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Definitions

Contracts with Kids discuss and set up rules for computer use.

Time Limiting limits time online.

Filtering & Blocking limits access to some sites, words, and/or images.

Block Outgoing Content prevents kids from revealing personal information online.

Browsers for Kids do not display inappropriate words or images.

Kid-Oriented Search Engines perform limited searches or screen search results.

Monitoring Tools alert adults to online activity without blocking access.

There are both pros and cons to keep in mind when using these types of tools.

Please Note: GetNetWise staff gathered this information from the companies that make these tools. We cannot guarantee the effectiveness of these products, nor do we endorse any products.

Other Information

How ISPs are Helping -- Many Internet and online service providers also offer safety solutions by selling or including these tools with their services and adopting "Acceptable Use Policies", or "Terms of Service Agreements".

Web Ratings Systems -- Many companies that produce Web sites voluntarily rate and label their sites, using a system knows as "PICS" (Platform for Internet Content Selection).

Internet Issues in the Community -- When children use the Internet in school or in a library, their experiences will be different than when they are at home. Libraries and schools may have different rules for Internet use than your family, because they must serve the needs of diverse children and families.

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Home / Kids' Safety / Tools for Families / Pros & Cons of Filtering / Blocking outgoing information

Blocking outgoing information

Some of the tools on this list help you to control the information that moves from the Internet to your computer. These tools are different; they generally focus on controlling information moving the other way -- from your computer to the Internet. There are many opportunities online to meet people and engage in regular conversations with them. It is often impossible to really know the person on the other end of an online communication, though, and there are a number of risks for children. By accidentally or innocently revealing their address, last name, or your credit card number, kids could put themselves and their families in physical or financial danger from con men and cyber-predators. These tools can give parents the ability to edit sensitive information out of outgoing communications.

Precision

These tools are usually precise; a parent instructs the program very specifically what forms of information he or she would like to edit out (like your last name or your credit card number), and the program prevents those pieces of information from being included in certain forms of outgoing transmissions (often including email, instant messages, and chat).

Control

Parents usually have a high level control over these tools, since the responsibility is theirs to tell the program which pieces of information they would like to have edited out. Some programs will try to automatically detect sensitive information, but often it is the parents who have the final word.

Scalability

Because these tools generally deal with the information leaving your computer, rather that that coming in, the growth of the Internet does not normally affect these tools or keep them from doing their jobs quickly and efficiently.

Physical safety protections

Many of these tools are helpful for parents looking to protect their children from physical harm, since many of them can prevent your children from transmitting sensitive information like their last names or addresses -- information which could help a cyber-predator locate your child in the real world or lure them into a face-to-face meeting.

Functionality costs

Some of these tools will allow parents to control who their children can send e-mail to, or what kinds of content can be included in those messages. Some parents, concerned about who their children converse with online, find this feature very useful. However, limiting email or chat might dampen children's experiences of the Internet's variety of personalities and viewpoints.

 
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