Friday, January 14, 2011

Web filters not 100% foolproof against risky sites

Web filters not 100% foolproof against risky sites: EU

A European Internet study has an instant message for parents who want to control their children's online habits: web filters are not 100 percent foolproof against harmful sites.

A solid 84 percent of programmes restrict access to websites such as porn pages, according to a study released by the European Commission on Thursday.

But they still leave a 20 percent chance for sites with content unsuitable for children -- webpages promoting anorexia, suicide and self-mutilation -- to escape the filters.

The study also found that few Internet filters can block "Web 2.0" content including blogs, forums and social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, or filter out instant messaging services.

For parents whose web-savvy kids use smart phones or video game consoles to access the Internet, not all products on the market provide parental controls for such platforms.

Computers are no longer the only way to go online: 31 percent of children access the Internet with their phones and a quarter through platforms such as the Nintendo Wii or Sony's PlayStation, the study found.

A survey released in parallel to the study found that only a quarter of parents in the European Union use parental control software to monitor, track or filter online content.

The use of such software varies widely among parents in the 27-nation EU, from 54 percent in Britain to nine percent in Romania.

The EUKidsOnline survey was conducted in 25 countries with more than 25,000 children and one of their parents between April and August 2010.

The study on filtering software analysed 26 parental control tools for PCs, three for game consoles and two for mobile phones.


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