Adrian Weckler: How to protect children online
The good news is that you don't have to wait for government-backed web filters. There are a great many easy-to-use PC, iPad and iPhone programs that do the job very well.
Many such tools not only block adult images, but cut out inappropriate content and language on social media, too. Some are free, others cost a few euro. Here's a quick guide to four of the better choices.
If you're looking for one single child-safety package, this is probably the best on the market. It filters just about any type of inappropriate content you care to restrict.
That means violence, adult imagery, bad language and more. It also has an advanced feature that masks profanity (or selected keywords) within social networking services such as Facebook.
Reporting tools also come as standard, meaning parents are kept informed as to the websites, services and content that kids access. McAfee Safe Eyes
This is another decent safety filter that throws in a lot of precautions for parents worried about adult-oriented content. As well as blocking explicit or adult-themed content, it also extends into use of services such as iTunes, blocking explicit content from being downloaded.
Like Net Nanny, it logs instant-messaging chats (where cyber-bullying often manifests itself). One wallet-friendly element is that a single purchase is licensed for three devices.
This is probably the best anti-pornography filter available for the iPad. What makes it stand out is its ability to assess which sites genuinely include porn and adult content.
Metacert offers excellent filtering for social media sites too. It also allows dual-mode access, with a default safe setting for kids and password-accessed unrestricted browsing for parents.
However, it does not have some of the all-round features (such as anti-bullying) that some rivals have.
This app is designed to give parents a detailed view of exactly what kids are doing with the phone, who they're talking to, what they're saying and what sites they're visiting.
It also has a 'geo-fence', which tells parents where the phone-wielding child is at any given time and sends an alert if a designated perimeter is breached.
A tablet version is also available.