Q. What is
an internet filter?
A. An "Internet Filter" is a piece of hardware or software that restricts access to specified undesirable
areas of the internet, for the computer or network that the system is installed on.
Q. How does an internet filter work?
A. A filter can operate by a) comparing
browser requests with a list of known unsuitable URLs and then blocking access if they are not listed, b) by scanning incoming data and
blocking it if it contains undesirable keywords, file types or other
parameters. Sometimes parents (if used in a home environment) can control or create the list
of keywords or sites filtered, sometimes not.
Q. How does an Internet Filter compare
with a parental controlled Children's Browser?
A. A children's browser is a special browser somewhat similar to Internet Explorer or Netscape which allows access only to websites that
are suitable for children. Generally the browser operates
with its own list of known good sites, and will not allow access
to any others. They also frequently have email \ chat filtering ability
or dedicated email\chat facilities that do not allow 'rude words'
etc. They often have some parent-defined password facility or access
control that prevents the child from exiting and using a normal browser,
or reaching the desktop or other software.
By comparison, an internet filter allows general
'surfing' to take place with the exception of the filtered sites.
This becomes more important for older children and parents when access
to purely child-safe sites would typically be too limiting. As it
is not possible to maintain a database of all
sites that are unsuitable, and 'unsuitability' is largely a subjective
determination, the internet filter becomes useful where general,
but filtered access is necessary.