We all agree that everything can be found on the web, I keep meeting parents of young and older kids with the same stories about their kids accessing websites that were not appropriate for their age. The most interesting part of the story is when the parents find out by accident that one of their kids we surfing the web and found something not appropriate. The unknown part is how many times, parents didn’t find out when the kids in the house accessed a few website, that were not that appropriate for their kids.
As my kids are getting older and they learn more everyday of how to access the internet, I grow as well more concerned on avoiding the kids individual curiosity and get them exposed to things that we all prefer having the opportunity to be the one to explain to them.
There are many things that parents do and believe will be enough; they talk to their kids to give them a few rules, they locate the kids computer in the living room, they add a parental control on the Windows or Mac machines. If you have tried the later, setting up each computer with a block software, even the one that comes with Windows 7, can be a painful experience to maintain. Now when in a house there are plenty Windows, Macs, portable computers, iPads, iPhones and other devices capable to access the web, the problem is the maintenance and support of each different software, and you cannot chain all computers in one location, or expect to be always there when your child surfs the web.
Eventually becomes a nightmare for the parent to keep blocking or unblocking websites or ports for the family to use the internet. As a geek and a parent, I would like to share a solution I found that works the best for a house full of devices capable of accessing the Internet. I use a DNS solution to filter all traffic back and forth from the web.
DNS filtering also keeps a log of all websites your kids access, this way you know what are they doing in Facebook, Twitter, or any chat application they use with their friends.
What’s a DNS filtering? (Geeks can skip)
For any device in your house to access the internet, there is a router in your house, that your Internet provider gave you, or geeks like me have one, that gives you wireless Internet as well as wired Internet. When any computer access a website from a browser or another program, the request goes to a DNS server that translates the address “http://www.gooogle.com” for example to a unique number know as an IP number. Those DNS servers numbers are also provided by your Internet Provider. The DNS Filtering replaces those numbers on your router to send them to a server that filters and allows or declines the request depending on your rules. So all traffic from your house will go over the rules you set up. The numbers for those DNS servers are stored in that router.
(Geeks can come back to read here)
The solution that seems to work better for me in a DNS filtering is called Open DNS, there are other ones that you can check out of course, yet, I’ll show you how easy is to set it up at your house this simple solution. Even people without much computer knowledge will be able to follow the simple instructions and set it up without much ado.
The solution is free or if you want more control there is a cheap solution as well. At least they provide a free solution for you to try.
Follow this simple steps:
Create an account at http://opendns.com
Then just setting up your router is easy, will walk you thru the different routers, if you are a geek, you know where the dns servers number are in your router. You need to make sure the Internet Provider gave you the password of your router.
The addresses for Open DNS are and always are the same:
Once you have change the dns numbers on your router, there is a screen on http://opendns.com that will allow you to see and register your public IP address, the number that is assign to your house (router). Then you can start setting up your filtering settings as well as seeing the traffic that is coming from your house to the internet.
Hope this guide helps some parents.
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