Parental control

Parental controls aren't for everybody, obviously, and there aren't many good ones that aren't part of a larger security suite. But if you have a child, these programs will help you shape their online experience.

  • Windows Live Family Safety

    Windows Live Family Safety

    Windows Live Family Safety provides a simple set of tools for keeping children away from questionable material online. With a professional layout and a great deal of flexibility, this is a great tool for protecting your kids online.

    The program's interface feels instantly intuitive. There are three levels of filtering, ranging from nothing to strict. The program wisely includes a list of kid-friendly Web sites it allows. However, you can also customize the filters by adding specific Web sites to block or to allow. When we attempted to view a questionable or blocked site, we were prevented from doing so completely. The program integrates nicely with Windows' user control, so when children log in their browsing is automatically restricted. Note that Windows Live registration, which is free, is required. Read full review

  • KidZui - The Internet for Kids

    KidZui - The Internet for Kids

    KidZui seems like a kiddified browser with social networking rolled in. Children can find their favorite YouTube videos, rate content using tags, and share opinions with other KidZui friends, all from a colorful interface with big buttons and labels. KidZui is anything but a standard kids' browser, though, and what makes it so unique is precisely why it's such a safe tool for children.

    KidZui is a closed system, not filter-driven, so all content that's available has been approved by editors into a whitelist database. Kids can explore the Internet by using the search/URI bar, or search by a left-nav sidebar that's organized by topics including science, movies and TV, games, sports, and animals. Parental registration is required before your child can create an online identity, and there's a paid upgrade available to provide more options for both kids and their parents. A KidZui extension for Firefox turns Mozilla's browser into a KidZui experience, too. Read full review