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CyberPatrol Parental Controls 7.7 review

Barry de la Rosa
16 Oct 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
40
(around £24) for a one-year, three-PC licence

Although it's full of features, none is as well-implemented as in any of the other programs tested

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Specifications

CyberPatrol recognises Windows user accounts and prompts you to create a profile and password for each user.

There are a number of presets for different age groups, as well as a Web Yes list, which restricts users to trusted web sites only. Time management is done via a clear grid in half-hour increments.

Web filtering can be set using pre-defined categories, and although there are fewer categories than in other software, each has a slider to set different levels of blocking, although it's not immediately clear what each level means. There are whitelists and blacklists for both sites and keywords to help you fine-tune the filters.

Using the Young Teen preset for web filtering, we were disappointed by the results. While it was generally good at blocking porn sites, it didn't recognise most of the pro-self-harm sites, and blocked harmless sites such as Facebook and dating site www.match.com. Instead of forcing Google to use SafeSearch, CyberPatrol simply blocked search results, including some potentially harmless queries.

You can block programs, including chat and newsgroup software, outright or according to a schedule. Keyword filtering is limited to the most common chat and IM programs; while you can add programs to the list of blocked ones, you can't filter them for keywords.

The monitoring function is limited to web pages, so you won't be able to see what has been said in a chat program, for example. There's also a remote management feature, but it's usable only on an internal network and it's not very user-friendly. Finally, although it blocks most free web proxy sites, it didn't block our chosen proxy software site.

We weren't happy with the vague sliders on the web filters and the poor results in our tests. Support for more IM clients is needed, as well as monitoring for chat and IM. Overall, Net Nanny is a lot easier to use, and it has better web filters and chat monitoring.

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