Last week I wrote that True Protection From Internet Pornography Requires A Minimum of 3 Essential Components.
In this week’s post I am going to explore some real world obstacles to successfully maintaining the protections you have established and how you can overcome those obstacles.
1.) Software Compatibility Issues – The filtering software you implement will conflict with other legitimate programs on your system. As these issues arise they can be very frustrating to deal with. If you are not prepared to address compatibility issues as they arise you may be tempted to give up on filtering altogether. The only fast way to handle this is to offer a plan b software (i.e. either switch your virus checker or switch your filtering software).
2.) Lock Out Issues – On occasion it is possible that one’s filtering software may completely prevent someone from accessing the internet. This could happen for many reasons. There could be a software glitch or possibly one or more filter options were set incorrectly. This happened to me once. I set SafeEyes to block all internet access from 11pm to 6am every night. Unfortunately one morning I needed to go online at 5am! I was locked out. This type of situation is very inconvenient and may cause some to give up on using a filtering system. Therefore it is important to have at least one family member who is knowledgeable with the system and how to deal with these issues.
3.) Family Inconvenience – When other family members are blocked from useful sites by a filter they may not be very supportive of filtering. This may cause some household members to advocate abandoning filters altogether. Although some may try to argue this point, it is important for everyone to know that a filtering system will affect system performance negatively. Everyone must come to realize that some inconvenience is better than being left unprotected. I think this can be changed by families changing their mindset about the web and their moral priorities. We need to give up our concept of pure unfiltered access.
4.) Visual Search Engines – Some of the better filtering software can force “safe searches” on Google, Yahoo, and other major search engines. When visual search engines are not set to safe search inappropriate images can be viewed in the results– even when using filtering software. A person can go to a visual search engine and see pornography… but they just can’t go click through to the actual porn sites because the filter will stop them. Therefore when you choosing filtering software you should ensure that it has the ability to restrict common search engines.
5.) Legitimate Websites with Some Inappropriate Content – This is a similar situation to #4 above. There are many “legitimate” websites that filters may allow access to that may still contain inappropriate content. For example the filter may allow access to Facebook, however the filtering software is not able to block an inappropriate picture that your friend posts. The best way to deal with this is to build an atmosphere in your home where family members openly and regularly discuss their online activities. Another helpful suggestion is to establish a family rule whereby no one is permitted to use the internet behind closed doors.
How are you dealing with the inevitable issues that arise when trying to protect your family? Please add your suggestions in the comments section.
This blog post was adapted (with permission) from an email written by Jesse Gentile. Thanks Jesse!
Image credit: Benjamin Smith