Webroot Parental Controls addresses a fundamental problem faced by every doting parent with a web-savvy child.
It's impossible to supervise children for every second they surf the internet. But no parent wants to ban their child completely from such a useful education resource.
The answer? Software such as Webroot Parental Controls that restricts the type of websites and programs available to youngsters, as well as the length of time they can be accessed for.
Webroot has recently updated its Webroot Parental Controls software so we put it to the test.
Once we'd downloaded Webroot Parental Controls (which is also available in CD format from WH Smith and Amazon.co.uk) we had to set up a profile for every user and give them one of seven protection levels. These range from child user, which features heavy restrictions on content, programs and usage times, to an adult user with no restrictions.
Webroot Parental Controls' content restrictions for websites are very stringent. Under the child user profile almost all content categories are blocked, with the exception of 'young child'. That said, we aren't sure quite what Webroot defines as young children's sites - both Disney.co.uk and the BBC's CBeebies website were unavailable under this profile.
Parents can rectify such omissions in Webroot Parental Controls by adding specified addresses to a list of Trusted Sites, which can then be accessed by the youngster concerned.
Another issue is that some trusted sites use microsites. By clicking the links on the main, approved site we were directed to new web addresses, which weren't in the Trusted Sites list and were unavailable. So Webroot Parental Controls demands some input from parents.
Each Webroot Parental Controls user profile can also be customised to restrict the programs available to use as well as the time and period for which the computer and internet can be accessed.
The computer access can be restricted on different days of the week for anywhere from 0 to 24 hours. It can be altered by 15-minute increments. With Webroot Parental Controls web access, however, can be restricted only by hourly intervals on different days.
Under the Webroot Parental Controls restrictions, web access is automatically cut off as soon as the computer clock hits the relevant time. When the computer access is close to its time limit, warnings are issued every minute.
Tricks such as switching from one web browser to another, or attempting to alter the time on the PC's clock don't cut it with Webroot Parental Controls.
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