Error processing SSI file
Software which automatically blocks or screens material from the Internet
Please read this page carefully. There are several important facts to learn about filtering
software and its use. You can down load several demo versions of filtering software futher
down this page. We are pleased to bring you this page to assist you in your effort to
provide educational experiences and an appropriate environment for your child.
It's true that objectionable content, even garbage, is available on the Internet, just as it
is in many parts of a free society. But no blocking software is 100% successful in filtering
all "bad" sites. And blocking software often includes a hidden cost--
censorship of genuinely worthwhile, wholesome information, and perfectly "good" sites.
We feel parents can be most effective in protecting their children by spending time
discussing the values and risks of free access to information. Information to aid these
discussions is available below. Please be warned: there is a great diversity of opinions
about blocking and filtering software. Some parents find blocking and filtering software to
be a useful tool for reducing the risks of objectionable materials coming into the home via
the Internet, while other parents find "censorware" to be ineffective, offensive, expensive,
and disruptive of the essence of the parent-child bond.
When you are deciding whether or not to use blocking and filtering software in your home,
please remember that buying and installing software on a computer cannot be an adequate
substitute for spending quality time parenting your child. Many experts and
successful parents who have survived the Internet experience agree that Internet-connected
computers cannot be safely used as electronic baby-sitters, regardless of the sales
pitch of some software vendors.
Parental Guides, Online Safety Handbooks, and Positive
Reviews of software, advice and related information
Blocking software, like any other kind of software, varies in quality, and different packages are
intended for different sorts of users. Furthermore, every publisher of blocking software has a different
opinion of what kind of pages they should "censor". Some have political or social agendas which they
don't necessarily advertise. Others "accidentally" block pages that you may want to see.
- Blacklisted by Cyber Patrol: From Ada to Yoyo
A highly credible December 1997 report on the details of Cyber Patrol blocking errors.
- Cookie Central
Ever wondered what Internet browser "cookies" are about? Cookie Central explains these tricky devices, and helps you understand the threat they can be to your families' privacy.
- CYBERsitter: Where Do We Not Want You To Go Today?
This page exposes bias used in one filtering program -- CYBERsitter blocks access to sites that have information about safe sex, feminism, and progressive political causes, for instance.
- Fahrenheit 451.2: Is Cyberspace Burning?
How Rating and Blocking Proposals May Torch Free Speech on the Internet
Factual and logical American Civil Liberties Union position paper.
- Faulty Filters:
How Content Filters Block Access to Kid-Friendly Information on the Internet
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) demonstrates several unflattering filter flaws
- The Internet Advocate
This is one of the best resource sites. It contains links which debunk inaccurate perceptions of pornography on the Net, links which promote positive examples of youth internet use, and links which will help you understand blocking software.
- Internet Family Empowerment White Paper
How Filtering Tools Enable Responsible Parents to Protect Their Children Online (July 17, 1997)
This extended report builds a case for filtering Internet content.
- The Internet Filter Assessment Project
This is the most scientific and comprehensive attempt to evaluate the blocking software programs to date.
- Internet Free Expression Alliance
Excellent resources from a large coalition of free-expression advocates.
- Internet Online Summit: Focus On Children (December 1-3, 1997), Washington, D.C.
Hosted by AT&T, America Online, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, and Time Warner, this media event even has its own web site!
- Is My Child Safe on the Internet?
This site has online safety basics and guidelines for kids, and links to blocking software.
- Links to Sites with Internet Safety Software
Brief reviews of blocking software are available here.
- Parental Control Software
This site is fearful of a "proliferation of indecency" on the Net, and offers links and reviews for several of the blocking software programs, in an effort to empower and educate parents.
- Platform for Internet Content Selection
"PICS" is one of the content rating systems being promoted.
Teenagers advocating for human rights.
- Teen Net Anti-Censorship Alliance
Teens fighting censorship.
Where to get filtering software -
These are links to companies that sell blocking software or "censorware."
We do not endorse any of these products. Please see the previous section for
independent reviews and scientific evaluations of the quality and effectiveness of
some widely-sold blocking packages. Please read the disclaimer.
Evaluating Quality On The Net-
The Internet gives access to information from all over the world. Some of it is vital and
valuable. Some is incomplete, erroneous, or out of date. Some is marketing hype presented
as fact. And many pages are unsupported opinion, or political demagoguery. A few are, quite
literally, the ravings of madmen!
It's all there on the Net. How do you, and your child, divide the information from the raving?
The same way you do when you pick up a newspaper or a magazine: Consider the source.
We do not warrant or represent that any of the material referenced on this
page (whether it is software or not) will function as advertised, will safely
run on your computer or will achieve the results claimed by the author or
programmer. We encourage you to make sure you get what you are looking for by
researching any software you install on your computer.