This is one of the easiest approaches to keeping kids safe online, but only if they're very young.
Zigback Blocker is added as an IE add-on. You'll need to provide your name, city, state, e-mail, and choose a password before the installation completes. After that, each time Internet Explorer is launched, Zigback Blocker presents a page with a list of sites sorted into more than 50 categories. The page is pretty amateurish, and there are some spelling errors that even some kids will catch. The mix is pretty heavy on bible sites and zoological gardens, but inexplicably there are links to Yahoo games like pool and media sites like Rolling Stone, which don't seem like very kid-friendly options.
The main problem with the program comes with tabbed browsers, the standard in new versions of Internet Explorer. Although there's a link on Zigback's home page to see the sites they claim to block, we were able to open a tab, type in MySpace and Facebook, and get immediate access, even though both are on the banned list. In addition, testers who had other toolbars installed that included links to banned sites were able to access the sites with no problem. Zigback Blocker also shows up in the Start menu with a link to uninstall. Despite the password protection, the link uninstalled the program without asking for the password. Kids who can read could easily get rid of this program and remove what little protection it provides.
Finally, the Zigback Blocker site also has a link for payments, and indicates monthly service rates, but it's listed as freeware. With the ease of bypassing this program, lack of security measures, and odd assortment of "approved" sites, we suggest parents find another way of keeping kids away from sites they don't want them to visit.
The Zigback Blocker Pro v1.1 is a small ad-in that turns your Web browser into the largest, most reliable kid-safe environment on the World Wide Web. Unlike other web content filters, we block ALL web sites; then regulate those sites that are approved kid-safe web sites. No hassles, or new software to learn; just install and you are up and running-turn it off and on with the click of a button. Perfect for young kids between 8 and 13 years old; block access to social networking, instant messaging, file and video sharing, email, and other potentially harmful web sites. Version 1.1 includes unspecified updates.