With nearly every household electronic device connecting to the Web these days – including cell phones, iPods, video games, TV add-ons like Roku, and even TVs themselves – there may be times when you find it useful to filter the “adult content” from all the web content that comes into your home, for all of your computers and devices.
What we’re talking about is not an individual filter on each PC, but a single, fairly easy to set up filter for your entire network. And it’s free.
Before going further, let me point out that,
Nothing is foolproof
The solution described here is good and trustworthy, but it can only work within the network that you set up at your house. If a smart phone uses your wired or WiFi network at home, then it will be filtered; but as soon as it goes out onto your carrier’s data network, your home filter will not apply.
Likewise, if a tablet or a laptop connects to a network outside of your house, including a neighbor’s unlocked WiFi network, your home filter will have no affect.
Supervision isn’t always possible, of course, so for portable devices, you might also want to look into the Parental Controls that might come with the device or that may be provided by your data carrier.
Web Filtering at home
There are a few ways to get network-wide filtering at home, including options to block single specific Web addresses. But a single address is obviously limited and just won’t work to block the constantly changing mass of adult content sites.
Instead, we’re going to use a free public service called OpenDNS “FamilyShield” to help ensure that all adult content is blocked.
How OpenDNS FamilyShield works
Whenever you enter a named address in your Web browser – like “www.PawlingComputerGuy.com” – your computer has to ask the internet for the actual numeric address that corresponds to the name.
Translating internet domain names to addresses is crucial to the working of the internet, and the system that does it is called “DNS”; short for “Domain Name System”.
Special “DNS Servers,” scattered all over the internet, perform the actual translation. Your home router probably acts as a DNS server for your home network, and it refers to at least two more DNS servers that your internet connection service provides.
What we are going to do is set your home router to not use the normal unrestricted DNS servers, but set it to use the filtered FamilyShield DNS servers instead. From that point on, every request for an internet address translation will be handled by the OpenDNS FamilyShield servers.
When FamilyShield servers receive a request for the address of an adult content site, it simply sends back a polite message that this address is unavailable. For any other type of site, the correct, unfiltered address is sent back to the user.
By the way, there are other options in the FamilyShield servers, so that other types of sites may be filtered, such as for gambling or gaming sites.
Making it happen
It’s not too difficult to change your router’s DNS server settings, but each make and model of router is a little different.
If you know how to set and save your routers DNS options, then the two DNS server addresses for FamilyShield adult content filters are:
22.214.171.124, and 126.96.36.199
Don’t forget to “Save” the settings.
If you’re not sure how to change your router’s settings, there’s a good chance that you can find the correct instructions at this web address:
And, of course, if I can help, please don’t hesitate to call. Mike Pepper ~ Computer Guy. 845-855-5824.