Content filtering: what parents need to know

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What is content filtering?

Content filtering works by blocking access to undesirable content online—from images to entire websites. If you ever accessed Instagram or Reddit on your work computer and found that the webpage wouldn’t load, that was content filtering (specifically URL filtering) in action.

You can tailor your content filters based on your kids’ ages and even device or user profiles. This means that everyone in the family will be able to access content that’s appropriate for their age, and you can grant more permissions as your young kids turn into teenagers.

Will content filters block everything that's inappropriate?

While no content filter is foolproof, it’s a useful tool that can:

  • Block inappropriate images and videos
  • Restrict access to certain search engine results pages
  • Prevent your kids from accessing specific websites that host adult content
  • Reduce possible accidental exposure to adult content

That said, it is still possible for some inappropriate content to slip through the filter and wind up in front of your kids. This is why it's important to have regular family chats about staying safe online—and to always let your kids know that they can come to you for help if they see something online that makes them uncomfortable. 

Could your content be filtered, too?

It's possible! Some content filters are highly customizable and allow you to set filtering rules by user account, app, or device. Other forms of content filtering involve a blanket approach and apply to your entire Wi-Fi network. 

Luckily, you have plenty of options when it comes to choosing the right content filter—or combination of filters. 

Content filtering options for parents.

Each method has its pros and cons, and the right choice for your family will depend on a few factors including:

  • How your family uses the internet
  • How old your children are
  • Which devices regularly access your home network
  • What content you want to block
  • Whether you want to block specific URLs
  • How tech-savvy your kids or teens are

The four options below are some of the most popular methods of content filtering used by families today. 

SafeSearch is a method of content-based filtering that you can activate in search engines like Google and Bing. You can opt to have SafeSearch completely filter out explicit images, phrases, and domain names in real time, or set it to blur adult images.
Device and account controls
Many devices—and even streaming services, like Netflix—allow you to create children’s profiles managed by a parent. These profiles offer control over the type of content that may appear when your child searches for a term or watches TV.
Parental control apps
Parental control apps work on top of any existing device controls you’ve put in place on your kids’ phones and tablets. These apps can give you an extra layer of content filtering protection—handy if your kids figure out how to turn off SafeSearch or disable device-level controls!
Router firewalls
You can filter content and website traffic via your router, too. While the process varies based on your router’s manufacturer, turning on these filters typically involves visiting your router settings in a web browser and then activating any available restrictions and internet firewalls.

To learn more about how to set up content filters that work for your family, check out Aura's complete guide to blocking inappropriate content.

Make content filtering a family affair.

Are your kids going to love the idea of content filtering? Probably not. (Just as you were annoyed the last time your office network blocked a YouTube video that was totally work related, right?)

But if you make choosing and using a content filter a family project, it can help get everyone engaged—and build trust with your kids.

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