________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 14 . . . . March 13, 1998

cover NetSnitch World Wide Web Supervision Without Electronic Censorship

Stanley Wallerstein. Programmed by Ableweb.
Meford, Mass: Netsnitch LLC, 1997. $39.95US.

Preschool and up / Ages 5 and up.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.

** /4


Internet smut. Cults. Fringe groups of all types shielded by the anonymity of the World Wide Web. News about questionable materials on the Internet has forced concerned parents into denying their children access to what may be the most significant research and learning tool ever.
NetSnitch is a program that links up to your World Wide Web browser and tracks every site that is visited. It was developed for use by parents who do not want to use blocking programs in their households, but who do want to monitor their children's use of the Internet for the purpose of educating them to make proper choices. Parents who are concerned about the sites their children are visiting can access NetSnitch and view the list of sites, sort them, and even make notes they deem necessary. The program is password-protected so that a child wanting to erase information would be unable to do so. NetSnitch is a fairly basic program (it requires 2.5MB) that will fulfil the use intended. It operates on Microsoft Windows 95 or NT and works on Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher, or Netscape Navigator 1.x or higher. There is also a network version available for businesses and institutions. Blocking programs have limitations since sites are created every day that avoid using words that are blocked. They also pose an ethical question for some people who don't want to censor openly. NetSnitch gives parents the opportunity to know exactly what their child/children is/are doing on the Internet and have discussion with him/her/them about proper use of a resource that has a bad side as well as its good side.

      NetSnitch's cost, $39.95 U.S., seems a bit stiff, however, for a simple program. More complicated games and shareware are less and often free. While you should check out other programs before buying NetSnitch, it is a useful way to make the Internet less of a concern for parents.

Recommended with reservations.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364