Best Buys: Online filters - - Columbia, South Carolina

Best Buys: Online filters

(National) June 22, 2005 - Consumer Reports' Dean Gallea tested eleven software programs to see how well they block offensive sites.   
Some come free with a subscription to AOL or MSN. Others like Net Nanny and Norton Internet Security cost between $35 and $70.   

The programs offer different levels of protection for various age groups. Gallea says in one test they checked the settings for young teen, "Most did a very good job at blocking pornographic websites, but not as good at blocking websites advocating things like hate, drug use and violence."
In fact, nine of the eleven programs did not block a site that tells you "How to Kill Someone With Your Bare Hands." Gallea says a continuing problem is some also blocked a lot of legitimate sites, like the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as well as the Southern Poverty Law Center, "We did find some products that were better at striking a balance between blocking the objectionable web sites and letting through the informational ones." 

Top ratings went to a program called Safe Eyes, which you can download for $50. No matter which filtering software you use, keep the computer in a family area so you can keep tabs on online activity. 

One note, the Safe Eyes software program does not work with Macs. So for Mac users, it's recommended that you use the filtering software that comes free with AOL. It does block a lot of legitimate web sites, but it also does an excellent job of blocking offensive sites. 

Reported by Judi Gatson
Posted 6:54pm by BrettWitt

Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this Web site. Copyright © 2000-2005 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.

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