capsule review

ContentBarrier 1.2

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It's hard enough to ensure your children's safety in the real world without having to worry about the dangers they may encounter online. Intego's ContentBarrier monitors the flow of Internet data to and from your computer and blocks access when objectionable content is detected. But, the barrier isn't foolproof.

Power of the Password

ContentBarrier is integrated with Mac OS 9's Multiple Users feature: when a new user logs on, settings change according to rules you have set. If you have a number of children that use the same computer, you can create different profiles for each according to maturity level. Plus, it's possible to restrict Internet access to specific days and hours for designated users. A password unlocks Internet access rules; the ContentBarrier control panel can be protected with its own master password.

ContentBarrier's 22 filters are designed to block specific types of Web sites, such as gambling or pornography (see "Restricted Access"). Plus, special filters prevent users from using all chat rooms, newsgroups, e-mail, or FTP, and you can monitor chat room conversations for specific phrases, such as "give me your phone number." If these built-in filters don't block the types of content you wish to avoid, you can customize your own filters by entering key words to watch for.

Blocked Access

When a user tries to load a Web site that meets ContentBarrier's filter criteria, a blank page with the message "Your request has been blocked by ContentBarrier" appears instead of the Web page. When a user tries to open a forbidden newsgroup, an error message is displayed. The program keeps a log of all sites visited, whether they were blocked or accessed.

Although ContentBarrier's approach is generally effective, it doesn't block offensive content 100 percent. Even with the Sex/Porn/Adult Content filter turned on, we were able to access some adult Web sites through a search engine. Also, because Intego doesn't allow the phrases used for its predefined filters to be edited or viewed, there's always a chance that ContentBarrier will work against you and block content that you're trying to access.

Intego's ContentBarrierRestricted Access: Check boxes let you toggle ContentBarrier's filters on and off.
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