written by: Daniel Brecht•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/28/2015
Using the PC to surf the Web is not always safe for kids (or adults) due to the pop-up ads and links to inappropriate sites--containing either indecent or obscene images and content--that is easily accessible. To correct this problem, here are a few known Web filtering programs that can help.
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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2009 and represents the author's opinion at that time. It has since then been placed in our archive and left up for those that find this information helpful.
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The Use of Web Filtering Software
Web filter software is used to restrict and permit access to certain Web sites, as well as to monitor online browsing habits and activities. In addition, it deters from sending or receiving inappropriate content over the Internet and enables the safe and productive use of surfing the Web.
An important use of Web filter software is as a tool for parental control measure...
to protect children from online predators
to block children from accessing certain Web sites
to monitor children's computer browsing activities
Simply said, Web filtering software is content-control software for providing safety for children on the Internet. Capable of controlling what content is permitted to a reader. It has the benefits of allowing parents to restrict sites from being viewed by children as well as set the amount of time that they may spend accessing the Internet too.
"Although nothing can take the place of well-informed parents who take an active part in their children's online activities, internet filter software adds a strong, additional layer of defense, giving parents an added measure of control and peace of mind." 
Allows users to block sites based on keywords in the browsers caption bar. This means that it will only block traffic within the browser itself.
Can prevent adult-only popups and sites from appearing.
Benefits: It is a program that is password protected, so it helps to prevent accessing of certain websites.
System Minimum Requirements: 486/66 DX 2, Windows 95, 16MB Ram, Internet Explorer 5.0.
Other free program options...
OpenDNS has "Award-Winning Parental Controls" to manage a family's Internet access. It can manage Web access across every device on a home network.
Windows Live Family Safety enhances the standard Parental Controls in Windows. It can be used to block and unblock sites and users. The freeware can be downloaded from CNET.
Note: "Most of these programs can be configured by the parent to filter out sites that contain nudity, sexual content, hateful or violent material or that advocate the use of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco. Some can also be configured to prevent children from revealing information about themselves such as their name, address, or telephone number." 
Also, note there are Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that "offer discounted rates for child safety software and some online service providers provide child safety features as part of the service. Check with your ISP to see what options and recommendations they provide."