Internet filters are usually the first line of defense people think about when trying to safeguard their computer from undesired sites. The problem, however, is that despite the good intentions and even sometimes good results, there are three very good reasons that you might want to consider accountability software instead of a filter – or, even better, accountability software in addition to a filter.

Filters Can Be Inconsistent:

A student at Central Connecticut State University was recently arrested over a scare he caused from a combination of poor judgement and misunderstanding. Whenever I’ve used filters, poor judgement and misunderstanding have been my lasting impressions. It is easy to believe that filters alone will protect you from pornography or any other myriad of ill suited sites, but the reality is that filters simply cannot catch every single vile site from making its way onto the screen. This is poor judgement – you absolutely have to understand that filters alone won’t keep your screen clean as there are too many work arounds and too many cracks where the filter simply doesn’t work. The misunderstanding comes when filters do their jobs too well. Sometimes filters keep us from viewing content that is okay because the filter doesn’t recognize the type of content that is on the page.

Accountability is a Real World Solution:

Filters are more along the lines of what I use for my young children. I don’t allow them to see certain movies or eat certain foods, etc. Being older, and somewhat wiser, I know that there are certain things that are harmful to them, so I simply don’t allow them to be exposed to them, but when people get older they resent being treated this way. As we get older, we tend to use accountability to keep us in line. We obey the speed limit because we know there are police officers out there to hold us accountable. We stay on task at work because there is a manager that holds us accountable. We use accountability every day at work, at school, and in the home.

You are Ultimately in Charge of Your Filter:

My biggest concern about filters is that you, and you alone, are in control of it. If it isn’t behaving how you want it to behave at that instant, it is fairly easy to change its behavior. You can use a filter without answering to anyone else, but with accountability software, you are still in control, but you can’t use it alone. With accountability software you are forced to expose your every move to someone else and the power behind that is incredible.