Categories: Parenting

3 Set-And-Forget Internet Parental Controls to Help Protect Your Kids

Let’s face it, our kids are often way ahead of us in the technology department. They can run circles around us when it comes to using the Internet, and as they get older and more curious, we as parents, wonder how on earth we are going to protect them from the amazing amount of horrible content that they can stumble upon while browsing the Internet.

Parental Controls are an illusion for the most part, nothing is going to work all of the time. Something bad is always going to slip past the filters, or our children are going to figure out ways around the roadblocks we put up. Many of them don’t see our parental controls as roadblocks at all, they are more akin to speed bumps. Kids these days probably see a parental control as a challenge that they will gladly accept to prove that they can hack their way around our safeguards (much as we did when we would attempt to sneak out of the house at night when we were kids).

What’s a Parent to Do?

As a parent, you do your best to keep your kids safe, but relying on one product to prevent all bad things from reaching your child is unrealistic. You need a multifaceted approach to parental controls. In fact, don’t even call them parental controls, consider them “content limiters”.

If you’re like most parents, you have a busy schedule and can’t devote a lot of time to trying to maintain content filtering software or block every bad site on your router. You need some easy, set-it-and-forget-it solution. Let’s look at three sets and forget content limiting changes you can make that will help secure not only your child’s computer, but their mobile devices, game systems, etc.   

1. Point Your Router (or Any Computers or Mobile devices your children use) to a “Family Friendly” DNS Server

Whenever you visit any site on the internet by name, behind the scenes your computer goes out and looks up the name to match it with an IP address so that it can connect to the server.

The reason: no one wants to have to remember an IP address when they can just type in the website name (i.e. about.com). The server that handles this task is called a DNS resolver.

Your home router is probably automatically configured to point to an ISP provided DNS server. This again happens behind the scenes. If you’re just pointing to your ISP-provided DNS server then they are likely not filtering out anything and you and your child have full unrestricted access to the Internet.

There are what are called “Public DNS” resolver servers that you can use instead of the one given to you by your ISP. Some Public DNS servers provide for automatic content filtering and will screen out porn sites as well as sites that are known to be scam-related or malware infested. It doesn’t mean that they will catch everything, but if you choose a “Family Friendly” resolver such as OpenDNS’s free FamilyShield, the server will screen out a lot of porn, adult-related sites, and malware-laden sites automatically for you.

Again, it doesn’t prevent your child from finding the IP address of a bad site and going directly to that site via IP, but it does make it harder for them to just type in a site or click on a link in a search engine and end up on the wrong side of the content tracks.

2. Turn on Your Router’s Time-based Internet Access Restrictions

You can’t monitor your kids activities all the time, especially when you’re asleep. Most home Internet routers / wireless access points feature the ability to restrict access to the Internet between certain hours. Consider only allowing access to the Internet during the daytime and early evening hours.

Check your router manufacturer’s help manual to see if this feature is offered and for instructions on how to enable it (if available).

3. Turn on Your Search Engine’s Safe Search and Lock it

Another way to screen out the junk on the Internet is to turn on your favorite search engine’s “Safe Search” filtering feature. Google, Bing, and Several other search engines offer the ability to filter out explicit content from the results returned in searches. Again, it doesn’t work perfectly all the time, but it is better than nothing. Most search engines also allow you to lock the setting in the browser so that your kids can’t just shut it off (without jumping through a couple of hoops at least).About the author: Christopher D Childs works as a review writer for Resume Writer Review. It gives him an opportunity to improve his critical and creative thinking skills. Moreover, he keeps up with modern tendencies of employee engagement, motivation and management.

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