June 8, 2009

CyberPatrol Review - Keeping Kids Safe Online

I was asked to review CyberPatrol and happily agreed since the Princess Nagger has her own computer and while I do monitor her activity, I am unable to do it consistently.

From CyberPatrol's website:
Think your kids are safe online? Think again.
  • 72% of kids don’t tell their parents what they do online
  • 71% received messages from someone they don’t know
  • 55% have given personal information to a stranger
  • Nearly 50% have been bullied online
  • 22% have accidentally downloaded a virus
Sources: NCMEC; Senate Resolution 567; Harris Interactive

With CyberPatrol Parental Controls you can:
  • Block harmful websites and images
  • Stop predators and cyberbullies
  • Monitor activity
  • Limit time spent online
  • Protect personal information
  • Restrict access to chat, IM and other programs
  • Block program downloads

I have desktop icons on the Princess Nagger's computer of the kids games she is allowed loves to play - you know, like Dora and Diego and Wow Wow Wubzy...

But when she's browsing games at Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network or any other fun place to browse, she still encounters those tempting pop up windows (in spite of a pop up blocker). I don't want to have to stand over her shoulder and tell her 'NO' every time she gets intrigued by an ad or free game trial. She does, however, understand that she is not to download anything without permission, and of course she doesn't have access to any payment methods or even an email address of her own...that will come way too quickly as it is.

I had a few false starts trying to install it, as I had to make sure there was no spyware already present on the Princess Nagger's computer. I actually didn't mind the 'false starts', because it made me aware of the necessity of having something like CyberPatrol on the Princess Nagger's computer, since I never use that computer myself, and spyware can be very tricky!

CyberPatrol definitely made a difference. Over the last 4 days Princess Nagger has spent more time on her computer since she's out of school. She didn't notice any difference in the performance of her computer - I didn't notice any difference, either, when she roped me into playing one of the games for her.

The thing I liked best is that I can set different filtering rules based on different variances like age. Most of our friends kids are older than the Princess Nagger, so I can set the filters based on their age (and what their parents allow for browsing the internet). CyberPatrol doesn't just block bad websites, it also lets you set time limits, keeps track of where they've been going on the internet, and even blocks them from sending out personal info.

It's very easy to use - the default settings are excellent, so you can just do an 'install and go' mode and not worry. I like that it has lots of ability to configure it the way you want, because it makes it much more flexible when any 'older' kids come over to visit.

If you're looking for a reasonably priced security software to keep your kids safe, I would definitely recommend CyberPatrol.



3 Random Sassy Comments:

Sprite's Keeper said...

Great review! John and I still haven't introduced Sprite to online games especially since John is always on it for WoW. Meh. She likes her books anyway, but again, she's TWO. But for the future, I'll keep this in mind!

theglassdragonfly said...

It is so important to keep on top of what your kids are doing online!! This sounds like a great tool.

Hit 40 said...

I will think about this software? I have told my boys never ever to give away their real name... but we both know how well kids sometimes follow our words.