Internet filters may fail to shield kids from disturbing content

(Reuters Health) - Parents often rely on filtering software to block children’s online contact with bullies, predators, pornography and other inappropriate material, but a new study casts doubt on the effectiveness of these tools.

Researchers conducted 1,030 in-home interviews with 515 British parents and their adolescent children. Overall, children with filtering software on their home computers were less likely to report negative online experiences, the analysis found.

But the difference was so small that researchers dismissed it as random. They report in the Journal of Pediatrics March 14 that 17 percent of youngsters with filters and 22 percent of those without reported negative online experiences.

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