Protect your kids on your home network

HiTechMomSafe Kids

keep your kids safe online


Block your kids from inappropriate websites

You have kids at home. You probably also have lots of gadgets that access the internet in your home, such as computers, tablets, phones, game systems, streaming boxes, and even devices that your kid’s friends bring to your house.

How do you protect your kids from accessing inappropriate content when it’s so accessible? You could set restrictions on ALL of those devices individually, but there’s actually a really cool, free solution from a company called OpenDNS that will set restrictions on your entire wifi network. You can block a site (or a category of sites), and they will be blocked on every device that connects to the wifi in your home.

What can this service do for you?

OpenDNS filtering options (click image to zoom)

OpenDNS filtering options

Once it’s installed, you log in to your dashboard at OpenDNS.com and you can choose entire categories of websites to block, such as adult websites, chat, drugs, etc. A complete list of their categories can be found here.

You can also block specific websites in addition to, or instead of, entire categories.

I’ve used it at times to temporarily block access to distracting websites such as YouTube during times when the kids should be doing homework. Once the homework is done, I turn the access back on.

When your child encounters a blocked website, they’ll come to an OpenDNS block page that you can customize with your own messages and graphics. There is a link on the page that they can use to plead their case if they think they should have access to it. It will send you an email to let you know that they’ve requested access to it and you can make the decision to unblock it or leave it.

How do you get started?

Setup is relatively easy. You just change a setting on your wifi router. They have instructions available for most of the common wifi routers and they have a support team who can help if you get stuck. The first step is to set up a free account:
https://www.opendns.com/home-internet-security/parental-controls/opendns-home/

OpenDNS setup

Choose “Home Routers” when you get to this part

When you get to the “change your DNS” part, you’ll want to select “Home Routers.” On the next page, you can search for the type of router that you have and get setup instructions.

If you need help at any point, you can visit this page: https://support.opendns.com/home
Search their help topics or “submit a request” for support.*

This isn’t the only solution

This is a great content filtering system, but it’s not the whole solution. There are ways to get around it, which I will not talk about here because I do not want to aid and abet the enemy… I mean the children. Also remember that whatever you block from the kids will be blocked from your own devices, unless you use cellular data or you set up a way to bypass it.

However, especially for younger kids, this is one step closer to controlling what they can access on the internet and keeping them safe online. This, in addition to parental restrictions on their devices (for when they are not connected to your network), established rules, and parental monitoring will give you a more controlled environment. If you have any other suggestions to keep kids safe on the internet, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Photo credit for this article’s featured image, Lars Plougmann

*This article is for informational purposes only. You will need to contact OpenDNS for any issues that arise with their service or setup. See my disclaimer