BT, Sky, Virgin, TalkTalk and a range of other internet service providers have all enabled adult filtering on their service with most setting it on automatically or at the very least requiring new users to select if they want it enabled or not before they can continue to use the internet.
I've written about this topic previously on a few occasions due to the extremely poor way these systems are implemented and how the advertising of such services could lull parents into a false sense of security. The simple fact is adult filters are able to be bypassed.
Bypassing requires funds usually
Granted, the solution I discuss known as a VPN does cost money so access to a VPN service is limited to those in their teenage years. However, as some VPN services can be paid for using gift cards it doesn't necessarily require access to a credit or debit card.
Unfortunately adult filters are often heralded as a way to keep your kids safe online and while in many circumstances this is true it is not the full story and again, bypassing them is possible.
I've written previously about how teenagers are masters of circumvention, be it smoking, drinking or whatever other illicit adult activity we often want them to refrain from. They often find a way around restrictions if they are that determined and due to my previous article this is becoming massively evident. Two of the most popular articles on this site alone are :-
- Sky censor internet automatically and how to bypass it
- How to bypass BT family filter and why it is wrong in the first instance
The reasons why these articles are so popular is not because parents are concerned that the ISP family filters may not be all that good but because teenagers themselves are frantically searching the web for ways to bypass such filters. In one way it proves that the filters somewhat work because teenagers are looking for ways around them, however, on the other hand if there is a way around them then they will certainly find it and one simple way is to use a VPN.
Masses of kids looking for adult filter loopholes
Over the past 7 days the following search terms have led visitors to this very site mainly to the two articles mentioned above and from this you can deduce the reasons why. Remember this is just a selection, we often do not know the search terms typed into Google or other search engines that bring visitors to the site.
- Does vpn beat parental controls
- What sex sites get past sky shield
- How can you bypass parental control with a website
- How come bt won't let me watch porn ?
- Remove adult restriction virginmedia
- Is there anyway of accessing something banned by sky shield without turning it off
- Hot porn not blocked by bt
- Are there any porn sites not blocked by sky
- Porn unblocked by sky shield
- Watch porn around block
- Surf adult content without turning off sky broadband shield
- Adult sites not blocked by sky sheild
In fact visits are so high to the Sky adult filter bypass article that over 12,000 unique visits to that one article were recorded in the past 30 days. That's 400 individuals per day either wanting to read about Sky Shield or more likely wanting to know how to bypass it and that's just to our one website, there could be numerous other websites that cover a similar topic.
It's the innocent websites that suffer
While teenagers will naturally look for ways around blocks the situation is worsened by the fact these adult filters often block entirely innocent websites or those that provide a useful service such as sexual health information because of over-zealous keyword filtering.
As a teenager it is often hard enough to understand yourself and the world around you, the internet can be a wonderful resource to find answers to all manner of issues and with reports of certain sites being blocked unnecessarily it could be detrimental to teenagers being able to access critical information for their development.
The UK Open Rights Group campaigns for better online rights and privacy issues launched a website called Blocked and have highlighted a range of everyday websites that were blocked by mistake proving that adult filters are indeed flawed.
The upshot to the situation is that the only way to protect your children online is to monitor their online use. Solutions include only allowing access in locations that are visible to yourself which means no access in bedrooms. Taking an interest in what your children are doing online by checking their browsing history. This can, of course, be cleared and may lead you to question why this is the case.
The browsing history of Google Chrome can be accessed by pressing the three small horizontal lines in the top right corner of the window and then History. In Internet Explorer it can be accessed by pressing the Star icon in the top right hand corner and then on the History tab.
Most of all interacting with your children and their online use by discussing it with them is likely the best option for monitoring and not relying on an adult filter supplied by your ISP in the hope it can do a better job than you can.
As our stats show, your teenager could just very well be searching for a way to bypass those blocks.
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net