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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    I am setting up a PC for my little sister, who will be 7 on Monday.

    Her parents have Verizon FIOS, but the parental controls software they offer is part of some McAfee security suite that is probably going to slow down the rather ancient PC. And it costs $6 a month! (I have had a poor opinion of McAfee ever since it gave me a false positive in 1994, causing me to lose three days of work trying to remove the non-existent malware.) The other PCs in the house are running Vipre, which I am very happy with. I've already installed Windows Defender, which I believe should be sufficient until she gets a little older.

    What I'm looking for is some free or low-cost parental controls software that will prevent her from ordering anything online (which she has done before) and looking at "objectionable" content. It doesn't need anything as fancy as time limits -- her parents seem to be good at setting and enforcing these themselves. Any recommendations?

    The only caveat here is that I need to be able to manage the parental controls settings remotely. I do not live with my family (moved out 25 years ago), and i manage all their machines -- PCs and Macs -- remotely using LogMeIn (a fantastic improvement over GoToMy PC IMHO).

    If you have or know a kid around her age, any additional recommendations about some edutainment game would be appreciated as well. The PC -- her "big" present -- will be from our father, as it should be (even though I am doing all the work); I want to give her some game in which she can learn something. A typing tutor good for a 7-year-old would also be a good thing. (I learned to type on a manual typewriter when I was her age from an 80-year old book, but I don't think she has the discipline to use the book. I was an odd kid and she seems pretty regular.)

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    2 Star Lounger
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    Wink

    Hi Maggie :

    A defacto "Parental Control" program would be the FREE version of
    SpywareBlaster, available from http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html .
    It sets "killbits" in the computer, preventing it from going to Sites
    listed in its database . The program has Updates about once every 2
    weeks . Perhaps you should read through its "Tutorial" at
    http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tuto...utorial49.html !?
    For the BEST in what counts in Life :

    http://www.ctftoronto.com

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Thanks, but it doesn't seem to be what I'm looking for. Anyone else got a suggestion?

  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    Start with OpenDNS.com They have a free DNS that the parents can configure as desired.
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
    DETAIL in your question promotes DETAIL in my answer.
    Dominus Vobiscum <))>(

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie Owens View Post
    Thanks, but it doesn't seem to be what I'm looking for. Anyone else got a suggestion?
    See Parental controls in Windows XP.

    You can also check out the Family Safety app in Windows Live Essentials for Windows XP.

    Joe
    Joe

  6. #6
    5 Star Lounger
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    What I'm looking for is some free or low-cost parental controls software that will prevent her from ordering anything online (which she has done before)
    this one is gonna be really tough.....

    Any filtering is useless at its worst and limited at its best. I would also use OpenDNS as one layer but I would not use it as the only filter.....

    For a child of that age I personally would use some system that allowed only whitelisted sites (and I would build the whitelist) This means there would be only a few to start with and it would slowly grow, however, this takes time for the parent and will significantly limit the child's browsing experience.

  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    Thanks for that feedback. I will definitely check it out.

    The PC which I'd started to set up had a disk crash, so I am using a different one on a temporary basis until I get a new disk for the original PC. The other PC had ZoneAlarm Extreme Security on it which allows me to block sites based on the content they contain. I was wondering how ZoneAlarm determines what kind of content a site has. Does anyone know if they maintain some kind of list, or does it check the tags in the header?

    The original PC doesn't have ZoneAlarm Extreme Security -- I had installed Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials, since they're free -- it's not like she's going to be generating any valuable content, so I figure if her PC gets infected I can just wipe it and start over. Microsoft's parental controls aren't going to work all that well on Windows XP (the machine is probably too old and underpowered to run Windows 7) so I'd like some recommendations of additional third-party products I can examine.

    We are particularly interested in preventing her from doing any shopping -- apparently she managed to order some stuff using her mother's PC. I don't think she is going to TRY to look at "objectionable" content, though of course I want to prevent her from doing it by accident.

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    I have been using Norton's Online Family. The basic version is free. It seems to have a low resource requirement and is easy to set up. It does not require that you install the rest of Norton's antivirus suite. (I use Microsoft's free version instead.) I get emails when the kids try to visit sites that are blacklisted. I haven't researched its site blocking features extensively but so far it seems to be working. I cannot say it is a bullet-proof solution but we look over their shoulder quite a bit, too.

    https://onlinefamily.norton.com/familysafety

  9. #9
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    I have used Blue Coats K9 Web Protection (Free - Filter/Parental Control) for years in our household and felt it has done a good job. You could also think about using X3Watch accountability software, just to "keep tabs on her" remotely and make sure she's not "getting into trouble" as the years go on.

    Also, from what I have understood, Windows Defender support is kind of "built in" to Microsoft Security Essentials already, so you don't need to have Defender installed in addition to Essentials.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimB View Post
    I have used Blue Coats K9 Web Protection (Free - Filter/Parental Control) for years in our household and felt it has done a good job.
    Just as a footnote, as popular web sites grow and begin using alternate domains for content distribution, they often "break" until you add the new domain to the K9 whitelist. This has led to a lot of complaints on the Mozilla support forums over the years by kids who suddenly couldn't use any script-based features on Facebook or YouTube...

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimB View Post
    I have used Blue Coats K9 Web Protection (Free - Filter/Parental Control) for years in our household and felt it has done a good job. You could also think about using X3Watch accountability software, just to "keep tabs on her" remotely and make sure she's not "getting into trouble" as the years go on.

    Also, from what I have understood, Windows Defender support is kind of "built in" to Microsoft Security Essentials already, so you don't need to have Defender installed in addition to Essentials.
    I too have been satisfied with Blue Coats K9 Web Protection.

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