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Cyber Patrol Parental Controls 7.7 review

Simon Handby
23 Oct 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
26
inc VAT

CyberPatrol feels long-in-the-tooth, with middling performance and a fiddly interface. We hope the next release improves it.

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Cyber Patrol has been around longer than many other parental control packages. Although it's been 12 months since we last compared parental control software, Parental Controls is still selling the same version (7.7) that we reviewed then. The only change is the addition of chat filtering.

While many of the other packages pick up the existing Windows users from the start, with Cyber Patrol you're first prompted to set up a default profile based on your environment (home, school etc) and user type (adult, young teen etc).

We were baffled that the administrator must provide a mandatory hint for the headquarters password, which the software stresses can be viewed by anyone using the computer. It seems contradictory to insist on a password hint, yet warn users not to choose one that 'will give the headquarters password away'. If a PC has multiple user types, as you'd expect from a shared family computer, it's important to ensure that the default profile has strict filtering and that you set up suitable profiles for each user. The headquarters does help with this by detecting existing Windows profiles.

As with most packages, it's important to give children standard user accounts on the PC. With administrator privileges a smart kid could create a new account that would inherit the default permissions. We had some issues in getting CyberPatrol to work as we expected. Again, as with all packages, it's essential to log in as your child and test that your settings work properly.

CyberPatrol's filtering behaviour was reasonably good, although, as when we last tested it, it was comparatively poor at blocking self-harm sites. It also appeared to stop the Google Chrome browser working properly for both safe and restricted sites – Chrome's behaviour returned to normal after we uninstalled CyberPatrol.

Although CyberPatrol now supports chat filtering, it's disappointing that its user interface hasn't been given an overhaul to address its usability. While the options remain comprehensive, it's still tricky to understand and configure them all and it's comparatively easy to get caught out. We did notice a few improvements in the software's filtering results, but the problem we experienced with Chrome seems odd given the browser's increasing popularity. It adds to the impression of a product that's outclassed by the competition.

Details

Price£26
Detailswww.cyberpatrol.com
Rating**

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