MYTH 1: Internet Filters Will Slow Down My Internet
One of the reasons why people think that internet filters slow your internet down is because early on many of them did. The reason some of these earlier filtering products had trouble is because they tried to apply filters using software that, oft times, would be running on the router or device itself. This tended to slow things down, particularly in a home with a lot of devices, because it couldn’t keep up and would sometimes lock up or slow things down so much it was unusable.
Today most filters use cloud-based services to monitor and filter your internet connection so there is little, if any, real noticeable difference in performance when you are online on any given device. Download speeds are not restricted at all so once authorization to view or access a site has been given, the only “limit” on your internet is the speed of your internet connection.
MYTH 2: Internet Filters Are Too Restrictive
I have heard from some that they don’t use an internet filter in their home because they believe they are too restrictive and make the internet “hard to use”. While it is true that some filters simply block specific sites regardless of the user or device that is trying to access them, the internet filters today don’t have that problem. In fact, most of them let you decide what type of web sites or apps you want to restrict depending on who is trying to access them. This feature gives the administrator a lot of flexibility and allows them to block certain sites for younger users without restricting access to teens and adults.
MYTH 3: Internet Filters Block All The “Bad Stuff”
Most filters today are very good, and far better than anything we have had access to in the past, however there are some things that even the best filters out there can’t do. Here are just a few to be aware of.
- Monitor Or Restrict Videos – If you give someone access to a streaming service or YouTube there is no way for an internet filter to track or restrict what videos the user is watching. If this is a concern you will want to make sure you either block access to these apps and sites altogether or set up parental controls and passwords on those services whenever possible.
- Filter Images – Even the best internet filters have no way of monitoring or filtering images on a web site or social media feed. If you give a user permission to access these sites and apps, then there is always a risk that they will be exposed to violent or adult themed images or videos that cannot be filtered.
- Block Or Prevent Searches for Mature Content- There are three search engines that currently offer a “safe search” or filtered option; Google, Bing, and Duck Duck Go. If a user has access to other search engines besides the three above, there is always a chance they will pull up images or links to adult web sites that would be filtered otherwise. Most filters allow you to lock the “safe search” feature on and restrict access to the search engines that support it.
MYTH 4: Internet Filters Track Everything I Do Online
Some filters on the market will track and maintain a history of the websites that are visited by specific users or their devices. Something that many don’t know, however, is that this feature can also be turned off or disabled by the administrator. This way a parent or guardian can select which user or devices they want to monitor and restrict, and which ones they would prefer to ignore. When you ignore a device, it will basically operate outside of the system entirely and will not be monitored or tracked at all.
MYTH 5: You Don’t Need an Internet Filter
One of the greatest myths about internet filters is that we don’t need them. I have heard several parents tell me that they don’t feel they need an internet filter in their home because their son or daughter is a “good kid” and “doesn’t look at that stuff”. Unfortunately, most of the studies I have seen, and the experiences I have had with several of my clients, do not reflect the opinions that many parents seem to have about their children’s online behaviors.
According to most researchers children are usually exposed to pornography around the age of 11 years old and in a recent study on pornography consumption among different age groups it found that 97% percent of teens and young adult males use pornography and 75% of females in the same age groups do.
In addition to this pornographic epidemic we’re experiencing, we have also seen a sharp increase in depression, anxiety, and suicide among individuals in this same age group. From 2006 – 2018 the number of U.S teens who had experienced major depressive episodes increased from 7.9% to 14.4% and that number is even higher today.
The unfortunate reality is that smart phones, and having unlimited access to everything online, has done untold amounts of damage to relationships, families, and to the mental and social well-being of our children around the globe. Now, perhaps more than ever before, is the best time for us to take precautionary measures to limit our children’s risk of exposure to destructive media and content online and to help them create a healthy and balanced relationship with technology now and in the future.
To learn more about what tools are available, and how you can protect your family online, please visit our website at thecleanernet.com.