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CyberPatrol Parental Controls Review
This product has been dis-continued by CyberPatrol.
Technology should make our lives easier
• Internet access schedule
• IM filter to block dangerous words
• Easy to use
• Flexibility in customizing profiles
• No remote access or remote notifications
• Not completely kid-proof
• One license only per purchase
If you’re not interested in being alerted remotely when your kids step out of line on the Internet, the CyberPatrol Parental Controls software is a good value, easy to use program for peace of mind on the web.
CyberPatrol is a known name and is trusted by many people to provide Internet security solutions. Does CyberPatrol Parental Controls give you all you need to keep your kids safe online? We've looked into this software to see what it offers.
Purchasing CyberControl Parental Controls gives you one license only. This software could prove expensive if you have more than one PC to manage in your home.
The installation process is simple and after set-up you have access to the program through the toolbar.
Filtering & blocking
Websites – As with Net Nanny and KidsWatch, you can block the websites that children shouldn't visit. There's a "always allowed" and an "always blocked" list. One thing that makes CyberPatrol stand out from the others is the choice of warning screens for when your children try to access a blocked website. Screens range from cartoon-style warnings for kids to the stealth option that looks like a standard browser error.
There are four blocking levels for each category, from low to maximum. The website blocking capability works with the Google Safe Search system – when the Google Safe Search is turned off, the search is blocked by CyberPatrol. When it's on, the search can take place.
IM & chat – CyberPatrol doesn't restrict who your kids can chat to but it does block dangerous words and phrases from being used and prevent kids from giving out your personal info like home address and phone number. If a child types a banned word, it is replaced by periods. However, this is not exactly foolproof as clever kids can get around the blocked words by typing banned words with an added character, then removing it to send. Kids can't get around the blocking on messages coming in.
Social networks – CyberPatrol also restricts access to social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook.
Games – You can block access to games and to other programs so your kids can't download problem files. You can block access to programs at specific times or set a blanket ban on their use.
Other – CyberPatrol restricts access to chatrooms and newsgroups if you choose to set this up.
The clock can't be set backwards because this sets off a tamper-alarm that can only be removed through accessing the administrative account. However, setting the clock forward doesn't trigger this system so strongly.
Blocked programs remain blocked with CyberPatrol – kids won't find it possible to rename or relocate programs to try and evade the system.
If you want to make sure your children don't spend all night on the internet when you're not there to monitor them, you can set predetermined time limits. The limits can be based on a schedule depending on the time of day, or on a time allowance that once they've used it, it's gone. This time control feature covers both internet and program use.
You as the administrator can manage the Internet use of multiple people on one PC, using existing user names on Windows XP, Windows 7 and Vista. But if your family works from one user name on the PC, you can set up user accounts independent of Windows – this is a good feature as it gives you the best of both worlds.
There are seven pre-defined profile levels from Child (very restrictive) up to Adult – Security. These adult settings will be useful in an educational setting, or a small business, when you can restrict dangerous sites but leave more freedom for internet browsing. You decide which monitoring level you set for each user, from monitoring every website the user visits, to monitoring only blocked sites and to not monitoring at all. If you want more flexibility, you can configure the pre-set profiles to your own specifications. A good feature is the ability to configure settings that are the same across all users (for example, IM filtering for everyone) while at the same time setting different levels of access for different users. Once you've created a profile you can duplicate it for a child of the same age, or another user.
There's no option for remote management with CyberPatrol Parental Controls – this is one of the reasons why this parental control software is behind the others.
CyberPatrol Parental Controls gives you a report concerning the websites your child has visited, the time they've spent online and the time they spent on each website. However, you read these reports via the software – there are no email alerts or text notifications sent to your email account.
Ease of use
Simply use the straight-from-the-box filter settings if you don't want to spend time setting your own filter levels.
The reports are easy to view. Choose between a weekly or daily view. We found the profiles were also easy to set up, and gave you enough flexibility without making the process overly complicated.
Help & support
Free support is available during business hours during the week and there's a Knowledge Base for solutions to common problems with the CyberPatrol suite of products.
CyberPatrol Parental Controls is a good quality, solid and reliable Internet monitoring solution for your family. The software would also be useful in small businesses or educational establishments.
CyberPatrol Parental Controls currently comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
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