Tools to keep your kids safe online

Here are some online sources for keeping your children safe while they surf the Web.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
4 min read

Although some of us remember life before computers and the Internet, there's a new generation of children who don't. From an early age, they're on PCs, playing games, and in many cases, learning about the Internet.

That's why it's so important to safeguard your children while they're surfing the Web. The Internet can be a scary place, but these resources will help keep the bad stuff away:

Glubble Glubble bills itself as a family "social network" and browser. Although I'm not entirely convinced that it's a social network, it does do a fine job of ensuring your kids stay safe online.

Glubble lets you upload content like photos, videos, or special moments for your family to see. But where it shines is in controlling what your kids can do on the Web. All the sites they can browse are approved by you. Whenever they go to different sites, it's recorded so you can see what your kids are up to when they use the computer. Glubble provides your kids with several activities, including games and puzzles. It's a nice app for both the family and the children.

Set up your kids in Glubble. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Kido'z Kido'z is an Adobe AIR application that safeguards your children as they browse the Web. But unlike normal browsers, Kido'z determines what your kids can and cannot view.

After you download Kido'z, you'll be brought to a page showing icons for a handful of popular franchises for children, including Mickey Mouse, Dora the Explorer, and others. When you click on one of those options, you'll be brought to the subject's respective Web page within the app. You can click around as you would if you were using Firefox. Kido'z works well and it will help keep your kids safe from some of the Web's dangers.

Choose between these services to help keep your kids safe. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

KidZui KidZui is a safe Web browser for kids. Once the extension is activated by a parent, the child will be locked-down to specific, KidZui-approved Web sites. It also takes up the entire screen, so kids can't go wandering on your PC and mess things up. Only the password, which is chosen by the parent, will remove KidZui from the screen. Overall, KidZui is a great way to keep your kids safe and entertained while on the Web. (For our full review, click here.)

Kids can browse the Web, see photos, and more with KidZui. KidZui

LinkExtend LinkExtend is a Firefox add-on that's designed to keep anyone, not just kids, safe online by analyzing Web sites and alerting you when there are potentially dangerous issues with the site.

But where LinkExtend comes in handy for parents is through its KidSafe feature. That simple feature tells you whether or not a site is suitable for children, based on several considerations, including vulgar terms, the site's content, and more. The feature uses a variety of services to help it determine the site's child-safety rating, including Google SafeSearch and Web of Trust, another well-respected Firefox extension. LinkExtend's KidSafe option is perfect for any parent who wants to make sure a site is suitable for their children.

LinkExtend has some great features for parents. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

PikLuk PikLuk is designed to keep your kids safe both online and with their e-mail accounts. It does that by requiring you to decide all the sites your children will be able to access. You can also decide who they can correspond with over e-mail.

When you first get to PikLuk, you'll need to create a parent account. From that dashboard, you can pick all the Web sites your kids will be allowed to see. You can also create a PikLuk e-mail address and block access to and from that address to everyone but the white-listed users you assign. It works well. And since you have total control over what your kids can do on the Web, you'll have some peace of mind with PikLuk.

Pikluk lets you manage and monitor your child's access to the Web. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Totlol Totlol is an online video site that's powered by YouTube, but is moderated to provide a fun, educational video environment for children.

After you sign up for the site (you can't view videos without registering), you can let your children take over the mouse and start picking videos they want to view. All the videos come from YouTube, but thanks to moderators, you won't need to worry about anything adult-oriented slipping through. I found that the majority of videos stick to animals, but there is some educational content on the site. In either case, it's a fine alternative to YouTube. Just beware that TotLOL doesn't have nearly as many videos as the popular social video site. In fact, its list of clips is a little small for my liking. I should also note that it charges a membership fee for access to videos. The fees were first instituted back in July as a way for the company to stay afloat, rather than close shop.

Totlol features several videos for kids to watch. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

ZuiTube ZuiTube, which is owned by the aforementioned KidZui, is essentially a child-friendly YouTube.

When you get to ZuiTube, you'll notice that you can view videos without registering for the site. It's one of the biggest problems with Totlol and it makes ZuiTube far more appealing than its main competitor. Overall, I was impressed with ZuiTube's selection of clips. It gathers them from YouTube. They include movies, television shows, music videos, and more. They all provide outstanding quality. If you want your kids to enjoy online videos without worrying about them finding inappropriate content, ZuiTube is for them.

ZuiTube is the best child-friendly video site tested. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. KidZui: If you want a great browsing experience, KidZui is for you.

2. Kido'Z: The Adobe AIR application is outstanding.

3. ZuiTube: If you want your kids to be entertained, ZuiTube is the site to check out.