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Internet filters have their place, but not for all kids

Internet filters have been around since the early days of the Web and they can play an important role in preventing young children from accessing inappropriate content. But they’re not a replacement for parental involvements — and they’re not for everyone.

Before installing and configuring a filter, parents need to decide if their child needs to have software controlling how they can use the Internet and, if so, how the filter should be configured.

I don’t recommend routine use of filters for teens, especially high-schoolers. For one thing, there are lots of ways for them to get around filters, including accessing the Web from their cell phones, game consoles or other people’s PCs. And since teens are on a fast path to becoming young adults, it’s better to help them develop the filter that runs between their ears. You can’t protect them forever, so help them learn self-control. Of course, there are always exceptions, and some teens do need extra supervision.


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