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Safe Families We-Blocker

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Safe Families We-Blocker

Parents can set blocking parameters for every log-in account on a Windows computer, blocking users from sites containing pornography, adult subjects, violence/criminal activity, hate/persecution, drugs/alcohol, gambling, weaponry, a "user defined category" (that is not explained), and "sites that contain bad words." Parents can also limit users to an allowed sites list. The program keeps track of what sites individual users access, and whether they were blocked.

In my tests the program worked as described for the most part--although it was a bit overenthusiastic, blocking access to a local newspaper's site. It was also somewhat inconsistent: it blocked a Google search on "porn," but allowed a Dogpile search on the same term. It also allowed a fairly explicit news story on a schoolteacher who molested students.

The program appeared to slow down Web browsing considerably. The Safe Families FAQ was of little help, saying that We-Blocker's word filtering function often slows browsing (I didn't have it turned on).

The Safe Families version of We-Blocker builds on an earlier version of the program that was discontinued in 2001. Unfortunately, the interface for this newer version contains outdated information from its earlier incarnation.

The best thing about this software is that it is free. If you are concerned about what your children and teens are up to online, it may be worth a try. Note, however, that it appears to work with Internet Explorer only (it didn't work in Mozilla Firefox, and the Safe Families site does not provide compatibility information).

--Kim Saccio-Kent

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Safe Families We-Blocker

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