The Internet as a medium is not moderated, and while this has obvious advantages, there are also disadvantages. Most countries have formulated their own rules for the media within them, based on majority moral standards and political interest, so censorship levels vary from culture to culture. The global nature of the Internet, both culturally and physically, makes centralised regulation impossible. This issue is often particularly worrying for parents, for while the Internet is an excellent resource for children and an exciting new means of communication, they cannot be sure their children access only content that is appropriate for them.

The Broadcasting Services Act established a regulatory scheme for online content. The ACMA has registered a code of practice developed by the IIA which requires ISPs to provide filtering products or services to their subscribers. These products are designed to allow users a choice about the content they can access online.

The Internet Industry Association (IIA) has prepared the following guide to assist Australian Internet users understand Australia's regulatory framework for online content

This page has been created to let Adam Internet subscribers know what the various options are regarding content filtering, and to present the advantages and disadvantages of each solution.

Possible Solutions

There is no better solution to keeping children safe on the Internet than to make sure they are ALWAYS supervised when online. The Internet is not like television which only allows adult shows to broadcast late at night. It is more like a library where anyone can access, and insert, content anywhere on the shelves at any time. Undesirable content can be accessed just as easily as content that is useful, so it.s always better if an adult can be on hand to assist children when using the Internet. Adult supervision can help children avoid or at least put into context any Adult material found.

However, you may not want to risk the chance of any material inadvertently popping up, or you may wish to make sure you yourself are not confronted with material you are not comfortable viewing. The ACMA has provided a list of 24 approved filtering programs that you can use to help avoid this material (see the list following this article). We have also provided several links to allow you to be better equipped in deciding if, and how, you want to moderate your access to the World Wide Web.

About Filtering Software

Consumers should be aware that no filtering solution is foolproof. The main advantage filtering software offers is that it tends to make it harder to access adult material on the Internet, although some of the applications available have other really useful features as well (eg. Restricting access to the computer to certain times).

What you may wish to keep in mind when choosing a solution is that there are other online services around other than the WWW (sites with an address like All kinds of content can be accessed through FTP, IRC, Instant Messaging, Email, Newsgroups and File Sharing, among others. Also remember that Adult Content is not the only concern when accessing the Internet - children should also be warned about 'stranger danger'. The links at the end of this article provide detailed discussion on how to deal with these issues.

All filtering software works with one or a combination of the following three methods:

White Lists

Black Lists

Keyword Filtering

About Anti-Spam Protection

We are all aware of Spam - those annoying, fraudulent and often offensive unwanted emails that show up in our email account. But did you know that as an Adam Internet customer your Adam Internet email account has built-in, premium anti-spam protection? This solution provided by Symantec Brightmail, offers amazing accuracy with only one in every one million email messages having a chance of being incorrectly filtered.

In addition, you may wish to install another anti-spam notification service - SpamMATTERS - available through the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). SpamMATTERS is free software, which enables you to simultaneously delete your spam and report it to the ACMA.

As the ACMA is responsible for enforcing Australia's anti-spam law, the Spam Act 2003 - SpamMATTERS is a tool used by the government agency to take enforcement action against spammers.

The installation of the ACMA SpamMATTERS button is straightforward and is available to users of Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Outlook Express.

If you are not a Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Outlook Express customer alternative spam reporting options are available on the ACMA website for customers using other email programs. And remember you already have anti-spam protection available with an Adam Internet email account.

Please Note: SpamMATTERS is an initiative of the ACMA and as such, all queries related to the service and support of this product need to be directed to the ACMA via their online feedback form or by calling 1300 855 180. The Adam Internet call centre is unable to support this third-party service.

The anti-spam protection we offer our customers for free is of a very high accuracy, stopping around.95% of spam from reaching your account. As such, we strongly believe our anti-spam service provides one of the best filtering solutions available. We are providing you details of SpamMATTERS because we are greatly supportive of the ACMA's efforts to bring spammers in line.

To Sum Up...

Software filtering will prevent access to the more obvious offensive sites, but as mentioned, there are still many ways to get around it. It cannot be stressed enough that the best solution to keep children safe on the Internet is to make sure they are ALWAYS supervised when online.

Kids are information sponges, constantly learning, and if they set their minds to it will discover how to bypass filters almost faster than it took to install them. If you are concerned about the content children in your charge may be accessing, sit with them and involve yourself in their Internet activities, or keep the computer in a public area where you can easily see the monitor.

As stated earlier, the ACMA has provided ISPs with a list of filtering software they consider appropriate for use in Australia. These are some that are appropriate for home users:

Software Available

Product Name Price Demo White List Black List Keyword Checks Other Apps Custom Profiles Logging
Arlington Custom Browser USD $25 / year      
Cyber Patrol USD $50 / year
Cyber Sentinel AU $99
CyberSitter USD $39.95    
NetNanny USD $39.95    
Norton Internet Security USD $69.95      

Please Note: Adam Internet does not provide support for any of these applications and are not responsible for any problems occurring from the installation of any of this software.

Product Name: The softwares name
Demo: A link to download a demo/trial version of this software (if available).
Price: The price of the software package, and if its a once off fee or subscription based.
Method: The way in which the software performs its blocking (see above for descriptions of the three methods).
Checks Other Applications: If the software performs any filtering on non-www applications (such as Newsgroups/IRC/ICQ).
Custom Profiles: If the software allows you to specify different settings for different family members.
Logging: If the software logs any attempted accesses to unauthorised material.

These are the main client applications for Windows. If you use a Macintosh you don't really have much to choose from, CyberPatrol was the only product found that advertised availability on the Mac platform. Linux desktop users will have to install one of the more advanced proxy filters you can find listed on the IIA website.

Before you install any of these applications you may wish to visit some of the following sites which provide more detail on the filtering situation, and how to handle looking after your children on the Internet: