Last Updated on
Blocking software are computer programs that filters Internet content based on specific criteria. It is most often used by parents and teachers to prevent children from accessing websites with sexual, violent or other objectionable content.
While primarily used by parents or schools to prevent children from winding up on inappropriate, offensive, or even dangerous websites, blocking software is also commonly used by businesses to prevent employees from accessing specific sites or types of services not deemed work appropriate. For instances, many companies restrict social networking or personal email, which can be viewed as security risks. Other companies restrict access to streaming music and video services, because too many employees using these technologies can tie up the company’s Internet bandwidth. Blocking software is also used by some governments to prevent their citizens from viewing or posting unfavorable or even banned content.
Also See: Safety Tips for Parents
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to circumvent blocking software?
No filter is perfect, but most blocking software programs take measures to prevent users from getting around the filters or turning the software off. For instance, most blocking software operates across all browsers, preventing access to restricted sites regardless of how the users tries to get there. Some programs require administrative access to the computer in order to disable it. Other programs go so far as to embed themselves into the operating system and prevent users from connecting to the Internet at all if the program is not active. If a user closes the program or even uninstalls it, the computer will refuse to let users online. Programs like these often require a password obtained from an online service in order to uninstall it.
Does blocking software catch everything?
No. Blocking software attempts to catch as much objectionable content as possible, but it is impossible to catch everything. Most programs use some type of banned word list to filter out sites. For instance, they may restrict access to any webpage that includes profanity or even questionable words such as “sex.” Of course, this is not a perfect system, because some words may have dual meaning or may be non-offensive in some contents. Parents can often adjust the level of filter or even add or remove certain words. Programs also use site-based filters, in which known offensive sites are black-listed, preventing users from visiting them. Some filters use time-based blocking to prevent Internet access during certain periods of the day, such as when parents are asleep.
Do I have to pay for filtering software?
Some filtering software is available for free. For instance, many web browsers allow parents to adjust parental controls. Some free filtering suites are also available, but use caution as they may include adware. Many commercial products are available, which typically offer a more robust set a filter options and provide better security against workarounds. Before you go out and purchase a commercial product, however, check with your Internet Service Provider. Many ISPs offer family filtering products for free with your subscription.