The content of free speech over distributed networks, such as the Internet, is often inappropriate for minors as well as offensive to some adults. The invention comprises an advisory server operated by, for example, a third party watchdog group, which rates the content of data downloaded from a content server to a client in order to block or censor unwanted material. In operation, each time data (e.g., a web page) is downloaded from a content server to the client, prior to display, the client sends a request signal to the advisory server asking that it advise the client on the content of the web page. The advisory server rates the page and sends a classification rating back to the client. The client thereafter displays or does not display the web page according to the classification rating based on the client's selected preferences. The advisory server may also assign a rating to any links contained on the web page or may also be asked by the client to block any pages which require a fee. In this manner parents are effectively empowered control the content of data disseminated in their homes.