This is not something I get asked about much (I’m not exactly sure why). But this time I decided to look into it carefully.
A past customer just got a laptop for her 10 YO son, so she wanted to be sure he didn’t stray onto any naughty websites… as it had happened a few times already.
As most of you already know, its amazingly easy to stray onto the more “risque” sites… sometimes without even trying.
Up to this point, I had heard of “net nanny”, and I had briefly stumbled onto the IE content advisor.
I decided to take a look at content advisor, but quickly found many problems:
- It would either block everything, unless it has been classified as safe (even the ninemsn.com website would get blocked under this setting)… so the parent would spend most of their time “approving” websites… ie: a useless solution.
- it would allow everything, unless it had been classified as “bad”… again useless, as most naughty websites still show up!
- Using another browser bypasses content advisor completely!
The customer said she had heard the www.netalert.gov.au website was worth looking at.
I asked Mandy to take a look and see if anything was worth a try. She tried filterpak integard, optenet web filter, and safe eyes. We also tried k9 web protection, as it seems to have many supporters out there.
In the end, we found that k9 web protection offered the easiest solution, and it seemed to work well. Its also “free” (you pay by giving them your email address).
I made an effort to disable it by disabling the xp service… but that just disabled all browsing 🙁
Besides being able to monitor and customise which categories to allow/disallow, the main section makes it easy by having just 3 levels of protection: high filtering … 10 – 13 years of age, medium filtering (14-18 years old), and an over 18 section.
Another nice touch is that it locks the google preferences into “safe search”… so a google search for “porn” returns “no documents found”.
My son is 6, so I’m sure I’ll need to revisit this area in a few years time!