Net filtering software review

Keep your child safe from internet nasties with net filtering software.
 
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  • Updated:15 Jan 2008
 

02.Results

The following products scored the best results in our test.

What to buy
Brand Price
NetNanny 5 v5.6.0.178 $39.99 (USD)
Integard v1.4.0.6299 Free (via NetAlert)
ParentalControl Bar v4.0.3.344 Free
CyberPatrol v7.6 $39.95 (USD)
Safe Eyes (Mac) v5 Free (via NetAlert)
Optenet Web Filter v1.0.4 Free (via NetAlert)

There was not a lot to separate the top six products we tested and any of these filters will provide a good level of screening. It’s worth noting that all the programs tested have the potential to perform better if 'trained' correctly over a period of time by manually approving or disapproving content.

Of the 15 filters tested, the top six comprised two commercial (NetNanny and CyberPatrol), three government supplied (Integard, Safe Eyes for Mac and Optenet Web Filter) plus one freeware filter (ParentalControl Bar).

Beware the boxed product

Software versions tend to change rapidly and it's easy for retailers to be left with old stock on their shelves. So if you buy a boxed software product be sure to double check the version before purchase.

Of the tested products, NetNanny 5 was the only one we found in a boxed product available from computer retailers. However, this was an older version than the one available for download and was not compatible with Internet Explorer 7. We purchased a current version online for testing.

 

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Results Tables

Full results for all products are shown in the tables below.

Blocking breakdown table

  Modes of blocking
Software / Website Version Price Overall Ease of Use Performance Flexibility URL Keyword Dynamic Categorisation
NetNanny 5
www.netnanny.com.au
5.6.0.178 US $39.99 75 95 63 75
Integard
www.raceriver.com [a]
1.4.0.6299 Free (via NetAlert) 73 88 59 84
ParentalControl Bar
www.parentalcontrolbar.org
4.0.3.344 Free 71 84 81 25
CyberPatrol
www.cyberpatrol.com
7.6 US $39.95 70 81 65 66
Safe Eyes (Mac)
www.safeeyes.com.au [a]
5 Free (via NetAlert) 69 88 63 53
Optenet Web Filter
www.optenet.com [a]
1.0.4 Free (via NetAlert) 68 84 64 56
K9 Web protection
www.k9webprotection.com
3.2.44 Free 65 83 67 34
CYBERsitter
www.cybersitter.com
10.7.11.12 US $39.95 65 93 47 69
Filterpak
http://centipedenetworks.com [a]
7.7 Free (via NetAlert) 62 75 57 56
Safe Eyes (PC)
www.safeeyes.com.au [a]
5 Free (via NetAlert) 59 85 42 63
Safe Families We-Blocker Parental Control
www.safefamilies.org
2.0.1 Free 58 86 55 22
Cyber Sentinel
www.cybersentinel.com
3.5.9.0 US $39.95 50 58 39 66
NetMop FilterPak for Windows
www.netmop.com
7.7.1 US $54.00 45 39 47 47
iProtectYou
www.softforyou.com
3.06 Free 41 50 33 47
Parental Filter
www.ecommsec.com
3 Free 34 46 32 22
 


  Features
Software / Website Log reports sent via email Detailed history reporting Restrict time online Application blocking Stealth mode Remote management Multi-licence
NetNanny 5
www.netnanny.com.au
C, N, I, P, E
Integard
www.raceriver.com [a]
C, N, I, P, E
ParentalControl Bar
www.parentalcontrolbar.org
C
CyberPatrol
www.cyberpatrol.com
C, N, P, E
Safe Eyes (Mac)
www.safeeyes.com.au [a]
C, N, E
Optenet Web Filter
www.optenet.com [a]
C, N, I, P, E
K9 Web protection
www.k9webprotection.com
None
CYBERsitter
www.cybersitter.com
C, N, I, P, E
Filterpak
http://centipedenetworks.com [a]
C, E
Safe Eyes (PC)
www.safeeyes.com.au [a]
C, N, I, P, E
Safe Families We-Blocker Parental Control
www.safefamilies.org
None
Cyber Sentinel
www.cybersentinel.com
C, P, E
NetMop FilterPak for Windows
www.netmop.com
C, N, I, E
iProtectYou
www.softforyou.com
C, N, I, P, E
Parental Filter
www.ecommsec.com
C
 

Table notes

[a] To download the software, go to the NetAlert website (www.netalert.gov.au).

Price: Price paid in November 2007.

Scores

  • Ease of use: (30% of overall) how easy the software is to use, from installation, updating, support information and navigating the software.
  • Performance: (50% of overall) whether the product is able to detect offensive material under typical circumstances that a user may encounter on the Internet.
  • Flexibility: (20% of overall) The different features, options and settings available within the software.

Features

  • Individual user profiles: whether the software can be set up and customised for multiple users.
  • Log reports sent via email: allows for reports to be received remotely.
  • Detailed history reporting: an in-depth breakdown of usage and violations.
  • Restrict time online: time restrictions set by the administrator for a daily/weekly basis.
  • Application blocking: specific blocking for programs including 
    C = chat
    N = newsgroup
    I = instant messaging (tested with Microsoft Messenger but may not necessarily work with all other IM programs)
    P = peer-to-peer (file sharing)
    E = email.
  • Stealth mode: if the software can operate hidden from a standard user.
  • Remote management: whether the software can be managed off-site.
  • Multi-licence: if the software can be used on multiple computers.