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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 / < a href="./">Pros & Cons of Filtering / Browsers for kids

Browsers for kids

These programs perform many of the same functions as the browser that you're using right now to read this Web page, only they've been specially designed for younger users. Many kids' browsers help to smooth children's introduction to the Internet; some of them at the same time direct kids to educational and entertaining Web sites. All such kids' browsers identify positive content in their own ways, but some of them use the filtering schemes to screen out inappropriate content.

Precision

Some kids's browsers come with pre-selected lists of positive content built into their program; they can make it easier for children to find Web sites that are fun and educational, and can keep them from directionless surfing that might lead them into inappropriate areas. Such systems are precise in that their lists of pre-selected content are often well-defined and have been examined by humans. Other kids' browsers utilize filtering software to filter out access to inappropriate content; in those cases, the browser's precision can only be as good as the filtering scheme it uses.

Control

Different kids' browsers empower parents in different ways. For some, the browsers direct kids to content preselected by the maker of the browser, while others permit parents to input positive sites for kids, and still others allow parents to set controls on the filtering processes that some browsers use. It's up to parents to decide which solution they think is the best for their family.

Scalability

For those kids' browsers that use preselected lists to direct kids to positive Web pages, scalability is a problem in the sense that newly created positive content may not be reflected in the browsers' lists. For those browsers that carry out filtering, scalability can only be as good as the filtering scheme they use. And some kids' browsers don't have any filtering schemes or preselected lists at all; they're simply easy-to-use versions of adult browsers.

Physical safety protections

Many kids' browsers can protect children's safety by steering them towards safe content, rather than permitting them to drift into the darker areas of the Internet. Some kids' browsers even have software built in to block outgoing information and further protect physical safety. Different browsers offer different levels of physical protection.

Functionality costs

Functionality costs can be high with kids' browsers -- those that direct children to pre-selected content may be frustrating to more Net-savvy kids who, because of new assignments at school or their own personal curiosity, have more complicated online needs, and those that use filtering schemes will carry the same functionality costs as the scheme they utilize.

 
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