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What Is an Internet Filter?

What Is an Internet Filter?

Due the Internet allowing access to all kinds of information, Internet filters were born. As their name suggests, these filter out objectionable content, but have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Here's more.
Techspirited Staff
The Internet totally encompasses our lifestyles. Be it entertainment, information, shopping, or communication. Today, it has become the global businessman's tool, the lonely person's companion, and sad to say, the criminal's playground.

Yes, the Internet is a dangerous place; yes, there are proper tools that offer a good level of security to a common person on the Internet. No, not many use it, and those who use it do not exactly know all the features of Internet security tools.

There are now Internet filters that intend to make the Internet a better place to live in. These are also sometimes termed as content controllers, and are used to block any one of the following types of content.

Sexually Explicit Content/Child Filter/Family Filter
A child filter blocks any kind of sexually explicit content, like softcore or hardcore pornography, erotica, or any discussions about sex and sexuality. These filters also block any discussions about alternative lifestyles. Some social networking websites have specific filters that dissuade child predators from contacting underage individuals.

Illegal Computing
Some filters block any information about illegal programming, like hacking and software piracy. They also block any information that may be useful for crime, or anything illegal in the real world.

Extreme Content
Filters can also censor any graphic or textual content regarding violence or gore.

Moral Content
In some regions, they are used to combat any discussions related to politics and religions. Some governments also take extreme steps to ban dissidents and opposition in countries.

Advantages

First off, the proper kind of filter keeps the Internet world safe from the Internet underground. They are a boon to newbies to the Internet. With the proper implementation of these filters, the chances of identity theft and cyber crimes decrease.

Internet filters are at their best use in a corporate scenario. There have been cases where an employee clicks on a completely innocent looking link, only to be greeted with something they would prefer not to see while in a professional mixed gender company.

Also, Internet filters can actually create scenarios where the employees have little option other than working, and may play a big role in the increase of productivity in employees.

Disadvantages

Internet filters and content controllers have some disadvantages. One of them is that if the filter is not properly prepared, it may end up blocking websites and material it was not actually supposed to.

Other than that, their major disadvantage is their basic feature―blocking websites and content. Many individuals are of the opinion that Internet filters are a bad way of muzzling the media and the world of information. There have been cases where governments have blocked websites. In some regions of the world, content and websites with even a hint of sexual undertones are immediately banned.

But on a personal level, Internet filters are a good idea, specially if you have a computer at home that is accessed by a wide age range of people, or even people who have a wide range of computer skills.