Getting Around Your Internet Filter

Jan 07, 2013

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girl on computerThere are many ways that a teen can get around an Internet filter. Net Nanny makes it almost impossible to get around them, but there are still some circumvention techniques. This blog will make you aware of some of them.
Some Internet filters don’t even bother blocking certain types of websites, because there is no way that the filter can know if the content is truly inappropriate or not. Most Internet filters don’t block peer-to-peer websites, which are sites that people use to share and download things like music, photos and movies. A file that looks innocent may actually be pornography, or contain viruses. Net Nanny can block peer-to-peer file sharing entirely.
Another type of site that most Internet filters don’t block are ones with user-generated content like blogs and wiki pages. The most famous wiki is Wikipedia, which anyone with an account can edit. Most filters allow these types of websites, which can have objectionable material, because they do not have the ability to search and examine web pages in real-time. Net Nanny has the ability to check pages in real-time, so it can filter out any objectionable material, while still allowing access to sites that are appropriate.
Besides exploiting holes in the Internet filter, teens can find out a site’s IP address, a string of numbers that identify the site to other computers, and use that instead of the site’s name to access that site. Alternatively, the teen can go to a proxy website, which is a web page within a web page that can hide the IP address, in order to surf the web anonymously.  Net Nanny is capable of checking a web page’s content in real-time, regardless of how the user arrived at the website, so it can still block inappropriate websites, and it can simply block all proxy websites.
There are a few ways that teens can get around Internet filters that can’t be blocked by the filter. One way that teens can get around the filter entirely is to install a program that runs a virtual machine on the computer, essentially a computer within the computer. So, for example, if your computer’s operating system is Windows, the crafty teen can download a program that runs a virtual Windows operating system that won’t have Net Nanny installed, and then surf the web with no filter.
If you’ve set a time limit for your teen, they can simply set the time on the computer back a few hours, tricking the filter into thinking it’s earlier in the day, and giving them more time on the computer.
The last way that teens can get around web filters is if they are granted administration rights on the computer. With admin rights, they can simply uninstall the application. The solution to this last one is simple: don’t grant your teen administrative rights. They don’t need them. As for the other two, just check up on your teen every so often while they’re using the computer. As capable as it can be, an Internet filter is still no substitute for a parent.

I work for Net Nanny. The opinions expressed here are my own.