A lot of people ask me this and unfortunately it’s one of those hard things to just tell someone how to do verbally. A lot of parents want to filter the internet for their kids, something that I don’t blame them for. I will post a few really hard to bypass methods, but this one is tough enough to get around that your average middle schooler probably won’t have enough skill or knowledge to bypass. It is also super easy to implement.
This is the DNS blocking method of parental control. The great thing about it is that you don’t need any special software on your kid’s computer. This is filtered past the router level and for the most part works very well.
The quick and dirty method of blocking adult content is by using OpenDNS’s preconfigured FamilyShield Method. I would also like to point out that a nice side effect of this method is your internet will be a bit faster as far as finding websites are concerned. A drawback is you might see just a touch more advertising when you make a typo on a web address.
Use Open DNS FamilyShield
Step 1 – Log into your router. You can check my “Setup Home Wi-Fi” article for how to child proof your router. Added benefit, this will keep people on the street out of your home internet service too.
Step 2 – Go to the section where you set up your DHCP server, most of the time this is under network settings. On Cisco/Linksys routers (which I recommend) this actually on the first screen you see (basic setup). Look at the DNS servers. Usually this will have your router address under the fist entry. Change the DNS settings here to:
DNS 1: 126.96.36.199
DNS 2: 188.8.131.52
Step 3 – Once these changes are committed (make sure your router address is not in the DHCP server DNS list), reboot everything in your house so they get the new DNS settings.
This is all you should have to do, you may need to reboot things a few times before it takes effect. If you’ve got some weird brand of router this will still work, but you’ll want to go to opendns.com and check out their instructions, they’ve got a pretty comprehensive router database.
Note: If you have AT&T DSL, their tech support people can probably walk you through this. Just tell them you’d like to change your DNS servers to OpenDNS so you can filter the internet for your kids. Just give them the numbers above and they will likely walk you through all this if you have one of their 2WIRE modems.
Now a lot of IT professionals will tell you this is fairly easy to bypass. If you’ve got a kid who’s really good with computers, they might figure out how to bypass it. If you are a parent, e-mail me and I can tell you how to bypass this on your own devices.
I have a somewhat more advanced, more difficult to bypass method involving a Cisco/Linksys router and DD-WRT that I’ll be publishing soon. It’s cheaper than what I consider the BEST method, but definitely not free (unless you’ve already got the router, don’t mind messing with it and don’t mind paying roughly $5 more a month for internet).
Quite frankly this is not the best option but it’s free, and for most families it’s good enough. If you want to know how to do this right and make it tough for your children to get around even if they know that one kid who knows everything about computers, check back here for an article on one of the best pieces of hardware a parent can buy.
If you found this information useful please comment (I LOVE novel length comments!), Facebook about the blog, tweet the article (check out the buttons below) or send me a note on the contact form up above. Also check out that Amazon ad below, there’s usually something good in the rotation.