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Kim's column

Warning for parents: online safety filters don’t work

I know it may feel like the internet is half porn, but the best academic estimates put the number at between 5 and 15 percent. But kids only need to stumble across one page of explicit content to ruin their day.

If you have youngsters in your home and you’re considering or are currently using online filtering programs to keep then away from internet porn, listen up!

The latest research from Oxford University finds that filters designed to keep kids away from online porn rarely work.

“Internet filtering tools are ineffective, and in most cases, were an insignificant factor in whether young people had seen explicit sexual content,” an Oxford study said.

In short, more times than not, the bad stuff still gets through. To be effective, databases of porn websites must be updated on a moment-by-moment basis, which is very costly and virtually impossible.

I know that filtering software is very popular. But Oxford researchers say that, in this case, technology is not the answer. Here, it comes back to basics: As the adult in charge, YOU must carefully watch where kids go and what they do online.

Hear Kim on internet filtering software:

BONUS: Here’s how to keep an eye on your teen’s texting and know the secret lingo.

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