There are several software programs that help parents filter Web sites and content that children are able to access across the Internet. Microsoft joins the pack with a trial version of its free Windows Live OneCare Family Safety for Windows XP (plus Microsoft plans to build parental controls into Windows Vista). See the news story: "Microsoft tests parental-control software."
According to the article, "The first version of OneCare Family Safety will let people filter online content and get activity reports on Web sites that were visited by others... Before the product's final release, Microsoft plans to add 'contact management' features that let parents approve contacts within their Windows Live Mail e-mail and Windows Live Messenger instant-messaging programs. The feature also gives parents control over who can access their children's blogs on Microsoft's MSN Spaces service."
The only thing that I think is rather curious is that the majority of control is achieved when users stay in the Microsoft environment - from Windows Live Mail to Windows Live Messenger to Microsoft's MSN Spaces. For all of you parents out there, will you take the bait and start looking at the world through Microsoft-colored glasses?
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.