There are multiple ways to protect your family from malicious websites, adult content, social networking and video-sharing sites. Keep children safe from harmful websites by following some simple steps.

Today’s teens and kids have open access to Internet-connected devices in their homes, from computers to gaming consoles to smart phones. There are various options available for securing and filtering the content. The most popular means for filtering this content are:

  1. OpenDNS
  2. Bluecoat system’s free K9 software for windows and mac.

These services make blocking websites like YouTube and Facebook extremely easy.

OpenDNS

OpenDNS is an internet based service that makes it extremely easy to setup parental controls. For parents, OpenDNS makes it a non-trivial task to manage Web access across every single device that accesses the Internet on your home network – including smartphones, computers and even guests’ devices. OpenDNS gives the parents peace-of-mind that their kids are protected regardless of how they’re accessing the Internet.

OpenDNS allows you to do the following things:

Choose the right settings for your own needs:

OpenDNS gives complete flexibility in blocking Internet content. Once you have created an account – both free and paid options are available – you need to select the categories to block. There are categories such as “adult,” “games,” “academic fraud” and “social media.” You can block entire categories of content, or just choose to block individual websites that you know are problematic or unsafe for your family.  Or, for the easiest setup, you can choose a predetermined filtering level: low, medium or high. The low filtering level blocks just adult content, where the high filtering level blocks adult content, social networking sites, video-sharing sites and more.

Make changes once, reap its benefits

Setting up OpenDNS parental controls is extremely easy – follow these simple steps

  1. Signup for a free account at https://store.opendns.com/get/home-free (this is free).
  2. Make the following changes on your router
  3. Open the preferences for your router (example: http://192.168.0.1). This number, and the user name and password for the router is usually found on the router itself.
  4. Find the page related to DNS server settings.
  5. Please write down or back up your current settings in a safe place, and then key in the following OpenDNS addresses.
    • 208.67.222.123
    • 208.67.220.123
  6. You are done. To make changes for the filtering, login to the OpenDNS Control Panel and everything can be setup from there.

If you need instructions for a specific router, please refer, to https://store.opendns.com/setup/router/

Note: If the wired or wireless router (an example being the notorious 2Wire shipped from AT&T) does not allow changing the settings, then make changes to the DNS settings on the computer itself. Here is the resource from OpenDNS for setting it up on your computer. https://store.opendns.com/setup/computer/

Bluecoat K9

K9 Web Protection is a free Internet filter and parental control software specifically for Windows or Mac computer.  This provides control at a very micro level for parents, individually customized per computer. This provides flexibility to set rules individually fine-tuned for a teenager or elementary school student.

K9 offers the following things for filtering web content:

  • Blocking websites by category – including pornography, illegal drugs, personals/dating, and violence/hate/racism
  • Easy pre-set levels to choose from depending on the age of your children.
  • SafeSearch  can be enabled on all search engines to show cleaner search results
  • Time restrictions can be set up to block internet access during designated times
  • Custom “always allow” and “always block” lists for your personal preferences
  • Ability to override a block with the parent password
  • Tamper resistant for more geeky/nerdy kids
  • Reports showing activity on different categories of web sites
  • Real-time categorization of new web sites
  • Compatible with Windows or Mac machines

The first step to setting this up is to get the license (which is completely free) here: http://www1.k9webprotection.com/get-k9-web-protection-free
Then download the software from http://www1.k9webprotection.com/getk9/download-software, install, and set up to your liking.
These simple measures will help you filter the websites that your kids can access, keeping them safer and creating a better learning environment.

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