Internet Filtering Software: What Does it Do?

Internet filtering software was originally designed to protect you and your family from online pornography. 

Internet Filtering & Blocking Software for ParentsTen years ago, Internet users would stumble across pornography constantly.  There seemed to be no way to avoid it.  In fact, had you typed in (instead of .gov) to go to the President’s website, you’d have been taken to a porn site.  Same for,…well, you get the drift.

As a result, a huge market was ripe for web filtering software to protect themselves from the onslaught of porn.  Some folks bought it to protect their kids.  Some simply to protect themselves. 

But, as with all Internet software that depends on keywords, there were downsides.  Superbowl XXX?  The poetry of Anne Sexton?  Breast cancer?  All were blocked by at least some Internet filtering software.  Indeed, the University of Kansas Medical Center library installed net filtering software on all their public computers…and users suddenly were unable to get into the library’s own website. 

Why?  Because it was the Dykes (pronounced “dikes”) Library…not to mention that it was a medical library website, so would have all sorts of “inappropriate” content…and the filtering software they had just paid to have installed blocked the entire website as porn!

Not only that, but some early filtering software companies went a little too far in their filtering efforts, with one conservative firm deliberately blocking the National Organization of Women (NOW) and many blocking the websites of their competitors.

Today it is difficult to accidentally stumble into a porn site.  Search engines used to be easily fooled by behind-the-scenes attempts to fool the search engine into thinking a site was one thing when it was actually a porn site.  This doesn’t work anymore.  And paid search (such as Google Adwords and Yahoo) is filtered by the search engines themselves to weed out porn. 

If someone stumbles into a porn site nowadays, it’s usually because they were at a somewhat shady site to begin with.  For example, someone going to a crackz and warez site to illegally download software may be taken to a porn site before the download link so that the sponsor of the site can earn money.  For the most part, though, people nowadays who arrive at porn sites do so because they’ve chosen to.

So, why still use Internet filtering software

Because the best of today’s Internet filtering software offers many more features.  In addition to email filtering and popup blocking, which you may already have, it allows the filtering, monitoring and blocking of chat rooms as well as the ability to block P2P sites, newsgroups, IM ports…even personal information.  You can set up individual user profiles with passwords.  Some even come with stealth features so you can check on someone’s online behavior without their knowing.

If you decide to use Internet parental control filtering software, make sure you research it carefully and read the reviews to make sure that the filtering software you purchase is the filtering software you need.

An Independent Review or Feedback from Scott

May 21, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

Monitoring and filtering software is not just good software to have; with the dangers of the internet today it is software you need to have if you have children using the computer. It’s funny that very few people will risk their computer by going on the internet without an anti virus program; but many waver on whether to protect their children by monitoring their actions on the internet. How can protecting your child be less important than protecting your computer?

My wife and I installed a program called Spector Pro on our daughter’s computer and it has allowed us to monitor her internet activity discreetly and easily.

I had heard of keyloggers before but I had no idea software like this could include so many features. The Spector Pro program records all the keystrokes, chats, emails and it even takes snap shots of the screen that I can play back like a VCR. It allows me to see everything that has been on the computer screen.

We originally purchased the program because we were concerned about her use of MySpace and Facebook. One of the main reasons we chose Spector Pro was because it has separate recording features for these sites. I can see all the MySpace and Facebook information separately; including login information, profiles she is viewing and who is viewing her; it even lets me when she posts to her blog or posts pictures.

This program has been a real life saver. It not only allowed us to correct some issues we were concerned with; but it now gives us the piece of mind that comes from knowing EXACTLY what she is doing online.

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