Protecting your family on the net

Tips & Hints

There is no doubt about it, there’s some nasty stuff on the net. Some of it isn’t difficult to find and much of it finds you. We look at the ways you can reduce the risk of finding inappropriate material on the net.

Posted 14 March 2003

Supervising usage

It should be understood that you cannot stop every potential nasty. No matter how much software and supervision you apply to the problem, some will slip through. If you are concerned then you must supervise computer usage.

The best way to monitor usage is to put the computer in an open place such as the family or lounge room. It isn’t just inappropriate websites that are a risk with computers. Having the computer where everyone can see what is going on means there is less likelihood of misuse or overuse.

Restricting surfing

Internet explorer has some basic built in protection. This setting is found in the Internet Tools control panel under the Content tab. We recommend taking care with this setting as you can mess up your browser.

The major search engines allow you to set search levels. Both Google and Altavista have customised settings. AOL members can set their levels as part of the service.

Filtering software

Filtering software costs around a $100 dollars. The better products can limit the time each user has on the net as well as blocking inappropriate newsgroups and chatrooms. The Australian Broadcasting Authority has a comparison of the more popular products.

You need to be careful of filtering software. There are often ways around it and sometimes it can be arbitrary on what it protects. Be very careful of keyword blocks, being too aggressive may lock you out of a lot of innocent sites.


With email you find the rubbish comes to you. The best way to filter it out is through spam killer programs that either let you check them before downloading, or filter them automatically. There are dozens of these programs, we have used Mailwasher and had good reports about Check P3.

Again you must careful about the settings on these programs. Should you set the thresholds too high you will reject legitimate mail, particularly from newsletters that don’t use your address in the to: field. Rejected mail is one of the biggest problems of running an online newsletter.

Like all other walks of life there are unsavoury places on the net. We want to avoid them and we certainly don’t want our kids to stumble into them. With some technology and a lot of supervision we can protect ourselves and our families from most of the nasties lurking on the net.

PC Rescue Pty Ltd
Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
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ŠTechnology Publishing Australia, 2011