Listed below you’ll find some good links to reviews of parental filtering software. However be aware that not all filters are alike. Some filter on domains, similar to host files, while others filter based on keywords, content, or a combination of everything.
Many of the filtering software products I examined did a good job of filtering out domains such as MySpace.com but failed when it came to filtering out proxy requests to MySpace.com from another site.
Let me explain: teens are smart when it comes to circumventing blocking software. There are hundreds of sites called web proxies that allow you to visit other sites anonymously. The address bar will still show the URL of the web proxy so most filtering software will not be able to block the information served up by the proxy software. However, a teenager can type in myspace.com or some other domain and still be able to access the site even though filtering software is in place to block it. In order for you to fully understand this procedure you may want to visit some of the more popular web proxies listed below to see how they work.
Sites for web proxies are changed all the time on the web so there will never be a complete list, but visiting google.com and searching for something like
will bring up good results.
So what is the answer? Is there a filtering software that is able to block myspace.com as well as proxy requests for it?
I like a product called Content Watch. In the testing I completed, it was able to block not only domains, IP address and keywords but also proxy requests. You can find out more about Content Watch by visiting the link below.
For Macintosh Computers
The best filtering software I could find is a product called Content Barrier, although I did not personally test it, it appears to work on the same principles that Content Watch uses. You can find out more about Content Barrier by visiting:
Here are some good sites for reviews of other parental control and filtering software.
About.com’s Review of Filtering Software
ConsumerSearch’s Parental Control Software Consumer Report
Alternatives to MySpace.com
Social networking sites like MySpace.com, Facebook.com, Xanga.com, and Tagworld.comare popular because they allow teens to chat and find other teens who have the same interests. In fact, MySpace.com has become a teen version of Match.com as far as dating is concerned. Since it’s completely interactive and teens can customize their own pages and add people to their list, there isn’t anything quite like it currently.
Alternatives such as normal Instant Messaging programs like ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and others provide the chat alternative but not the other interaction.
Because MySpace.com is so popular there are others following the same formula. MSN created their own version at http://spaces.msn.com, although it was never as popular
The best alternative is to talk to your teen and monitor what they are posting to the site. Communicate with your teen about what you find acceptable and unacceptable on their profile and work with them to change information that can be harmful.