Did you know most schools have extremely strong and robust filtering systems for their Internet? This stops kids getting to *most* of the dodgy stuff online. But there can be a problem when they come home to your house – and most families don’t have any filtering system at all, meaning that our kids can get to anything and everything they like – and even if they don’t mean to they can be exposed to nasty online content.
A filter is a piece of computer software that looks at what you are trying to access on the Internet – before you are taken to the website – and then decides if you should be allowed to see those pages. It’s not, and never will be, fool proof. There is so much information on the Internet and it’s being updated so frequently that no software program can keep up. We still need to teach our kids to be cyber-safe.
But filters can usually take away the really nasty stuff (I won’t list examples here -> you know what I’m talking about).
When a child in Prep (5 year old) Googles for pictures of “ladies” at school for her story, she would (should) be shown innocent images of women. If they Googled this at home without filters, they might get something quite different – because of course, the computer doesn’t know it’s your gorgeous, innocent 5 year old on the keyboard, and not a single man in his 50’s living in his mother’s basement…
(***Big generalisation but you know what I’m implying here, no offence intended to the genuinely, lovely men living with their mothers later in life!)
So, while we need to be careful and supervise young kids particularly – we can also set up a filter at home.
You can buy software that you install on each device at home – on your laptop, desktop, iPad.
But I’ve found that parents generally prefer to have the filtering the same for everyone in the house. So a Filter that you set up on your MODEM can be a good way to go.
Here’s what they have to say about their filter product:
Today’s families have an array of Internet-connected devices in their homes, from computers to gaming consoles to smart phones. OpenDNS is the only Internet parental controls solution that empowers parents to manage Web access across every device that accesses the Internet on your home network. This includes phones and computers that your kids’ friends bring into the house, giving parents peace-of-mind that their kids are protected regardless of how they’re accessing the Internet.
It’s quite straight-forward to set up and once you’ve done it the first time, the settings are easy to adjust – good for as your kids get older and you want to give them more access.
It’s really, really easy to set up – just register for an account when you’re on your home network and then follow the instructions in the email you’ll receive
Next, add a network (it does the tech stuff for you – it’s just one click, and this is why you need to be on your home Internet when you do this) and then choose what your family has access to – remember this will impact on ANYONE who uses your Internet, including you!
You can choose to block certain categories of websites, like “adult,” “games,” “academic fraud” or “social media” or there are levels within those categories of low, medium or high filtering. You can also choose to block certain websites only…
Finally, it quickly and easily lets you see which websites are being accessed in your household. By signing up for statistics, you’ll be able to see when and what the family are looking at online – on every device. This is handy for checking no one is on Facebook at 2am – and if they are, having a bit of a chat about switching off at night!
While I certainly don’t advocate stalking your kids through these statistics reports, it can be handy to occasionally check your OpenDNS account and see what’s going on at home, especially as our younger kids learn to manage their online world :0)
Do you use any filtering at home? Care to share any stories with inappropriate content and how you managed it – leave us a comment below.
***By the way, I’m not being paid by OpenDNS or any other filtering company – I just love their product! See my disclaimer for more info***
PS If you liked this post, you might enjoy keeping up with the blog through our weekly newsletter. Receive all our posts delivered right to your inbox! Sign up here!