General Question

rowenaz's avatar

What is the best way to block websites from younger children?

Asked by rowenaz (2426 points ) March 15th, 2010

I need to find a way to block free chat, forums, Facebook, etc. along with the usual websites that children accidentally go to. These days, is it better to use a specific program, or go through parental controls in the settings area to accomplish this? Thanks for your help.

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28 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Perhaps you should consider blocking the children from the websites.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Filtering software does not work very well. They always find a way around it. Here’s the thing, you don’t let the kid have a computer in his room. And never a laptop. If he has to use a computer for school, set it up in the kitchen or dining room, someplace where you can keep an eye on it. Never let your child put a door between you and the computer!

Learn how to set up a restricted account and put passwords on all the accounts.

dpworkin's avatar

Thanks, @IchtheosaurusRex, GA. That’s exactly what I was trying to say, but you managed to communicate.

AshlynM's avatar

http://www.labnol.org/software/browsers/block-websites-from-kids-home-computer/1602/

You can try the above site…it provides some helpful tips. Also, if u download software to block websites from coming through, be aware that there’s always the possibility of downloading any viruses.

You can also try going to control panel on your computer and clicking on set up parental controls for any user. Make sure to use a password your children will not be able to guess easily.

If the computer is in the family room, put it so you can see the screen at all times and let them know not to move it for any reason.

jfos's avatar

Speaking as a former kid, who has been using the internet for about 10 years, I would suggest that you avoid trying to “block” children from using the internet.

Maybe you aren’t talking about your children, in which my argument would not apply. But if you are talking about your children, then I’ll continue:

Trying to prevent a child from accessing certain websites will certainly create a desire for the child to see the blocked websites. There are ways of getting around parental controls, filters, etc. Children aren’t stupid, and I’m sure they can figure it out. I think it would be more beneficial to talk to the child. That is, if it’s porn/nudity you want to block, talk to the child about sex. If it’s social websites you want to block, talk to the child about safe information to release, and warn him/her about potential stalkers, etc.

janbb's avatar

We alwys had just one computer in the den while the kids were growing up and I never felt the need to oversee it beyond that. (Of course, they’ve now both become sex-offenders and are on neighborhood watch lists.~)

Snarp's avatar

This partly depends on the age of the kids. I think filters are perfectly reasonable to keep kids from stumbling on something even they don’t want to see. I also imagine that in most cases filters work at blocking most of the most objectionable content. Most kids aren’t hackers, and they’re not going to get around it. High school students are another matter entirely. At that point you really have to stop censoring their input. I also agree with the notion of not allowing a computer in the kid’s room. For me that goes for TV and video games as well. You want to watch a movie? You can sit right out here in the living room and watch it, and if it’s too embarrassing to watch it in public, you don’t need to be watching it.

janbb's avatar

@Snarp As a humorous addendum to that, my son was in his twenties and about to watch Rescue Me in the den. He suggested I might want to leave the room because I would find it too uncomfortable to watch!

jfos's avatar

I could be wrong, as I’ve never been a parent, but I don’t think it’s necessary to over-police your child’s media intake. I think that it is beneficial for children to get an array of mental input, other than ONLY Mommy’s opinion of politics, or Daddy’s racial morality, or Grandpa’s vocabulary.

janbb's avatar

@jfos That’s very true and I neer felt the need to censor my kid’s reading or viewing but I do think you want to shield young children from the really kinky visual and written stuff that is available on the web somehow. Certainly, setting up an atmosphere where discussion of any topic is encouraged is primary but kids won’t always come and talk to you.

Snarp's avatar

@jfos As I said, it’s all about age. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to keep what your kids are exposed to age appropriate. I don’t want my three year old watching graphic violence, and I wouldn’t want a nine year old to stumble on gang bangs and people fellating donkeys, but there’s a far cry between that and allowing them to be exposed to various political viewpoints. But really, I think that there’s an age for that too, though I don’t know what it is yet. I really don’t want people talking to my 3 year old about religion, mainly because believers state the existence of things like gods, heaven, hell, and angels as fact, and a three year old isn’t really capable of the level of intellectual complexity required to explain these things to them.

fireside's avatar

Our 13 year old was going crazy with texting and when we took his phone away, he started using facebook and when we changed that password, he found another site to use.

The built in Microsoft Parental Controls worked really well for letting us know what sites he was using and allowing us to block them.

