In Cyber Safety, The Digital World

Knowing When to Install a Web Filter

Ever since its genesis, people have been using the Internet to access a great deal of information. It offers a multitude of tools that could be used for social networking, research, or helping out with homework; however, there is a downside to it, especially when it comes to being able to access pornographic content. If you are a parent, then you are aware of how curious children and teenagers can be. Since children and teens must often access the web for school assignments, it is impossible to entirely keep them away from the Internet. How do you curb their curiosity about adult sites and prevent your children from accessing them? You could opt for installing a web filter.

 

What is a web filter?

A web filter is a software program that determines whether a website should be displayed or not. You can purchase a web filter at stores as well as online, allowing you to filter out what you don’t want your children to be viewing. For instance, you can set a web filter to refrain from displaying any websites containing explicit content, spyware, malware, malicious advertising and more.

Determining when to install a web filter

If your child is a toddler who doesn’t type in URLs or conduct web searches, then you should consider it to be safe to continue allowing the child online without a web filter, for the time being. As your child gets older and starts to develop interest in surfing the wide range of websites the Internet offers, then a web filter is definitely recommended.

A web filter can keep your child protected from adult content and other websites that are inappropriate for children and minors. Sometimes, even if a child isn’t curious and isn’t attempting to access adult websites, a seemingly harmless web search could yield some very disturbing results. This is why web filters are important, as you don’t want your children exposed to certain content at a young and impressionable age.

Is it possible to get around web filters?

If your child is very tech savvy and determined to access restricted websites, then it is very possible to figure out how to get around web filters. If your child is able to find out how to bypass the web filter, then he or she would have the ability to surf the web in an unrestricted manner. There are many ways for intelligent and determined children and adolescents to bypass web filters, and here are some common ways of doing so:

  • De-filter websites – By typing in web addresses of specific sites that can help an Internet user bypass filters, your child can easily bypass the filter you’ve installed and surf the internet freely.
  • Use a new proxy – Most schools have a web filter that reroutes URLs to a certain proxy, which then restricts certain websites based on their content. However, if your child uses Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, he or she can create a new proxy. By creating this alternative proxy, any URLs entered will then be routed to the new proxy, which, of course, will be unfiltered.
  • Create your own proxy – There is certain software available that enables a person to bypass the filter at school by running the program at home. After creating the proxy on a home computer, your child could simply paste the URL of the new proxy on the school computer, enabling him or her to bypass any web filter.

If you discover that your child has been bypassing a web filter and viewing inappropriate content, then you can either restrict his or her usage or monitor your child whenever he or she is on the web. Of course, when your child is at school or at a friend’s house, he or she will likely use his or her abilities to view inappropriate web sites. This is why you should talk to your child about internet safety and explain the danger of accessing such websites.

Choosing the best web filter

Even if your child is young or if you don’t believe he or she is very tech savvy, you may very well want to install a web filter for safety purposes regardless. However, with the abundance of available choices, it can be difficult to decide which choice is best. In order to narrow down your choices, you should first set a budget. How much are you willing to spend on a web filter? Of course there are free choices available, but if you want to make a choice that guarantees high quality protection, then you might want to opt for a paid filter.

Also, when deciding on the best web filter, you need to conduct an adequate amount of research. There are bound to be numerous online reviews about the various choices, which can help you make a decision. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered on the website, then it’s easy to contact customer service by email or telephone. That way, you can be provided with the information needed to make the best choice.

As you can see, having a web filter is a smart choice for households with children and teens. Despite the fact that web filter software has the capacity to ensure your children’s safety while surfing the internet, web filters can still be bypassed, granting your child unrestricted access to the web. In case you sense that your child is especially smart and curious, then you should definitely check to ensure that the web content filter isn’t being bypassed – for the ultimate protection of your teenage son or daughter.

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