. Requires: 386-based PC or better, 4MB RAM, 8MB hard disk space, Windows 95, Winsock-compatible Internet software. SurfWatch Software Inc., Los Altos, CA; 800-458-6600, 650-948-9505. Download |

WatchDog 1.2. List price: $25.00. Requires: 486/33-based PC or better, 8MB RAM, 2MB hard disk space, Microsoft Windows 95. Nic Jansma, Grand Rapids, MI; e-mail, Download |

WebChaperone 1.1.1. List price: $49.95. Requires: 486-based PC or better, 16MB RAM, 1.3MB hard disk space, Microsoft Windows 95. WebCo International Inc., Portland, OR; 800-387-8373, 503-417-2900. Download |

X-Stop 3.01. List price: $39.95. Requires: 386-based PC or better, 8MB RAM, 3MB hard disk space, DOS 3.3 or later or Microsoft Windows 3.1 or 95. Log-On Data Corp., Anaheim, CA; 888-786-7999, 714-577-4929; fax, 714-577-4932. |


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