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Filtering results on search engines

Question : Is there a way to keep sexually explicit sites from showing up in web searches?

Answer : As you may have noticed, the Internet is full of sexually explicit material. While blocking all of it may be a Sisyphean chore, there are a few things you can do to help cut down on the number of these sites landing on your search results page.

Most big search engines, including Google, MSN Search, and Yahoo!, include a SafeSearch filter in their preferences, which you can use to sift out results from sexually-oriented websites. (The filter is not related to an old adware program, also called SafeSearch, which redirected web browsers to certain sites.)

To use the SafeSearch filter with Google, for example, click the Preferences link on the main Google search page and select the level of screening you want to use with our search.

You can choose strict filtering, which blocks text and images, or moderate filtering, which just blocks images. Moderate filtering is the default in most cases. You can also use SafeSearch filtering when using the Advanced and Image search pages on Google, MSN, and Yahoo!

You can turn the filter off in the browser preferences as well. Filtering search results is an imperfect science, and depending on what you are searching for, you may block websites with information about reproductive health or political issues.

Filtering programs like ContentProtect from ContentWatch and Net Nanny can be bought and may be useful if you have children.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser also has a Content Advisor setting that can block sites with potentially offensive material. To use it, go on the Tools menu, click the Internet Options box, click on the Content tab, and adjust the settings.


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