Restrict Your Child’s Internet Access at Home

Log onto www.OpenDNS.com and sign up for an account.

Once you have signed up for an account with OpenDNS, you will be able to setup your router to direct traffic towards OpenDNS.

Open DNS Dashboard



Before we configure your router, let’s talk about what DNS is… DNS or Domain Name System is simply the translator that allows you to type www.google.com into your browser and then your computer is able to find where to go to fine Google.

You see, computer do not talk to each other and say, “How do I get to Google?” … “Um, you go North on 45 and once in Dallas, tnetwork administrator.ake I-20 West to the Main St. Exit, ….”

When computers address each other, they communicate using IP addresses. For example, an IP address for Google is 74.125.227.115 – How would you like to remember that?

So when you type www.google.com into your browser, your computer has no idea what that means, it asks the translator (DNS) to cross-reference Google.com with an IP address, in this case 74.125.227.115.

At the end of the day, this is no different than when you want to call someone on your cellphone, you don’t dial their name, you dial their phone number; if you don’t remember their number, you look up their name in your phone and your phone has the number programmed for that person. If you can think of it like that, then we are on the right track.

Configuring your Router

It really won’t matter what kind of router you use, as long as you have access to change settings. I recommend using your router’s backup feature to save a current configuration of your router in case you booger something up, at least you will have a way to revert back to where you started.

(If you are not familiar with configuring your router yourself, then you may need to ask for help).

If there is a Backup/Restore function on your router, click Backup and download the configuration file and save it in a folder on your computer for safe keeping.

After you have made a backup of your router settings, you will need to go to the Setup page and look for the DNS settings. More than likely, you are getting DNS from your service provider automatically. We want to update your DNS settings to reflect the following – DNS1 = the address of your router, DNS 2 = 208.67.222.222 and DNS 3 = 208.67.220.220

The Reason that we want to make DNS 1 the same as out router is because, at least on my network, I want one computer at home to be able to find another computer at home for file sharing, streaming media, etc… I recommend this for you as well. Save this configuration and then click Apply.

Your router may reboot, it depends on what kind of router you are using.

Reboot your computer and if running Windows, run the following commands:

Start–> Run–> CMD (press Enter)

you should see a black screen with a flashing cursor.

Now, you want to type “ipconfig /all”

IPCONFIG

 

It should list all of your network settings on your computer. You want to make sure that the OPENDNS servers 208.67.220.220 and 208.67.222.222 show up as your DNS servers. In the case above, the DNS addresses are not correct and a DNS flush will need to be performed. Flushing your computer’s DNS cache by running this command: “ipconfig /flushdns” (press Enter)

Then, run “ipconfig /all” again to see if the OpenDNS servers show up.  

Once you have verified that OpenDNS is where you are getting your DNS service from, you can log into www.opendns.com and configure what content you want to block.

Make sure to enable Stats and Logs in your OpenDNS dashboard so you will keep a history of the internet traffic.

OpenDNS will now give you the ability to control what websites your children visit. It is really as simple as taking a phonebook of telephone numbers and ripping out the pages that contain the phone numbers to places that push pornography, host viruses, provide anonymizing services, social networking, etc…

I want to be clear that Open DNS is great tool to use at home, but it is not 100% effective. For most kids, it will stop their attempts to view sites that you do not want them visiting. There are some workarounds that will allow someone to circumvent your attempts, but I prefer to only discuss those scenarios with parents; I do not want to contribute to the wealth of knowledge available online to kids on how to get around these kinds of things.

Instead of loading a logo on the page that comes up when blocking a site, I have a close up of my eyes with the words, “I am watching you” and a message pops up reminding you that Dad has blocked you for accessing this site.

If my child needs access to something that I have blocked, all he needs to do is tell me what site it is and why he needs access. Then, I have a chance to investigate the site and decide for myself.

If I determine that I will open access to that site, I can do so by simply adding it to the List of allowed sites. This way, all of the other sites in that category are still blocked.

Test your blocking abilities by trying to go to restricted sites. If you are able to get to sites that you should be blocking, please review this tutorial step by step to make sure that you have not missed something.

If you have questions concerning this tutorial, please contact me and make suggestion or ask questions. I will be happy to add or edit this tutorial as needed.