Researchers Find That Filters Don’t Prevent Porn

According to a new paper from Oxford Internet Institute researchers Victoria Nash and Andrew Przybylski, internet filters rarely work to keep adolescents away from online porn. Basically, the filters are expensive and they don’t work. “Internet filtering tools are expensive to develop and maintain, and can easily ‘underblock’ due to the constant development of new ways of sharing content. Additionally, there are concerns about human rights violations — filtering can lead to ‘overblocking’, where young people are not able to access legitimate health and relationship information.” TechCrunch reports: The researchers “found that Internet filtering tools are ineffective and in most cases [and] were an insignificant factor in whether young people had seen explicit sexual content.” The study’s most interesting finding was that between 17 and 77 households “would need to use Internet filtering tools in order to prevent a single young person from accessing sexual content” and even then a filter “showed no statistically or practically significant protective effects.” The study looked at 9,352 male and 9,357 female subjects from the EU and the UK and found that almost 50 percent of the subjects had some sort of Internet filter at home. Regardless of the filters installed, subjects still saw approximately the same amount of porn.

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