Sometimes you want to allow kids to have access to what the Internet has to offer, but you also want to block specific websites and content so as to avoid them seeing content they are not ready for or is inappropriate for children., It is very important that when parents allow their kids Internet access that some sort of filtering or policy is put in place to help prevent them from getting to inappropriate content. Even a typo in a search could lead to something you don’t want your kids to see and kids are much more prone to making typo’s or incomplete word searches.
Plus it isn’t just about them seeing content they shouldn’t see, there are some websites that spread viruses and can steal valuable information as well.
As mentioned some websites contain explicit content which is capable of stealing personal information using some code and it is necessary that you should be capable of avoiding them. You can control yourself but not others from using your device and surfing such websites manually. There are many articles and blogs on how to block a website with inappropriate content on your devices. Here are some examples.
Blocking Websites on Windows PC
If you want to control the accessibility of your system, then you can block websites which can work across all the browsers. See a browser plugin or extension only works for that one browser, you never know if your kid will open IE, Edge or Chrome, even if you only have 1 browser on the desktop. Below is some guidance configuring how to block a website across all browsers.
Ways of Blocking Websites at Windows OS
You are very well aware of the word DNS which is required for translating the various domain names into the IP addresses. In order to configure some information about websites, you generally check the DNS server. Your computer might have some files which are stored locally and has information about hosts.
You can use this method for the Windows Operating System (Window 7 and 8) to control the accessibility of the websites containing explicit content. You can follow some guidelines from the web on how to block a website across devices.
- You can sign as an administrator into your computer and go to path C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\
- Open the hosts file using notepad and check the last two lines which read as “# 127.0.0.1 localhost” and “#:1 localhost”
- If you are unable to edit the file, you can select properties -> Security Tab -> Administer Account -> Edit.
- A popup window will appear. Select your account and check on full control. Click on Apply and then yes.
- Click on Ok.
- Now, you can add the address of the file that you want to block. You just have to write the name of the website that you want to block by adding the line in the end with 127.0.0.1 prefixed before the name of the site. Example – “127.0.0.1 www.yahoo.com”.
- Don’t provide any quotation mark on the website name. If you have to add multiple sites for blocking, then add them one by one in each line.
- Now save the hosts file and in order to save all the changes, you have to reboot your system.
Now this method will apply to every application in the Windows OS, but it is defeated if your child knows how to lookup and undo it, so they shouldn’t have an administrator account which can edit the hosts file, that way they can’t reverse these changes. But also this can be a very difficult way of blocking sites since you would have to explicitly know which sites to block and there are just so many sites.
So if you don’t want to deal with manually blocking websites via IP and DNS routing in the hosts file (which is one trick some malware and trojans use to manipulate your DNS resolutions) you can leverage other options as well.
Open DNS Family Shield for Web Site Blocking
OpenDNS has a family friendly DNS setting that you configure either at your router when it gets the IP from your ISP or the Windows machine itself. These DNS names automatically filter out most of the content that you wouldn’t want children to see and this is a decent option. Also if you apply the Family Friendly DNS servers at the Router itself, any phones connected via Wi-Fi will also be locked down from visiting inappropriate content too, though this won’t affect a mobile phone if it is using the 3G/4G LTE data since that doesn’t go through the home Wi-Fi router. CleanBrowsing also has CIPA compliant filtering that is used by schools to make sure that school computers can only access clean and appropriate content and should be looked at as well.
Blocking Websites on Chromebook
If you just want to block websites on the Chrome Browser you can use Chrome Safe Search to block sites.
Google did remove Chrome’s Supervised User accounts feature earlier this year, so the only built-in way you can control browsing on the Chromebook is to use Safe Search. Safe Search restricts access to adult material through search but doesn’t offer the ability to block specific websites. This may be enough for your needs though, and can be combined with a family friendly DNS option.
- Open Chrome and go to google.com.
- Select Settings in the bottom right and then Search Settings.
- Check the box next to Turn on SafeSearch.
- Select the link Lock SafeSearch.
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