More children than ever before are “plugged in” to the internet, and with all the benefits that this offers, there are dangers as well. After all, nearly half of all kindergarteners and first-graders use the internet for homework projects, to play games, and to communicate with relatives or friends that live far away. And while you may monitor your child’s internet use, without an effective child internet filter, they can still be exposed to violent, pornographic, or other objectionable content.
For older children, there are even greater risks to using the internet. Older children, particularly middle schoolers and high-schoolers, are more likely to use the internet to chat with friends (or strangers), have online profiles that include photos or personally identifying information, or to engage in imprudent, questionable, or illegal activities. In addition, older children are more likely to downplay or underestimate the risks to their safety, their emotional or mental well-being, and even to their futures, from their online activities.
An effective child internet filter should block access to unwanted content while allowing access to appropriate content, and it does this in a variety of ways. The most common method is keyword filtering. Search engines and other internet entities use keywords to identify and classify websites, but this is not foolproof. Thus, your filter should use a filtering algorithm that will utilize several filtering methods. Clean Internet, a reputable Christian internet filtering company, offers keyword filtering, URL filtering, dynamic filtering, and foreign language filtering.
Clean Internet also works on all internet protocols, an important factor in any internet filter. This means that you can monitor or block your child’s access to email, instant messengers, chat rooms, popup windows, and peer-to-peer file sharing programs. Popups and file sharing programs are the two primary ways in which children are exposed to unwanted content. Additionally, email, instant messengers, and chat rooms are the usual mediums that predators use when trying to communicate with children. If this communication is unmonitored, it only increases the risk of children being sexually, emotionally, or otherwise victimized – both by strangers and people they know in real life.
Of course, nothing is perfect, and internet filters are no exception. However, they are a very helpful tool for parents trying to monitor and protect their children online. One of the best child internet filters is Clean Internet, which was mentioned above, mostly because of the filtering features they offer, but also because it is one of the few systems that will not slow down your computer, and that is compatible with practically any system or internet connection. Clean Internet is also the only filter this author has come across that cannot be uninstalled or bypassed by the end user – a really great feature for parents who may not be as tech savvy as their kids. In short, Clean Internet is a solid choice, but particularly for those who are looking for a filter to protect their families.