Commercial Filtering Software
The majority of the products featured on this site are forms of filtering software.
They are applications which reference site labels, tags and indexed site content to prevent certain content
from being viewed, accessed or downloaded on the basis of rules which you set according to the level of protection required.
The problem is that the internet changes daily - new sites come online, existing sites get updated and re-indexed and it is impossible to keep abreast of the changes. As a result filtering software can have a tendency to overblock or underblock sites. This means that your settings may end up blocking more destinations than the adult sites you are looking to exclude or the software might fail to block explicit material to the extent you are expecting. Our advice would be that some protection is better than none and choosing the right solution for you will depend on the age of your children and you family's internet habits.
Beyond the options discussed elsewhere, these are some of the more popular stand-alone commercial products available.
CYBERsitter is US-based all-in-one software filtering programme designed to restrict inappropriate online behaviour. It allows complete parental control - it blocks adult content, allows time limits to be set and records email/chat conversations. The site offers a 10 day free trial. Subscriptions start from £20 per year depending on the subscription length.
K9 Web Protection
K9 is a comprehensive piece of web filtering and parental control software for Windows or Mac. It is free to use but you will need to request a licence key from the website. To download K9 Web Protection
McAfee offers a range of internet security packages. McAfee Internet Security 2013, Total Protection 2013 and All Access 2013 all feature parental controls. McAfee All Access 2013 has the added advantage of offering content filtering across PC, Mac, smartphone and tablet up to a total of 5 devices. The annual licence fee ranges from £34.99 to £54.99 depending on the product and number of devices you are looking to protect. Discounts may be available in the online store.
Net Nanny offers a parental control and internet safety solution for Windows, Mac and Android. The yearly cost ranges from £19.99 to £71.97 depending on the platform and number of devices to be protected, though discounts are available in the online store.
Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 offer parental controls as part of their internet security software for PC.
Unfortunately the versions for Mac and mobile devices don't yet include parental controls.
Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 cost £49.99 and £59.99 respectively for a 1 year / 3 PC licence with discounts available in the
Norton Family Premier offers monitoring and web filtering for PC and mobile devices. It also has advanced monitoring tools allowing you to check on your kids' web activity on the go from your smartphone. Scrutiny extends to logging what they watch on YouTube and how they present themselves on social networks. It costs £29.99 a year, though you might find it more beneficial to talk to your kids about your concerns rather than policing their every move.