Cyber Safety Tools...Dept. of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy


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Cybersafety tools Voluntary filtering of child abuse material Three of Australia’s largest internet service providers (ISPs), Telstra, Optus and Primus, have agreed to voluntarily block child abuse material at the server level. This means it is done automatically without end users needing to do anything. Recently, Webshield and ItXtreme have also volunteered to block child abuse material at the ISP level. The government will continue encouraging other Australian ISPs to follow the example of these ISPs. ISP-level additional content filtering services Some ISPs may also offer additional content filtering at the server level that is in addition to blocking child abuse material. Examples of ISPs in Australia that offer these services include Webshield and ItXtreme.   Webshield filter options1 ItXtreme2 Parental control tools In addition to internet content filtering at the ISP level, several parental control tools are available. These can be installed and operated by parents on home computers, providing web browser, search engine and operating system level filtering. The take-up of internet connected devices such as smartphones, gaming consoles, televisions and tablet computers are fast becoming a popular means for children to access the internet. The industry is developing filtering technologies for many of these products. These technologies are effective in helping parents keep their children safe online. 1 2


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Web browser filtering One simple method parents can easily use to block unwanted online content is to activate the internet safety functions offered by the major web browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. These safety functions allow an ‘administrator’ (parent/carer) to use a password protected system to customise the computer’s settings according to their own family’s preferences. Internet Explorer contains a ‘Content Advisor’ feature that allows parents to create black or white lists of websites (black meaning it blocks sites on the list, and white meaning it only allows the sites on the list). This includes an adjustable ratings system that can restrict certain types of content from being viewed. While Mozilla Firefox’s filtering feature is not ‘built-in’ to their standard product, third party add-ons are available for this purpose. Google Chrome offers parents the option of choosing controls that are suited to their family through downloadable extensions from other developers and companies. Further information on how to activate the Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome safety functions is available from their websites:    Internet Explorer web browser filtering information3 Mozilla Firefox parental control add-ons4 Google Chrome downloadable extensions5 Search engine filtering In addition to filtering at the web browser level, internet search engines such as Bing, Google and Yahoo! provide parents with safety tools to block undesirable online content such as sexually explicit material. Bing, Google and Yahoo! have a ‘SafeSearch’ option which gives parents the ability to change settings to help prevent unwanted content appearing in search results. They each provide ‘moderate’ and ‘strict’ levels of filtering, enabling parents to select the level of content filtering their family receives. 3 4 5


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Further information on how to activate the Bing, Google and Yahoo! SafeSearch functionality is available from their websites:    Bing SafeSearch block explicit websites6 Google safety tools7 Yahoo! SafeSearch8 Operating system filtering Parents can also restrict undesirable internet content by using parental controls provided by the major operating systems. For example, the popular Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems have parental content controls that are easily activated. Microsoft offers a Windows Live Family Safety 2011 package that allows only predefined internet material to be accessed. It also lets parents put limits on when certain programs can be used at specific times during the day. The safety package can be downloaded for free from Microsoft’s website and includes easy-to-follow instructions. The safety package is compatible with Microsoft XP, Vista and Windows 7. Apple’s Mac OS X Snow Leopard product features parental controls similar to those offered by Microsoft. Parents can manage, monitor and control the time their children spend on the computer, including the sites they visit and the people they chat with online. The Linux operating system also has various applications and programs for internet content filtering. Further information on how to activate the Windows, Mac and Linux operating system parental controls is available from their websites:   Windows Live Family Safety 2011 package9 Apple Mac OS X Snow Leopard security information10 6 7 8 9


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 Linux web filtering information11 Family friendly internet filters There are also a number of free or commercially available filtering programs and services that parents can install on their family’s computers. The Internet Industry Association (IIA) maintains a list of family friendly PC filters. To qualify for family friendly status, a filter must be thoroughly tested to block internet content that is prohibited by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, be easy to install and use, and include technical support. Further information on the Family Friendly Filters scheme is available from the IIA website:  Internet Industry Association Family Friendly Filters12 May 2011 10 11 12



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