Compare The Best Internet Filter & Parental Control Software

Internet filters are hardware or software that blocks the flow of certain content from your computer or laptop. The use of internet filter software can greatly decrease the risk of any harmful content such as malware by depleting the flow of this material to your computer. This form of online computer protection ensures that you or any of your family members do not come across anything inappropriate while surfing the web.

What Does It Do

The software restricts any content deemed unfit from making its way onto your devices. It sorts through the content that your computer requests and prevents anything seen as unsafe or inappropriate from making it to your desktop. A lot of the time, people who see inappropriate or malicious content on the internet are not looking for it. They are led to believe that the links they click on are safe and will not carry harmful or obnoxious pop-ups. Filtering software prevents people from being misled and allows parents to control what their children see on the internet.

How Does Internet Filter Software Work?

Internet filter software works by acting as a shield between your computer and your internet browser, blocking access from potentially offensive and objectionable material. Most of the filtering software offered compiles a list of internet sites that they deem to be unsafe for your computer and puts them into a category with a different heading. The lists that filtering software uses vary and include blacklists, whitelists, content rating systems, and keyword lists. Blacklists work with a predetermined set of addresses and blocks users from visiting those sites. Whitelists are the most restrictive type of filtering method. They block all websites except those deemed acceptable by the filter company. Keyword lists search the site for certain words and, if the site contains those words or images, blocks the page from appearing. This type of filtering might offer the option for the user to continue to the page anyways. Content rating systems are determined by how a website chooses to describe itself. If they’re honest in their description and the system deems it unsafe or inappropriate it will be blocked.

Besides blocking content from appearing on your computer screen, a lot of software available compiles a list of the other websites that you visit so you can determine for yourself whether they are suitable. It also allows you to control how much time you or anyone else spends on the computer as well as reduces the risk of your computer getting viruses by restricting certain websites and limiting the types of applications and programs that can be downloaded on the computer. Internet filter software allows you to set a level on how much filtering you want to place on your computer and you can adjust it at any time and different filter levels can be placed on different profiles on the computer.

Software is the most common type of internet filter product there is. It is usually downloaded as an application or purchased in stores and then installed onto your computer. Software filters are usually the most thorough type of filters for your computer, not only blocking out inappropriate content but anything that could be unsafe for your computer or those using your computer.

Who Should Consider Internet Filter Software?

Parents: Internet filter software is the most popular among parents with the intention of keeping their child safe while they browse the internet. The ability to track the websites that your child is visiting helps you to determine whether your child is purposely searching for inappropriate material, such as pornography, or being misled by false advertisements or internet predators. This gives you a way to be more engaged with your child and their internet use. It is not a tool to spy your kids but to keep them safe from the dangers of the internet so openly communicating with them is key. Leading Virtual Private Network services can also offer a level of anonymous browsing for you and your family.

Besides tracking the sites that your child goes to, filtering systems are also useful for parents because a lot of them allow you to control how much time another person spends on the computer. So, if you’re child has reduced time on the computer as punishment for bad behavior, or if they’re spending too much time on the computer instead of working on schoolwork, or you simply want them to reduce their time on the computer than you can ensure that it happens with internet filter software. Internet filture software can often prevent malware and SPAM from being installed on your PC.

Filtering software can be a useful tool in make sure your child stays productive and safe. While there are some concerns that keep children sheltered can result in them being more susceptible to influence or harm, it is generally agreed that internet filter software benefits the whole family.

The Everyday Person: Internet filtering applications are not just beneficial to parents looking to protect their kids. The software is also extremely beneficial to the everyday person.

Online gaming isn’t just for children. A lot of adults enjoy online bingo and poker and many other games the internet offers. Unfortunately, not all sites that host these games are safe. Many come with annoying pop-ups and even viruses. Web filters would help to prevent any malicious or annoying content from making it onto your screen while you enjoy defeating your opponents in online Texas Hold’em.

Internet filter software can also help prevent identity theft. Besides blocking inappropriate content, filtering software can also prevent phishing from happening, eliminating the chances that you’ll give out personal information that could result in identity theft.

Just like you can limit a child’s time on the internet, filtering software allows you to limit your time on the internet so you can fix your time management skills. The internet is a distracting place that makes it hard to focus on the task at hand. Procrastination and lack of time management skills afflict many college-aged students as well as working adults. The time management controls that internet filter software offers allows you to be in control of what websites you need to visit or how much time you spend on certain sites.
Besides helping to make sure children don’t see pornography, web filtering software keeps you from seeing pornography at inappropriate times. Filtering software can help keep away viruses that make porn advertisements pop onto your laptop at any inconvenient time.

