Online Safety

Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


In August 2007, the Australian federal government released the NetAlert filters, the result of an $84 million dollar investment to produce a downloadable software package—colloquially known as the ‘internet porn filter’—that families across the nation could instal on their devices and home computers to minimize the likelihood that children would encounter inappropriate content online. Three days later, 16-year-old high-school student, Tom Wood, famously cracked the filter, in under 30 minutes and with just ‘several clicks’, leaving the software’s icon in the toolbar to fool his parents that the filter was still operating (AAP 2007). In the media frenzy that followed, Wood characterized the software as ‘completely useless’ (ABC 2007) and ‘a horrible waste of money’ (AAP 2007). Indeed, media coverage roundly declared the filter, much to the glee of its opponents, ‘useless’ (ABC 2007) and a total failure, giving lie to ‘the Howard Government’s pre-election pledge to Australian families to protect their youngsters from exposure to inappropriate internet content’ (Nguyen 2007).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University of Western SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Deakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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