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Brightfilter Parental Control 2009

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Brightfilter Parental Control 2009

This subscription-based Web filtering service ($40/year) allows parents to control Internet access via a Web-based interface.

Brightfilter offers several access profiles, ranging from the most restrictive (which blocks any site that could be disturbing) to an adult level that allows free access but blocks spyware- or malware-laden sites. You can create your own profile, choosing from an extensive list of filters that includes image search engines, chat, pornography, and so on. You can fine-tune user profiles by specifying URLs to "always block" or "always allow." You can also set time limits on Internet access, allowing particular users to access the Web only at certain times of the day.

Unfortunately, Brightfilter didn't work very well during my testing. The Web-based interface was sluggish, taking minutes to load filtering profiles and set other parameters--though that could be a server issue. Of more concern is that Brightfilter appears to be a blunt instrument. For example, the default profile I used is designed for children and is one of the most restrictive, blocking access even to image search sites. Nonetheless, it let me search on "Spring Break" and "sex" in Google--and returned inappropriate images in thumbnails in the search results. To take this further, on the Spring Break results page I clicked a link illustrated with a picture of a young woman chugging hard liquor. I read the graphic blog, called "Campus Confessions," even though a pop-up told me that Firefox had been blocked from accessing the Internet.

Until Brightfilter works out its bugs, I find it difficult to recommend. A better option for parents who need software to monitor their children's online activities may be a more comprehensive service like Net Nanny.

--Kim Saccio-Kent

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Brightfilter Parental Control 2009

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