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Censorware is a category of software products that control or filter Web content. Some of these tools can be called Web filtering systems or secured gateways. Blocking or filtering software helps users restrict the kinds of content that can be accessed over an Internet connection.
As the Internet came of age over the last couple of decades, censorware became popular with parents, school administrators and other categories of users who needed ways to limit the kinds of content that end users, especially younger users, could access. To many, the Internet has always been seen as a widely unregulated medium of communication that can benefit from certain restrictive filters or resources for limiting or targeting different kinds of access and use. The idea of "nanny" programs for children was especially popular as those who were not used to such a broad proliferation of unsolicited material were at times bombarded by pop-ups and other content before better search engine and Web surfing technologies shut down these intrusive forms of advertising.
Although censorware can be very useful for parents, guardians or others like library administrators, some criticize different kinds of censorware for being inconsistent or too broadly applied. Less accurate censorware programs can you have negative effects on Web access by blocking relatively innocent pages just because of specific words or phrases.