Family Friendly Filters
What are filters?
In general terms, filters are computer programs designed to limit access to certain types of content on the internet.
Filters operate in different ways, and different filters will be better suited to different operating environments and age groups. More information about filters and staying safe online can be obtained from the eSafety Office.
It is important to note that the use of filters is not mandatory in Australia, either under law or Industry Codes. Users can choose whether or not to install filters, and if and when to activate them. Similarly, ISPs are not required to filter or monitor internet traffic. However, Communications Alliance recognises that some families find filters a useful addition to direct parental supervision, and for that reason supports their availability.
What is the “Family Friendly Filter” program?
There are a lot of filters available on the internet which may work for your family.
To specifically qualify for Family Friendly Filter status and be listed on this page, a filter must undergo rigorous independent testing to ensure that it meets the criteria as set out in the relevant Industry Code.
These include effectiveness, ease of use, configurability, availability of support and agreement by the filter company providing the filter to update the filter as required by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), for example where the ACMA determines following a complaint that a specified site is prohibited under Australian law.
Classes of accredited Family Friendly Filters
The ACMA has 4 levels of classification for certified filters:
- Unclassified: These filters block websites on the ACMA Prohibited URL Filter (PUF) list, and are recommended for 18+ years of age
- Class 1: Recommended for children over 15 years of age
- Class 2: Recommended for children between 10 and 15 years of age
- Class 3: Recommended for children under 10 years of age
All filter products are eligible to apply for Family Friendly Filter status. Upon application filters are independently tested by Enex TestLab.
The below filters have been tested and certified to be a “Family Friendly Filter.
Communications Alliance and Enex TestLab are seeking additional filter providers for certification. If you are interested, please contact Enex TestLab at (03) 9436 7454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Name||Norton Family Premier |
|Class of accreditation||Class of accreditation: Class 1 - Recommended for children over 15 years of age|
|Date Certified||October 2017 |
Overview provided by Enex TestLab
“Symantec’s Norton Family is a reasonably effective filter. Parents can set usage limits individually for each computer user. Limits on total browsing time or by schedule can be set as well as personalised category limits – default settings for various age ranges are present and these can be further customised. Parents may choose to raise a warning rather than outright blocking pages. The user interface was good, but may take a little time to get used to. Monitoring and management is via the web allowing remote access while at work, etc. Parents can set black and white lists. Monitoring of application usage and device location are also present. Supports Windows, Android and iOS.”
How do I install one of these filters?
For any questions on the listed filters, including installation, options, and troubleshooting, please contact the filter provider directly.
Formerly Accredited Filters
These filters have not been tested in some time, but were previously certified and remain available options.
|Class of accreditation||Class of accreditation: Class 3 – Recommended for children under 10 years of age|
|Date Certified||February 2015 |
“PureSight Owl is a very effective content filter package. The filter can be set to block usage at certain hours or after a usage quota has been reached. The filter can block certain words during online chats (use for credit card number, children’s names, etc.). Facebook monitoring is also present. Management is online, so it can be accessed anywhere. The product supports Windows and Android.
Installation is straightforward. Broad categories can be set for various age ranges (e.g.: Below 6, Pre-teen 6-10, 11-14, 15-17, Adult, monitor only). These can be fine-tuned by adjusting the specific categories listed below. Parents can also define Black and White lists.”
|Class of accreditation||Class of accreditation: Class 2 - Recommended for children between 10 and 15 years of age|
|Date Certified||December 2013 |
Staying safe online
Filters are one tool that can be used to encourage safe internet access. The eSafety Commissioner’s Office provides a range of information and tools for parents, including on their iParent site: https://www.esafety.gov.au/education-resources/iparent.
Additionally, your internet provider may have tools or information available to you.
Some examples are below:
|FOXTEL||Broadband customers can receive a 60-day free trial period of a security service and then an ongoing discounted subscription rate once the trial has expired: https://phoenix.symantec.com/norton/foxtel/|
Provides specific lesson plans targeted at distinct age groups, available on iiNet's website: https://www.iinet.net.au/about/community/learn/cyber-safety/
|Optus||Information for Optus customers on cybersafety and cybersecurity is available at: http://www.optus.com.au/internetsecurity, with additional resources available at http://www.optus.com.au/about/sustainability/responsibility/cyber-safety|
In addition, Optus runs two separate cybersafety programs in schools: Digital Thumbprint and Kids Helpline @ School. Both of these programs are certified by the eSafety Commissioner’s office, and details can be found at: http://www.digitalthumbprint.com.au/and https://kidshelpline.com.au/grownups/news-research/teacher-resources/kids-helpline@school/
|Telstra||Various resources for children and young people are available on Telstra's website, and they have added a new section on personal mobile safety:|
Telstra’s Mobile Protect helps customers set parental controls and restrict usage on mobile devices on their post-paid account: https://www.telstra.com.au/support/category/mobiles-tablets/user-guides-help/telstra-mobile-protect
Telstra’s Broadband Protect helps protect devices connected to Telstra’s home broadband service from websites hosting known malicious content, scams or viruses by blocking those websites at the Telstra network: https://www.telstra.com.au/broadband/extras/broadbandprotect
Through Telstra Foundations partners, PROJECT ROCKET and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, Telstra helps connect young people and library users with the skills they need for smart, safe and responsible use of technology.
This includes through eSmart libraries with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, launched in 2012, which will better equip 1,500 public libraries across the country and support library users with the skills they need for smart, safe and responsible use of technology. This $8 million, multi-year partnership is one of the most significant community cyber-safety programs ever undertaken in Australia: https://www.esmart.org.au/esmart-libraries/