How to block inappropriate content in IE



As our kids become used to spending time on the computer at an ever-younger age, one of our biggest fears is the possibility of them stumbling across inappropriate content on the Web. Unfortunately, if your child is a little adventurous and decides to experiment with urls like "sexy.com" or "boobs.com," then she could be in for a very nasty shock!

However, in Internet Explorer there is a very easy way to protect against this. First of all, you need to make sure you are running either IE 8 or IE 9, the two latest versions of Microsoft’s browser software. To find out which version you are running, open IE and click on Help in the top left corner and then click on About. If you are running an earlier version of IE, then you can download a free version of IE 8 or IE 9 from here. (Windows 7 or Windows Vista users should run IE 9; Windows XP users should run IE 8.)

Once you have the updated version of IE, open the browser and click on Tools from the main navigation bar and choose Internet Options. This will bring up a window with seven tabs at the top; choose Content.

Under the heading Content Advisor, choose Enable. The Content Advisor window will show four tabs; the ones to concentrate on are Ratings and Approved Sites.

Under Ratings, IE gives you a number of content categories that have been defined by the Internet Content Rating Association (or ICRA). ICRA is part of the Family Online Safety Institute, a non-profit organization working to develop a safer Internet. By clicking on the slider, you can set your browser to allow different levels of access to each content category.

For example, under “Content that creates fear, intimidation, etc." you can select None, Limited, or Unrestricted. Choosing None will mean you have selected the strongest possible filter against allowing access to this type of content, while choosing Unrestricted means that there are no filters in place. For younger children, we recommend that all content categories are set at None.

Once you have made your selections, then click on Apply. You will be prompted for a password so no-one can change the settings without your approval.

If you don't want to lock down your browser by content category, then you can choose Approved Sites from the Content Advisor window. Here, you can specify individual web sites that are either always viewable or can never be viewed. Again, these selections are password protected, which means you can come back and make changes at any time.

Remember that locking down your browser by content category will greatly restrict Web access. For example, with the settings at None, you can't even reach the Google search tool. If your kids are very young – and a little adventurous – then this is a great place to start. If you are using the computer later, then all restricted Web sites can easily be accessed by inputting the password when prompted.



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