ISP Based Controls

With more and more parents worrying about their children understanding how to get round parental filters, having internet service providers blocking the websites could be the best solution. Internet service providers (ISP's) are able to provide a server based filtering service to prevent websites that have porn or gambling from reaching your computer in the first place; however only a few ISP's offer this service.

Family Or Religious Filters

These ISP's market themselves as family or religious filters and offer a variety of filtering levels. This means that you can choose your level of protection. If you want, you can restrict what comes into your computer from a minimum level of restrictions up to a very high-level giving only minimal internet access. For example in Israel, where many religious Jews need to use the internet for work, but don't want other internet use, they can choose an ISP that will only allow access to certain work sites during business hours. With this type of server, you can not only choose the level of filter you need but even block or permit access to specific sites.

In the United States, you can choose from servers like thejnet or Koshernet, which again filter at the server end so that no unapproved sites can get into your computer. At its highest level of filter, Koshernet will only let you receive and send emails and gives you no access to the internet at all.

Committed Christians are also catered for by providers like Integrity Online or True Vine Online. With these filtered internet connections you can even set them up so that different members of the family can each have their own settings, password protected of course. With these servers, there is no way that your child can bypass the basic filtering levels, as it's the server not you, that blocks unapproved sites. Some companies just have a block list, others filter and monitor websites in real time. This means that if you try and access a previously unapproved site, there may be a short delay before the ISP worker checks the site and approves access, assuming the site is suitable of course.

Accountability Software

Another option for computer users is to prevent internet abuse is to install accountability software that automatically sends lists of visited websites to your spouse, counselor or other named person. This is another good way for parents to see exactly which sites their children are visiting on a daily basis. Many companies also use this type of accountability software to prevent internet abuse in the office.

Government Controls

Certain governments control access to the internet and block access to particular sites. For example during the Olympic Games, China prevented citizens and visitors alike from gaining access to sites criticizing the Chinese government.

The British government is in consultation with internet providers to block access to pornography sites as a way of protecting children from accessing these sites. The idea is that the internet customers would have to opt in to these sites instead of having to ask their internet provider to block them. This would make it much easier for parents to make sure that their children weren't coming across these types of sites by mistake.

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser