- What is K9 Web Protection?
- K9 Web Protection is a parental control and web filtering software. When you have it turned on, it prevents the computer user from viewing Web sites that contain unwanted content. It can block more than 60 different categories of content, including pornography, hate/racism/violence, gambling and malware/spyware.
- My kids wouldn't go looking for those kinds of sites. Why do I need K9 Web Protection?
- 70 percent of all 15-17 year-olds who have ever gone online have accidentally stumbled across pornography online, 23 percent "very" or "somewhat" often.
- One in five children ages 10-17 have received a sexual solicitation over the Internet.
- 43 percent of children said they do not have rules about Internet use in their homes.
- 17 percent of parents believe their children are posting online profiles, as compared to 45 percent of children who report doing this.
- Even when they don't intend to, most children run into pornography, gambling and even predators on the Internet. Consider these statistics:
We don't want to sound alarmist, but the kinds of material available today on the Internet are nothing like the Playboy magazine of your childhood. The pornography is far more explicit and much of it promotes pedophilia or a connection between violence and sex.
Addictive gambling among teenagers is a growing problem, and many of them are learning to gamble online. Web filtering software can keep them from getting started.
Social networking sites, such as Facebook or MySpace, can also pose a real danger for children. On these sites, teenagers and even pre-teens post personal information and photographs. These sites are a gold mine for predators.
Being an Internet Parent involves more than just using parental control software. It means learning about the dangers of the Internet, and taking control of when and how your children use it.
- How do I get K9 Web Protection?
- In your Internet browser, go to www.k9webprotection.com. This is a Web site designed for parents. Read the information there, and if you decide you would like to install K9 on your computer, click on "Get K9 Now!"
- What kind of computer do I need?
- K9 Web protection runs on all recent versions of Windows or Mac computers. K9 works no matter what Internet Service Provider delivers your Internet connection, and no matter which browser you use.
We no longer issue new versions of K9 Web Protection for Windows 95/98/ME/2000.
- I'm not very good with computers. Is K9 difficult to install?
- Get your K9 license: At "Get K9 Now!," the first screen shows you how to get your license. You'll need a working email address to get your license. Your license will arrive in your email Inbox very quickly.
- Download the software: Click on the Download Software link, and in less than a minute, you'll have it on your computer. It's very compact and quick to download.
- Install the software and license: Double click the downloaded file (that's k9-webprotection.exe) to start the installation process. When prompted, enter the license you received via email. (You'll also need to specify a password for K9 – it's what keeps your kids from uninstalling K9 or changing the settings.)
- Nope. When you click on "Get K9 Now!," you'll be taken through the simple steps needed to get K9 working on your computer. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3:
That's pretty much it. You'll be asked to restart your computer, and once you do that, K9 is working. It's set at the default settings, blocking some of the most common categories. For more details, there's a "Quickstart Guide" and user manual available for download from the website, but K9 is pretty easy to figure out. You can modify what categories get blocked, and set a variety of special overrides if you want, but you don't have to.
Unless someone at your computer tries to access a prohibited site, you'll never know it's there.
- I'm afraid I'll mess up my computer if I add new software. Is there a chance that could happen?
- Not likely. The K9 software is pretty simple. Much of its power comes from the service that it's connected to, Blue Coat's Web filtering service. K9 doesn't interfere with anything that runs on your computer, although if you have a desktop firewall, you'll need to tell it to allow K9 to access the Internet. (Usually, the firewall will ask you the question, so it's pretty easy.)
- Can my kids turn it off?
- When you install the software on your computer, you will be asked to create a password. Only someone with the correct password can turn K9 off.
- What happens if someone at my computer tries to access a prohibited site?
- A "Block" Web page is displayed that tells you that this site is not permitted by your filtering software. If you want, you can also set K9 up so that Zander, the K9 Watch Dog, will bark. (This feature is nifty for parents. If you hear Zander barking, you can be pretty sure your kid has just clicked on a site that's a no-no.)
- What if K9 blocks something I don't want it to block?
- After you enter the correct password on the "Block" page, you can tell K9 to permit that Web site. If you think we have a site in the wrong category, you can also tell us about it from right there on the "Block" page.
- What if K9 doesn't block something I want it to block?
- You can take immediate action by adding that site to your "Always Block" list. Just click on the K9 icon to launch the administration tool. After you enter your password, click on "Switch to Advanced Mode" in the upper right corner. Then click on the "Internet Settings" tab, then on the "Overrides" tab. Enter the Web address of the site you want to "Always Block," and click "Add."
We also encourage you to let us know if you think we haven't categorized a site correctly, by sending us a "site check" request. Just click on the K9 icon to launch the K9 administration tool, then click the "site check" tab. We usually respond within 24 hours.
- I've heard that some filtering software blocks Web sites that aren't really inappropriate, which can be really annoying. Does K9 do that?
- K9 Web Protection has one of the lowest over-blocking rates around. The engine that powers K9 is designed for commercial customers, who, quite naturally, don't want their employees to become non-productive because of a mistake in their filtering solution. So we've taken great care to not over-block. For example, K9 will allow you to access breast cancer sites, while blocking nudity or pornography. K9 will allow access to drug treatment and information sites, while blocking access to sites that promote or glamorize illegal drug use. The engine that K9 uses to decide which Web sites are inappropriate for children is more sophisticated than many other programs.