Why Do I Need Internet Filter Software?

For both PC and Mac users, there are many dangers that are prevalent on the internet and precaution should be applied when exploring its depths. If you are frequently searching the web and going to new sites, you should definitely look at internet filtering options to reduce the risks of viruses or any unwanted content. If you only visit the same three websites, you should also consider getting internet filter software because, when you do venture away from the sites familiar to you, you’re at an even greater risk. Sometimes even running a good antivirus or internet security software in conjuntion with filtering software can work well to prevent online dangers.

Your computer holds a lot of valuable information on it and it’s important to keep it protected. A virus could wipe your entire computer. While many people now backup their information onto USB drives or into the cloud, there are still those at risk of losing important files and documents if their computer crashes. Alternatively, going to the wrong website, or responding to the wrong email, could result important personal information being stolen and no cloud or flash drive can help a person with that. The other aspects that many internet filter software should offer, such as time management features, is enough for some people to look into buying some. For others, not so much. Everyone should seriously consider purchasing internet filtering software though. If you’d install locks, bolts, and a security system to protect your home, you should do the same for all internet-enabled devices.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Internet Filter Software?

Internet filter programs are much more advanced than when it was developed in the 1990s. There are very beneficial pros to investing in one of the many filtering software options out there:

  • Flexible: Filtering systems nowadays offer a variety of features and are extremely flexible to use. Instead of blocking whole websites that can only be accessed by going into the control panel and altering the filter’s settings, you can now proceed to a website with a click of a button and your filter setting will be unaltered. You can now use one internet filtering software for all your internet enabled devices. The filter settings for an account or device doesn’t have to be the same throughout. You can adjust the websites filtered depending on the age of the person using the account or device. The options for setting your filter preferences are endless and fits the needs of whoever is using the software.
  • Easy to Use: Besides being flexible, almost all filtering software is easy to use. There doesn’t need to be an understanding of how it works, though knowing how something operates is always beneficial; much of the software now only needs you to set the controls and then it’s ready to go.
  • Security and Safety: The advancements to internet filter software mean that they are more secure and safe than ever. You won’t have to worry about your child accidentally stumbling onto an inappropriate site and you don’t have to worry about your personal information being taken by someone.

While purchasing some internet filter software is very beneficial, it does not come without some cons:

  • Not Perfect: While there have been many advances in internet filtering software, it’s still not one hundred percent perfect. Filters can be switched on and off, and children aren’t dumb. They can find ways of getting around certain filters if they really try. Also, some filtering software can be overly strict and block content that is completely innocent so you’ve got to be on the lookout for that. There are some programs that are really good at recognizing and blocking content in English but cannot block inappropriate content that appears in other languages.
  • Criticism: There is a lot of criticism that surrounds internet filtering that you should be aware of. Many say that internet filtering is a way to spy on your children and does not guarantee that they are safe. How a parent uses a filtering system though is completely at their discretion though it is advised that the best way to keep your child safe is to have an open line of communication with them. Talk to your child about their internet use and the dangers that are present on the World Wide Web. and you’ll be able to experience the full benefits of having internet filter software.

What are the Main Features to Look Out for in Internet Filter Software?

Reporting Features: Many applications report and notify you on how the internet is being used. These reports are delivered in helpful ways, usually through text or email. Often, they are real time so you can intervene if you notice your child trying to access unsafe content.

Activity Recording Features: Recording features are big on internet filter software. This feature creates a record of what sites your child most actively visits. Some of these even offer the option to screen capture what’s on your child’s computer, as well as recording any webcam or microphone use. Not all internet filtering software offers this but tools like this are essential in determining whether unsafe sites are trying to be reached or if they’re accidental.

Filtering and Blocking Features: This is the most important feature of an internet filtering application considering it’s the main component of it. You want to make sure that it is dependable software though. Thoroughly check to ensure that it prevents all unwanted content from being viewed on your computer. Using onilne encyrption software in conjunction with filtering software can prove very effective too!

Common FAQs Regarding Internet Filter Software

What defines something as pornographic?

This is ultimately determined by the software developer and the person setting up the filtering options. It varies from software to software but generally is defined as mature content websites that are for those who are 18 and older that depict sexual acts intended to excite or arouse.

Will applying filters stop inappropriate internet use?

It will help to limit your child’s access to harmful sites but it can’t stop a child from searching for inappropriate content or issues such as cyberbullying.

Will children be safer using filtered internet access?

That is the ultimate goal of internet filtering programs. Unfortunately, filtering software isn’t foolproof and if a child is determined to access content, they will. It is important to communicate to your child the dangers of the web and why your oversight is needed to protect them.