Internet Filters Probably Don't Protect the Kids

By Gary Cutlack on at

Relying on the internet filter to nanny your children isn't the best way of protecting them from the worst the internet has to offer, as a group of academics have found there's only a "dubious" benefit to having the technology policing your connections.

The Oxford University report -- published in the Journal of Pediatrics [PDF] -- was based on interviews conducted with 515 teenagers aged between 12 and 15, with their monosyllabic grunts and aggressive DUNNOS revealing that bad online experiences weren't limited to those whose parents choose not to have the internet filtered by a caring ISP.

Only 33 per cent of families involved said they used a form of internet filter anyway, with 24 per cent of parents saying they didn't even know such a thing existed. 14 per cent of children asked said they'd had one bad thing happen online in the last year, with four per cent saying they'd had the baffling experience of encountering someone online who was pretending to be them. Welcome to the internet, laddo.

Dr Andrew Przybylski from the Oxford Internet Institute said: "Parents may feel reassured knowing they have internet filters in their home, but our results suggests that such filters do not safeguard against young people seeing things that may frighten or upset them."

Educating them more about the dangers and actually having to talk to them about awkward stuff like pornography and the Daily Mail is sadly the answer, as it usually tends to be. [Oxford University]

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