The European Commission funded a just-completed three-year study of parental-control tools, and the results are now available. With the help of 140 testers (parents and teachers), the researchers studied 26 tools, from filtering to computer security, server- and family-computer-based. They looked at the tools’ appropriateness for three age groups: 6-10, 11-14, and 15-16 (here are the testing criteria). On the accuracy of filtering technology, they report: “While we observed significant improvements in the filtering of pornographic content between 2006 and 2007, we stated last year that non-pornographic but harmful content needed more accurate filtering techniques. We can report significant improvements in this area too, and we observed individual improvements for three filters that participated in 2006, 2007 and 2008. In general, we observe a very positive trend in filter accuracy.” Seven of the filtering products received a less-effective score this past year over 2007, however. “Our tests revealed that these filters do detect more potentially harmful content, but at the expense of unduly overblocking harmless content.” Here, too, from the Safer Internet program are basic online-safety guidelines in 9 languages. Thanks to QuickLinks for pointing out this info.
BTW, in case you wonder how kids do find workarounds for filters at home, school, etc. (besides going to the library, friends’ houses, etc.), here’s just one example on the Web: “How to Get Around Blocked Web Sites at School or Work: A Newbie’s Guide.”