My cousin asked me for suggestions on protecting his 4 kids from online threats the other day, so I took some time and came up a list of 10 sites and apps that may help. After doing so, I thought this information may help others too, so here’s my list.
OpenDNS (http://www.opendns.com): This is the easiest & most transparent to setup. However, I had problems trying to set this up with your particular connection last time I was there.
Windows Live Family Safety (http://download.live.com/familysafety): I have no experience with this, but it is from Microsoft and needs to be installed on each computer. Will help to filter out bad sites & can report on sites visited. Price: Free
Firefox Web Filters (reviews of FoxFilter & Suricate @ http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/applications-to-improve-parental-control/): 2 filters created especially for the Firefox web browser.
KidZui & KidRocket (http://www.kidzui.com & http://www.kidrocket.org): 2 all-encompassing desktop replacements that will not only not allow access to most of the web, but to other programs on the computer itself. It’s very intrusive, but they work if it’s what you’re looking for. KidZui seems to be the better of the two and is geared to kids a few years older than the audience for KidRocket.
KIDO’Z (http://kidoz.net): The newest desktop replacement, but this one is unique in that it uses Adobe Air to power their application. Adobe AIR provides developers a means to integrate the internet and desktop apps in a much more dynamic way. And this app has style…fast, customizable, games, video, & lot’s of parental control. There’s a lot of potential here, especially for younger kids.
Hope that helps. The only one I have any real experence with is OpenDNS, as it actually increases the internet speed up a tiny fraction, and helps to transparently filter out the websites I don’t ever want to see (ie. foxnews.com). But it’s also the one that probably will never work with your current internet service.
I’ll have to start looking at these closer myself soon enough…them darn kid(s) grow up too fast!