I didn't worry too much about filtering the web until I had kids. Suddenly the Internet looked a lot more threatening.
Over the years I tinkered with various applications and browser plugins that effectively setup 'whitelists' where you define sites that are OK and everything else is blocked. This worked fine when my kids were younger and visited a handful of sites. As they grow older though managing the whitelist became a huge hassle.
Enter OpenDNS. OpenDNS, like it's name suggests, provides DNS services. You simple configure your PC or your router to use their DNS services and all the computers on your network are protected.
They offer several services to help protect you:
- Phishing, malware/botnet protection
- Web content filtering
- URL Shortcuts (type 'mail' and go to mail.google.com/mail/)
Web content filtering is what I'm primarily concerned with. They offer pre-defined levels as well as 'custom' which lets you select from a large list of categories.
- High Protects against all adult-related sites, illegal activity, social networking sites, video sharing sites, and general time- wasters.
- Moderate Protects against all adult-related sites and illegal activity.
- Low Protects against pornography.
- None Nothing blocked.
- Custom Choose the categories you want to block.
You can also choose to always block, or not block particular domains regardless of the filtering settings.
So far OpenDNS has worked really well. While you can easily bypass this by simply supplying different DNS information to you computer I'm not worried about that just yet. And it doesn't protect against everything. You can still hit questionable content via Google Images for example, so you still need to keep an eye on what your kids are doing on the computer.
OpenDNS takes just a few moments to setup and is free (they do have some premium features you can pay for).