Seriously, when will it end? How many browsers are there for the Mac? Do we honestly need a browser for kids?
Aren’t there enough browsers already available for Mac OS X?
I was browsing around the web recently, using Safari, of course, and I came across yet another web browser for the Mac.
How many does that make? An even dozen? More? Since Apple announced Safari a few years ago, and Microsoft subsequently stopped development of Internet Explorer for Mac, the stream of web browsers has actually increased.
You’d think there would be no need for YAB—yet another browser for the Mac.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Safari. Even the Windows-looking Firefox is decent on the Mac. Mostly. Sometimes. Firefox 3, though beta, looks more Mac-like.
Who could cram in more browser features than the Omni folks with Omni web? Kudos to iCab for keeping the faith despite the fact no one uses their browser.
Opera manages to make a business out of multi-platforming their browser versions.
There’s Camino, Mozilla, Shiira, SeaMonkey, Netscape (dead or dying soon, I promise), iCab, Flock—or, is it Flack? No, Flock, and probably a few more for Mac OS X I’ve never heard of.
What I found online was yet another Mac web browser; this one is aimed at kids. It’s called BumperCar and promises “unparalleled content-control and customization features.”
Am I the only Mac user who finds the current crop of browsers to be more than quite worthy? Most are free, though BumperCar costs $30.
If you have kids and you’re concerned about which sites they browse, then you might want to consider coughing up a little money for peace of mind.
BumperCar uses the same rendering engine as Safari, Apple’s WebKit, so it should run stable and secure and pages should render quickly and look the same as in Safari.
What your kids get is a Fisher-Price front end to the browsing experience and a whole list of kid friendly web sites.
The problem I have with that simple premise is that kids range in age—kids use browsers from the first grade to high school. Some sites are appropriate for younger kids, not for older kids. And the other way around.
BumperCar makes life a bit easier by configuring as a Home, School, or Pre-School setting with a whole set of filters set for each group.
Profanity can be blocked and customized (what’s profane to you may not be so to someone else) as set to redirect to a built-in web page.
The Google filter forces Google searches to use the SafeSearch features built in to the world’s largest online search directory.
Even more important, BumperCar can be set up with view to preventing outgoing information so your child cannot provide a personal name or address or other information which could aid online predators.
There’s the standard Blacklist (you add to the list of blocked sites) and Whitelists (sites which may be blocked but you’re willing to allow your child to visit anyway), too.
Just as worthwhile is the Time Limit you can place on BumperCars browsing usage. This stops browsing during certain hours, or limits the total number of hours they can browse.
Kids need to stop and eat, take baths, go to school, and do something else besides logon to MySpace, right?
I could ask the simple question, “Why doesn’t Apple have this kind of filtering built in to Safari?” Probably because not everyone has kids, and of those who do, not all parents even bother to use such filters.
Personally, I found the browser to be somewhat sophomoric in use. It just felt like Fisher-Price, and I’m afraid that older kids, near-teens and early-teenagers, may find work-arounds to get to Safari or Firefox or something else.
Still, the idea is a good one. Online predators exist and won’t go away just because doing what they may do is against the law.
Is BumperCar a good deal? You be the judge as to whether the price tag is worth it. $30 seems cheap enough for safety, but it’s not a guarantee. As to the question, “Which web browser is best for Mac users?” obviously that will depend upon your need for features.
So far, almost every Mac browser is superior to browsers from just a few years ago. OK, here’s my list of browser questions for the day.
Do you have kids? Do they surf the web on your family’s Mac or Windows PC? What do you use to filter the web sites they visit? Does it work? How do you know?