Times are scary these days. It’s easier now than ever before to access inappropriate imagery online. Seven out of ten youth have accidentally come across pornography online. If kids can find porn online accidentally so will you. Luckily, there are some things you can do to prevent accidental viewing, and even keep kids (or guests) from actively seeking it out.
The key is to have layers of protection, not just one solution.
Net Nanny is the top rated paid software capable of filtering out unwanted websites. K9 Web Protection is the best free option. As we all know, free is nice. And when it works well, it’s even nicer. I steer all of my friends to K9. The first thing you have to do request a license before you download it. They will send you a license key in your email. The installer will ask you for this license key. Once it’s installed, you can then select the different categories you wish to filter. You log in by opening you browser and putting in the address bar 127.0.0.1:2372.
Click Setup and you will be prompted to enter a password that you chose during the install.
You will then be able to choose the categories you want to block. Below is an example of what I have blocked.
Installing on your computer is great and all, but what do you do when you have guests or devices that aren’t under your control? You need a way to protect all devices under your network. I suggest OpenDNS for this purpose. You will need to open a new account with them. Once you have an account, you will have to set up your router to give out specific DNS addresses that point to the OpenDNS servers. I know it sounds complicated, but OpenDNS provides great instructions on how to set this up. Like K9 Web Protection, OpenDNS lets you choose categories for the kinds of sites that you don’t want to see.
There is one thing to keep in mind though. You’re network has an IP address that is provided by your internet service provider. This IP address changes.
OpenDNS works by seeing traffic coming from this IP address of yours. If it changes, OpenDNS won’t know that it needs to filter out sites for your account. What you have to do is frequently check that OpenDNS is working. I normally check this by going to a site that I deem unwanted, but won’t show something offensive. If your IP changes, you can log into your account and update your IP. It will automatically detect it, so you don’t have to worry about finding out what your IP is. OpenDNS also provides a tool that will automatically update your IP address with your account. I never liked installing this though because I try to keep running programs in the background to a minimum.
Some home routers can also filter sites, but the configuration is not very robust. Usually they only allow blocking on a site by site basis.
Modern internet browsers like Firefox and Chrome support plugins or add-ons. They also call them extensions. We all have seen ads that may have shown maybe a little too much skin. Luckily, there are extensions that work very well at blocking ads. For both Firefox and Chrome, I suggest AdBlock Plus. Internet Explorer also has this add-on, but I’ve always pushed people away from using Internet Explorer. It is less secure, and doesn’t perform as well as the others. Stick with Firefox or Chrome.
I hope this has helped you in your quest for securing your family from some of the evils of the world. These solutions aren’t foolproof, but with the layers of protection you will be better protected than by only using one solution. Another thought would be to keep all devices in a high traffic area of the home. This alone will prevent the temptation for kids or others to view pornography.
Natali Here: We have never used Net Nanny but I have heard very good things about it. The K9 and Open DNS have always protected us (so far) so I haven’t had a use for it. I have stored it in the back of my head, just in case we need it down the road. There is a learning curve with K9. I have had friends complain that it “barks” too much at them, meaning that it is blocking a lot of innocent things. We allowed those sites permanently during this process so we rarely get blocked or stopped in our regular viewing. I think it is very important to have several layers of protection, like Kevin mentioned. I really love that my Open DNS will keep my house safe. When visitors come over with their devices, I don’t have to worry as much. If they are accessing my network, they can’t view it. All of these filters are great, but you can take even more precaution by being smart. Keep your computers and devices in high traffic areas. Password protect all devices and DON’T give the passwords to your kids. As annoying as it is, just put it in for them, and then be close to know what they are doing. You can lock down your network during certain times so no one can access the internet, after say 11 at night or after school before the parents come home from work. (You can set it to whatever you need.)( If you are interested, Kevin can give a tutorial on that.) Teach your kids about the dangers of Pornography. Teach them what to do WHEN they see it. (not if, they will see it).
I have seen a few comments where people profess their love for Porn and don’t understand why it is such a big deal. I could go into more detail, but there is a lot of research that shows how harmful it is to your brain and your ability to love and your addiction to get more. Porn 100% fuels sex slavery, trafficking, and child trafficking. This isn’t just a rare thing, but an epidemic is happening. Over 2 million children are being trafficked as sex slaves, and that’s just children. Many women in the videos are drugged and forced into this. If you view it, you fuel it! If you struggle with an addiction, get help.
Please email if you need any help setting up the filters or have any questions about them.