Where Tools Can Be Located
Your Personal Computer
You can configure some of these tools on your personal computer (PC). (Instructions
for doing this will be in the tool you choose.) Your computer-savvy
children may reconfigure or disengage the tool against your wishes
and possibly without your knowledge. Some PC-based products have
been designed with mechanisms to prevent tampering. Many PC-based
products require frequent updates and some can update themselves
automatically when the PC is connected to the Internet.
Online Service Providers
Some service providers offer a variety of parental controls, including site blocking,
limitation on receipt of e-mail, and restricted access to chat rooms,
newsgroups, or other types of services.
Third-Party (Remote Proxy) Servers
Online services or Internet Access Providers sometimes offer this type of service
where parental controls or filters are installed at a remote facility,
not on your computer. In addition, some software companies offer
their software solutions via their own servers. You may subscribe
to a third-party service, even if your ISP doesn't offer one. Subscribers
to third-party servers configure their browser software to pass
all requests through the remote server. Some of these services include
tools that prevent children from defeating the controls. Third-party
servers are useful because they may be continuously updated at the
remote server, and you won't have to download the latest list of
"forbidden sites" to your home computer. They may also have more
security since your child can't tamper with them locally. Make sure
you select one with flexibility that provides for different configurations
for different family members.
Local Area Networks (LANs) or Local Proxy Servers
You probably don't have a LAN in your home, but implementing tools on LANs using
local proxy servers can be a useful solution for networked PCs in
schools and libraries. These work the same as third-party servers,
but the filter is located at the institution's own server, not at
a third party's server. Centralized configuration is sometimes easier
for system administrators to handle and harder for individuals to
Some search engines offer Internet search services that return only results that
are appropriate for children.
Many Web sites list content that is appropriate for children such as www.netmom.com.
© 2001 by Donna Rice Hughes. Request permission if you wish to reprint or post.