Content-control software, commonly referred to as an Internet filter, is
Such restrictions can be applied at various levels: a government can attempt to apply them nationwide (see
The motive is often to prevent access to content which the computer's owner(s) or other authorities may consider objectionable. When imposed without the consent of the user, content control can be characterised as a form of internet censorship. Some content-control software includes time control functions that empowers parents to set the amount of time that child may spend accessing the Internet or playing games or other computer activities.
In some countries, such software is ubiquitous.
The term "content control" is used on occasion by
Companies that make products that selectively block Web sites do not refer to these products as censorware, and prefer terms such as "Internet filter" or "URL Filter"; in the specialized case of software specifically designed to allow parents to monitor and restrict the access of their children, "parental control software" is also used. Some products log all sites that a user accesses and rates them based on content type for reporting to an "accountability partner" of the person's choosing, and the term
Those critical of such software, however, use the term "censorware" freely: consider the Censorware Project, for example. The use of the term "censorware" in editorials criticizing makers of such software is widespread and covers many different varieties and applications:
In general, outside of editorial pages as described above, traditional newspapers do not use the term "censorware" in their reporting, preferring instead to use less overtly controversial terms such as "content filter", "content control", or "web filtering"; The New York Times and the