KidZui is a web portal for kids. Available as a stand-alone download or a Firefox plugin, KidZui offers children a kid-friendly search as well as a wealth of content from informational websites to games to videos. There are also social features such as adding friends and controlled messaging and sharing. Parents have access to reports about how their children are using their time online.
KidZui is free for basic use. A membership unlocks additional features such as the ability to block specific websites, a homework helper and the ability for kids to create their own content "channels." Membership fees start $7.95/month with discount pricing for purchasing 6 or 12 month subscriptions.
Pikluk is an Internet browser and email system for kids. Parents have control over which websites their children can visit, as well as whom they can exchange email messages with. The drawback is that parents must approve each website and email address individually. If you want to restrict your child to a handful of websites, this is great. If you want them to be able to search through kid-friendly sites for information, it's not the ideal choice. The browser can also be set up to lock out access to the rest of your computer.
Pikluk is available for Windows and is free to use with one child account. For multiple accounts, families will need a premium subscription.
The KidSplorer browser provides a number of different features. The browser uses a database of kid-friendly sites which parents can fine-tune based on their own preferences. Parents can even choose which pages on site their children can visit. There are time management options to help limit the time online. KidSplorer will also block the use of other browsers or lock out other programs entirely.
Download KidSplorer (Windows only) for a free trial to see how it works for your family. The full version is available for $29.99.
The ZAC browser is the "Zone for Autistic Children." Created by a grandfather for his autistic grandson, Zachary, the browser is designed to simplify the process of browsing the Internet. ZAC locks out certain functions, including the right mouse button and the ability to close the browser, which makes it less frustrating for children who struggle with fine motor skills. It has set access to certain websites, videos and games, which have been specifically selected for young people with autism. Although ZAC is geared towards autistic kids, parents will find that the controlled environment is appropriate for other children as well.
The ZAC browser runs on Windows XP and Vista, as well as a MAC running Windows through Boot Camp. ZAC is free.