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November 07, 2005

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Yes! Definitely have a filter. I have one through our firewall. We have a few iMacs in our youth department. It has definitely saved us many times. A content filter is a must.

Yeah, I think you need one. The issue is the impact questionable content can have on both the person looking at it as well as the entire reputation of the church. We have implemented an ISA firewall at our facility with content filtering. I have a friend who runs a content-filtering ISP that helps me with the list. I do some consulting for him and he helps me with these things, even though I returned to the pastorate. It's a big plus, especially if youth or other groups are meeting in the building where the internet connection exists.

I agree with having a filter for people accessing the church's web access. As for the church staff, for support staff, I think yes. I am still debating for the teaching staff. I guess it depends on what type of contect you are filtering and how you filter it.
I am not saying let the teaching staff access what ever they want, but do they need it for research?
dj

I would say YES! We used the "Purple Box" at my high school and it always worked just like it was supposed! It has a lot of categories that they constantnly update on their side and send to you. The categories also have very specific subgroups. For example, instead of just blocking the Religion category, you can block the sub-categories Cults, Fetish Religions, etc. I don't know the cost though. It was called iPrism from www.stbernard.com. Might want to give it a look.

You gotta have one, public access and corporate network. If you ever put out public terminals and dont have one, just wait until one of the students thinks it funny to display some questionable content and walk away just as a joke. Gotta have'em!

Interesting question. I think you have to look at this from a couple angles. First - you have a responsibility as a leader to guide and guard your followers. The flip side is a filter, no matter how good, fails in two ways: keep everything out, and - more importantly - changing hearts.

A filter is a simple and quick answer that will keep leaders from having to do the dirty work of a person's spiritual development. It's also a great way to circumvent the need for accountability.

Again, on the flip side of that, TC said it well - there's no telling what a student might pull up on their youth leaders computer, "just as a joke."

My thoughts? I guess you need leaders committed to teaching and training, staffers committed to accountability and - if you choose - a filter.

Ditto. A filter is necessary. It's helpful for network security as well.

Steven makes a great point that filters can't be the accountability. If someone is looking for inappropriate material, they're going to get it anywhere they can. Strict accountability is the best measure. But I think it's just good wisdom to employ the use of a filter to relieve any possibility of a problem. It could also be very useful in keeping surfers out of blogs or sites with explicit language or agendas of hate.

Filters can be problematic when they filter too much, say for a woman searching for information on breast cancer and not being able to access pertinent information about that topic. But I think filters are getting to the point where those examples are becoming the anomaly.

Thanks guys. Keep the comments coming...

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  • Jason Powell is the Information Technology Director at Granger Community Church. The views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of GCC ...
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