Techlicious: How to Block Internet Porn

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By Suzanne Kantra for Techlicious

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For decades, porn has been a big driver of technological adoption. It helped usher in the era of VCRs, pay-per-view movies, and even the Internet itself. And now you can even access pornography through your smartphone or gaming system. While I believe adults can make their own choices about what they choose to watch, that’s not a decision I leave up to my children.

Yet blocking porn on all the myriad devices my kids have access to is no easy task. But there are tools I can use to at least make it less likely they will accidentally stumble onto inappropriate content, and let me monitor what sites they are going to and what they are searching for – and let’s face it, knowing your mother is watching you is probably a big deterrent for any child.

So, here is my advice for how to protect your kids. Some of these solutions will be more successful than others. Technically adept kids (are there any other kind?) will easily find workarounds to whatever barriers I put in place. At the end of the day, keeping an eye on your children and having open conversations about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate in your family still goes a long way – actual parenting hasn’t gone out of style.

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One thought on “Techlicious: How to Block Internet Porn

  1. For the PCs in my care for which rigorous site protection is desired, I change the DNS to OpenDNS (and install the Web Of Trust).

    To preclude youngsters (or grandpa) from accessing untoward sites, either accidentally or purposefully, an easy option for blocking virtually all such sites is OpenDNS.

    There is nothing to download or install; keeping it simple, merely go to opendns.com/start in any Internet browser, choose the “Computer” option and follow the instructions on the screen. Once your computer is configured with OpenDNS, go to Dashboard -> Settings and set the Filtering level to either Moderate or High. Since this is password-protected, the computer user will be hard pressed to circumvent it.

    Should the user attempt to reach an inappropriate site (or mistakenly types a URL of some adult site in the browser, whitehouse.com instead of whitehouse.gov, for example) or clicks a link that may redirect to an inappropriate site, the OpenDNS filters will prevent the underlying web page from be displayed. Period. Setting the DNS in a router (which can all be password protected, makes it exceedingly difficult for most users to override.

    For the general trustworthiness of a site, Web of Trust is a simple filter that analyzes web page links in the background and adds colored icons next to them so that the user knows whether visiting the underlying site is safe or not (rudimentary blocking is also possible).

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