- How does K9 work?
- We maintain a database of Web sites that contain pornography, hate speech, violence, gambling and more than 55 other categories. When a computer user tries to go to a site that's in a category you want blocked, the "prohibited" screen appears, and Zander the K9 Watch Dog barks. (You can turn off the bark.)
If a user tries to go to a Web site that the database hasn't seen before, it scans the content of the site for inappropriate material, and then either permits or prohibits the site (we call this process DRTR -- Dynamic Real-Time Rating). This happens so quickly that the user doesn't realize it's happening. New prohibited Web sites are added to the database.
- I'm worried about my kids being targeted by predators in chat rooms. I'm also worried about the way some kids use Instant Messaging to spread malicious gossip. Can K9 help with that?
- Very soon, yes. We are adding filtering controls for chat rooms and Instant Messaging in a future product version.
In the mean time, we recommend a few ways for taking control of how your kids use chat rooms and Instant Messaging. First, make house rules about when and how long your kids can be on the Internet when they're not doing schoolwork. Next, put the computer in the living room or family room rather than in your kids' bedrooms, so you can monitor their activity. Finally, monitor the sites they go to, either while your kids are online, or later. If you don't like the sites they're visiting, block them.
In the K9 administrator tool, if you click on the "Reports" tab, then on the "Detailed Reports" tab, you will find a list of every site your Web browser has been to recently.
- Why are you giving away this software?
- Blue Coat Systems has been very successful selling a version of this software to Fortune 500 companies and other large corporations. When we became successful, and were looking for ways to give back to our communities, we realized that one valuable thing we could offer was a free version of our Web filtering service for home users.
K9 Web Protection is part of the Blue Coat Community Outreach Program. We began this program because we know that if you have children who use the Internet, you are an Internet Parent, and you deserve support.
We believe children's safety on the Internet is a worldwide social issue that requires local community action. Internet Parenting involves more than just installing Web filtering software. Being a successful Internet Parent includes having rules for when and how your kids can use the Internet, monitoring where they go on the Internet, and blocking sites you don't want them visiting.
The Blue Coat Community Outreach Program offers support for Internet Parents. To learn more, go to http://www1.k9webprotection.com/resources.
- Can I use K9 Web Protection for my business, school, or community organization?
- Businesses, schools, churches and other organizations can purchase K9 Web Protection from our online order form. K9 is free for personal, home use only.
- Is Blue Coat affiliated with any political or religious organization?
- No. The people at Blue Coat who work on the K9 project are parents. Because of our work on the software we make for corporations, we know what harmful stuff is out there on the Internet. We don't want your kids – or our kids – running into it.
- Will I have to buy K9 at some point if I want to keep using it?
- No. Blue Coat plans to keep K9 free for home users.
- Do updates to the database or upgrades to the software cost money?
- No. These updates are also free. The database is continuously updating itself as it evaluates new Web sites. It's the easiest and best way to ensure that you are always protected by the most current information. (And you don't have to download database updates — the big database we maintain stays out on the Internet, and the K9 software talks to it.)
Software updates and upgrades also happen automatically. Whenever we release an update or upgrade to the software, K9 will automatically download the new version the next time you turn on your computer.
- Will I get email solicitations from Blue Coat?
- No. We ask users who download the software to enter an email address solely for the purpose of communicating with you about support and service. For example, if you forget your password, Blue Coat uses your email address to send you a new one.
- Will Blue Coat sell or give away my email address to any other company?
- Never. Our mission is to make your family safer, not more vulnerable.
- What's wrong with the filtering software offered by my Internet provider, or the one that comes with my security software?
- Nothing! Blue Coat encourages all parents to use some kind of filtering software. Naturally, we feel pretty strongly about the power of our solution, but if you're happy with your existing solution, stick with it. Just be sure to have something installed.
However, unless the Web filtering software that comes from your Internet provider or in a security suite comes from Blue Coat, it's probably not as powerful as K9. The companies that offer those solutions don't specialize in Web content filtering. We do.
- What's the difference between K9 and other filtering software?
- One difference between K9 and many other filtering solutions is that K9 is Internet-provider-independent and browser-independent. It will run on any Windows or Mac computer, no matter what Internet Service Provider delivers your Internet connection. It also works with any Internet browser.
Another difference is that K9 uses a commercial-grade filtering solution – it's a combination of a central database and dynamic page-rating technology that has been tested against the biggest players in the business, and come up on top. We see anywhere from 250 to 500 million rating requests every day. That's a lot of Internet visibility. The result is that you get the benefits of a serious solution in an easy-to-use package.
Another difference is that K9 doesn't have to be "trained." You don't have to teach it which kinds of Web sites you want to block. It starts working as soon as you install it.
- OK, I'm convinced I should be using filtering software on my home computer. How do I convince other parents?
- Send them to www.getk9.com!
Being an Internet Parent involves more than just using filtering software. It means learning about the dangers of the Internet, and taking control of when and how your children use it.