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Computer Business Solutions KidsWatch Professional review

Simon Handby
28 Oct 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
29
inc VAT

A potentially brilliant parental control package that's let down only by an apparent weakness in 64-bit systems, and a vulnerability to proxy software.

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We install and uninstall parental control software at least three times, and were left in no doubt that KidsWatch has the best set up of all. During the installation it detects the PC's existing user accounts and asks you to highlight the parent profile. If there isn't already one, it will talk you through creating a suitable administrative account.

The next step is to highlight the kids' accounts and choose the age group that each belongs to and hence the filters that will be applied to their internet use. You can choose whether to see information on each child's websites, chats, computer and program usage in a daily report. There's plenty of useful help during the process, and when finished you're encouraged to print out a helpful quick start guide that outlines further configuration and simple steps you can take to ensure that the software is working.

Not only is the process easy, but it makes sure that each user is correctly configured from the start, rather than relying on a default setting that may be either too lax or too strict. Any new user accounts are automatically locked down until the parent selects the appropriate age group for that individual.

KidsWatch has comprehensive features including blocks for programs, Windows features such as the command prompt and even specific ports. Once installed, we were impressed with its filtering, which has improved significantly since the last version we reviewed. This time, the initial settings delivered far better results that were appropriate to the age of the user in question. We experienced fewer false positives for helpful sites and innocent Google search terms, along with much better blocking of bad sites and searches. Previously we had also criticised the need to enter SMTP settings in order to configure email alerts, but this has also been addressed.

Things aren't perfect, alas. Although it appeared to be working, KidsWatch couldn't block any web content when we tested it on a 64-bit Windows 7 installation. We were also able to defeat its web protection with our USB proxy software, allowing us to view unsuitable content on protected accounts. Without this final problem, we would have been able to award KidsWatch at least one extra star. As it is, despite its generally excellent features, we can't recommend it above the excellent Net Nanny.

Details

Price£29
Detailswww.kidswatch.com
Rating***

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