What Should I Consider When Buying Internet Blocking Software?

Vanessa Harvey

When selecting Internet blocking software, you usually should first consider who the people are whose access to the World Wide Web you would like to monitor or censor. This will determine the specific features you may desire or require in content blocking software. If you are protecting children, you may want to consider the independent published reviews of the various programs available. These reviews tend to reveal the effectiveness of the software to help ensure your satisfaction with the product. Generally, you will also want to take into account your Internet connection: if it is a slower one such as dial-up, Web browsing may be significantly slowed.

Some Internet blocking software can be configured to issue alerts when there is an attempt to access prohibited webpages.
Some Internet blocking software can be configured to issue alerts when there is an attempt to access prohibited webpages.

Internet blocking software generally involves filtering a selected webpage through the vendor's filters before allowing the page to load onto your computer. Parents may also be interested in the ability to remotely monitor the Internet activities of their children. Children who surf the Internet while home alone often attempt to visit sites that parents or care givers may not approve of. Remote monitoring allows parents to be aware of such behavior and possibly interrupt it before returning home. Other features that some parents find helpful include the ability to generate reports detailing what sites their children have visited, and the ability to enforce time restraints or time slots.

Some Internet blocking software can even be configured to issue alerts when there is an attempt to access prohibited webpages. This requires less monitoring activity by the parent who can simply rely on the alerts. Another feature that parents tend to appreciate is the fact that some Internet censoring software permits the establishment of multiple accounts. If you have children of varying ages, you may have a set of restrictions for the younger ones that you do not want to enforce for the older ones. The monitoring of chat sessions via Instant Messaging (IM) is yet another feature offered in some Internet blocking software packages that can come in handy for parents.

Most employers have slightly different concerns. Some websites contain malicious code that can infect computers, interfering with productivity and company security. Many employers also desire to restrict employees from visiting social networking sites which tend to distract them from their work and inefficiently use bandwidth. Visitation of pornographic sites in the workplace has led to sexual harassment complaints, distraction from employee responsibilities, and embarrassment to employers.

Employers usually are advised to consider the legal risks that could exist if an employee downloads content illegally. The employer, not the employee, may be held responsible for any software piracy lawsuits. Finally, parents and employers should consider the operating system they run, their level of comfort for configuring computer programs, and the help features they would like. For example, if you are a user of the Linux operating system, you will probably not be able to install programs written for Microsoft® Windows®. If you don't consider yourself computer literate, you may want to rely on powerful help features such as pop-up windows and wizards available only in some Internet blocking software programs.

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