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Parental Internet Control Choices Expand

Boot Camp feature for Monday, November 24, 2003

Parental controls for kids on the Internet. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's a struggle that's been going on for years. How to give children access to the wealth of information and communication tools of the Internet... while protecting them at the same time. Software tools like NetNanny have become popular. They filter Web sites... and monitor what kids are doing. The company has created a new Chat Monitor as well... that monitors and records chat and instant messaging sessions. Both programs sell for about 40 dollars. Griffin Technologies is selling another solution... called ControlKey. President and founder Bennett Griffin says it combines software with a key like device that plugs into the USB port of a computer...

"Essentially once the system has been installed, you then need this USB key to be online. And when you're ready for your children to get back to homework or do something maybe besides the computer in general, you can simply pull the key out of the USB port, much like you take the key out of the ignition of the car, now the Internet is shut down and you know that they're not browsing. It also gives you peace of mind when you're out to dinner. You know that if you have the key with you, the kids are not doing something they shouldn't be on the Internet and you also know the babysitter isn't doing something he or she shouldn't be on the Internet."

It's an all or nothing approach... no software timer for instance. The Internet is either on or off... .and since it doesn't monitor or filter what the kids are doing when they are online... the 60 dollar ControlKey might best be used in conjuntion with other software. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.