I think you have to give the kids a certain amount of freedom and then review with them. Him recognizing how overboard he was going with trying to work around the rules was more valuable than anything we could have done. Once we called him out on the rule breaking, he saw how sneaky he had been.

Snarp's avatar

Thirteen year olds have cell phones now? When I was a kid you begged for a phone in your own room at sixteen and were lucky if you got it. Lordy, what I’ve got to look forward to. “No son, I don’t care if everyone else has one, you are not getting a com chip embedded in your skull!”

fireside's avatar

@Snarp – yeah, we want him to be able to get in touch with us because he has track practice after school and they don’t end at a consistent time. But it went from an emergency use phone to something that was way out of control.

Ultimately, it is a good way to help him learn self-control and responsibility.

Snarp's avatar

@fireside I know, I imagine having something to get in touch in emergencies and what not is extremely valuable. I just don’t even begin to know how I’m going to handle that one yet.

CMaz's avatar

Don’t let them get on the web.

And/or only let them use the computer when you are near.

rowenaz's avatar

Laptop IS in the living room, and somehow child is still going to sites that we have specifically stated are restricted. Child is disobeying and dishonest, hence the question, and being under age 11, is not that savvy. We’ve talked about internet safety, but it hasn’t gotten through. Which is why I asked.

janbb's avatar

Oy – that makes it harder.

jaytkay's avatar

Expanding on my previous answer, Dyndns.com gives a free service. Even without kids around, I recommend it for protection against viruses and phishing. It has three basic settings, which can be customized right down to blocking or allowing specific web sites.
Block Viruses, Fraudulent Activity and Phishing (Low)
Block Sites Unsuited for a Work Environment (Medium)
Block Sites Unsuited for a Home Environment with Children (High)

OpenDNS.com offers a nearly identical service.
Here are a couple of screenshots giving an idea of the settings, and a link to an article about setting up OpenDNS.
http://blogs.howtogeek.com/mysticgeek/files/2008/08/basicfiltering.png
http://blogs.howtogeek.com/mysticgeek/files/2008/08/customize.png
http://blogs.howtogeek.com/mysticgeek/2008/08/07/protect-your-kids-online-with-any-os-using-open-dns/

Trillian's avatar

If you need a good reason why kids should not have a computer in their room, look no farther. Imagein the parent’s reaction when they first saw this.
You never know what they’re up to in there, but “up to no good” is usually the answer.

CMaz's avatar

The internet is not for children.

The internet is just a doodie, shaped like a cake, covered in frosting, with a few candles in it.

Now take a big bite.

YARNLADY's avatar

@rowenaz I don’t get it, no one can get on my laptop without the sign in code. It’s one very simple way to make sure no one goes on my computer unless I specifically allow them to. Hubby has the access to his computers password protected as well.

I doubt anyone would be able to ‘sneak’ on a site without me knowing about it, since they have to have me open the access to the internet.

Jeremycw1's avatar

oh no, the internet is such a dangerous and scary place (sarcasm) even if you block it on your computer, they’ll find ways. trust me, i know

superjuicebox's avatar

You can go to www.learnthenplay.com and download the free software from there. It can also do way more than just block websites !

superjuicebox's avatar

- and there is no way to beat it. I read on the site that university graduates of computer science couldn’t break through it.

AshlynM's avatar

If the laptop is in the living room, you can password protect it so your child cannot get on. Put a passowrd on it at the boot up screen and tell him he can only get on if you type it in.

Tell him any time he’s not using it, the laptop will be password protected and the only way for him to get on is for you to manually type it in.

You just need to restrict his internt usage. Even if you do block websites, he may find ways around it. Set a time limit. Like he can only use it for a couple of hours or only on certain days.

superjuicebox's avatar

@AshlynM Learn then Play would eliminate the need for you to do this. You can make the child their own account and blacklist any websites you don’t want them specifically one + Its heuristic content engine will scan every single page they go on to ensure there is no offensive content. You can also watch what they are doing from anywhere you are, you can shut them off of the computer from anywhere, and much much more. LtP would eliminate the need for you to have to tirelessly log them onto the computer. It also makes sure they can only go on during specific times in the day ( i.e. you can make it so they can only log into the computer from 9am – 6pm etc.). Windows itself has this function but the window’s parental controls are extremely easy to break. LtP cannot be broken. Check out LtP I think its the best solution for children on the PC.

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