Internet Safety Website Points Out Major Flaw in Parental Control Software

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Many popular parental control software products utilize keyword blocking as a way to filter what kids can view online, but are they going too far by blocking certain terms like "gay"?

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KiwiCommons.com, a free internet safety resource for guardians and educators, is advising parents to be weary of what parental control tool they decide to implement in their homes. Many parents are overly concerned with blocking out objectionable content online, and rarely do they consider the drawbacks of over blocking information from kids.

"Sheltering kids from certain realities can be just as harmful to a child’s development as the overexposure to inappropriate materials,” said a Kiwi representative. "There is an array of reasons why a kid might want to search for the term ‘gay’, whether it’s because they want to question their sexuality or do research for a social studies project."

In particular, CA Internet Security Suite’s parental control feature which aims to shield Internet users from harmful material seems to have banished the word “gay” to their blacklist along with words like “hate” and “violence.” And while some may argue the word may be an avenue to sexually unsuitable material, others claim the parental control utility is ideologically flawed and reeks of intolerance.

According to a review at NextAdvisor.com, the keyword “gay’" is included under the blacklist category “adult”, and as there is no way to edit the blacklist beyond “basic categories”, users do not have the option of whitelisting the term.

“Taking the route of denial with social topics works against fostering understanding in children and may only contribute to the development of prejudices,” the Kiwi rep added.

Read the full article here: http://kiwicommons.com/2010/04/parental-controls-%E2%80%93-when-keyword-blocking-goes-too-far/

Contact
info(at)kiwicommons(dot)com
905.695.5503

About The Kiwi Initiative
Kiwi Commons
http://www.KiwiCommons.com is a late-breaking news, guides and information weblog dedicated to providing readers with the most relevant and up-to-date resources available on youth Internet safety.

Kiwi Seminars
http://www.KiwiSeminars.com is a non-profit organization committed to proactively educating parents, teachers, students and community leaders regarding the safe and responsible use of the Internet.

To book an Internet safety presentation for 2010 or for more information, visit http://www.KiwiSeminars.com.

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Ashley Huffman
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