Use of filtering software
Filtering software is a great tool, but is not a panacea. There are no magic bullets when it comes to protecting our children. Like a hammer, filtering software has a single function. It does exactly what its name implies, targets specific words in order to allow a web site to be displayed on your Internet browser. When an objectionable word is found by filtering software at a request web site, that site is then blocked from view. That sounds perfect. It is doing exactly what you purchased the product to do. However, there are concerns.
Many times a helpful web site is blocked by filtering software because one or two objectionable words are scanned within the pages. Example: Information on Breast Cancer would be blocked because “breast” is considered an objectionable word. This occurs because software is programmed and cannot think or make judgments. This can lead to censorship and keep valuable information from your family.
Remember too, there is no filtering software that will prevent your child from chatting with a stranger and possibly sharing personal information. EDUCATION is the key!!
Unpublicized Dangers Associated with Filtering/Blocking Software:
- Blocking Software can be easily defeated. Web sites provide tutorials for disabling all the filtering and blocking software that is on the market.
- Blocking Software may filter out things you want such as medical information. (breast cancer for example)
- Blocking Software won’t filter some unwanted sites because web builders wanting innocent children to surf their site will be clever with content and know how to avoid the filters
- Parents become “lulled asleep” feeling secure that their child is safe and secure because they have filtering software.
- Remember, web sites, as objectionable as they may be, are not as dangerous as chats, Instant Messages (IMs), and e-mails!!
- Filtering software must be constantly updated. New web sites are added to the Web at a rate of 200,000 per month and not all are ‘safe’ websites.
Points to consider when selecting filtering software:
NOTE: Safe Surfin’ Foundation DOES NOT endorse any particular filtering/blocking software. This is solely for information purposes.
Selecting the right kind of filtering or blocking software for your family can be difficult. What is required for an eight year old will certainly be different than software for an adventurous teen.
- The age of your children
- Are you trying to catch your child in the act of violating Safe Surfin’ Rules
- Are you trying to stop them from visiting pornography and hate sites?
- In your child technically savvy? Will they be trying to disable the software?
For Younger Children: You will want to protect your child by installing filtering software so they don’t accidentally access pornography of something else that could be extremely disturbing to them.
For Older Children: Consider “Monitoring Software”. This way, you can check where, who and what your child has been doing online, key stroke by key stroke. IamBigBrother is able to record both sides of actual conversations your child is having in chatrooms, IMs, email and also what websites they are visiting. Other monitors to consider are SpectorPro, eBlaster, NetVizor.
The best way to pick software that is right for you and your family is to go online and do a search of “parental controls” or “filtering Software”.