In this day and age, most children are highly IT-literate and may have their own smartphones, tablets and/or PCs. Their ability to find material on the Internet may well exceed their ability to understand or come to terms with the subjects they encounter online. Parental control software is designed to keep children away from materials that their parents feel is not yet appropriate for them, and may also allow Internet access to be restricted to particular times or a total number of hours per day or week. We have reviewed and tested a number of products for Windows, Android and iOS, to determine how easy they are to set up and whether they are effective at blocking the types of material they are meant to shield children from.
This year we have reviewed the products in 5 separate single-product reports (one vendor submitted two different products). Those vendors accepted our invitation to have their products for Windows reviewed and thoroughly tested.
The review part covers the main features included in each product, such as web content filtering, time limit controls and application controls, and how easy it is to use these. The test checks the web-filtering component using our automated system, and ascertains how effectively each product blocks websites in different categories, such as pornography, drugs and gambling. The same testing procedure/URLs and report format were used for all products, and the tests carried out simultaneously, so that the reports can be compared with each other.
- BullGuard Internet Security
- ESET Smart Security
- Kaspersky Internet Security
- Kaspersky Safe Kids
We also investigated several parental control products for Android mobile devices. Many of these currently do not function properly under the latest Android version, 5.1.1, while those that do had low block rates or other problems that made them unsuitable. As a result, we did not feel that we could approve any of the mobile products, and so have not published a report.
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