Kids and internet access – Part 2: Content filtering

As the internet becomes an increasingly integral part of our daily lives, it’s essential to acknowledge that its content is largely tailored to an adult audience. However, children also engage with the online world for entertainment, play, socializing, and education. This article will explore some of the most effective and free tools that can assist parents in providing their children with a safe, age-appropriate online experience.

Changing router DNS

One of the easiest ways to filter content within your home is to change the default DNS settings on your router. You can use OpenDNS or Cloudflare DNS. Both offer free and secure DNS service that replaces your Internet Service Provider’s default DNS, allowing you to filter and block access to inappropriate content for your children connected devices. OpenDNS, which uses customizable filters to block access to specific websites and content categories.

Setup default DNS to OpenDNS

All you need to changing router default DNS IP to OpenDNS IP to secure your house

By leveraging the technology of CISCO umbrella, OpenDNS provides powerful content filtering for all devices connected to a home network. Simply changing the default router IP address to the OpenDNS IP address can help protect all devices on the network. Additionally, this setting can be manually added to each child’s device for increased protection and control.

OpenDNS FamilyShield nameservers are:

Adding OpenDNS to an iPhone

Routers that provides content filtering

Certain high-quality routers come with built-in content filtering capabilities, which are not available on routers provided by internet service providers. By default, these features are disabled and require customers to activate them. These routers use engines similar to those used by OpenDNS or CloudFlare to filter content. Some router provides advanced features may require additional subscription services to be activated.

Ubiquiti router content filtering options

Content filtering options are available on some of the popular WiFi routers, such as Google mesh, which provides this service under the family WiFi network; it uses Google safe search for content filtering. This option is free for all Google mesh users. However, for Amazon EERO mesh routers, a subscription service is required to activate content filtering. In short, some dedicated routers provide content filtering services for free or as part of a subscription. It’s important to check if your router provides this feature.

Free parental control tools

To help manage children’s online activities, most operating systems come with free parental control tools that enable you to set up filters to block specific apps or websites. These tools also include safe search modes for popular search engines, such as Google and Bing. However, it’s essential to remember that these tools may not be entirely effective, and they may sometimes block legitimate content. Therefore, it’s necessary to regularly review the blocked content and make necessary adjustments.

Google’s Family Link for Android and Chromecast devices, Apple’s Screen Time for iOS devices, and Microsoft Family Safety for Windows 10, Xbox, and Android devices are examples of free parental control tools that filter and block inappropriate web content.

Most parental control tools for managing your kids’ online activities require you to set up accounts for them with services such as Apple, Microsoft and Google. This involves some of your children’s data ending up in the hands of the companies providing the management services. This is an important consideration when creating accounts for younger family members.

iOS screen time allows basic content filtering options
Microsoft Family Safety app content filtering options
Android Family link content resctriction setup

In conclusion, implementing content filtering can help delay the negative impact of the internet on children. I have discussed several simple options, including free parental control tools and routers with built-in content filtering. While setting up these tools may take some effort, it provides peace of mind knowing that children are protected from inappropriate content online. It’s important to remember that no solution is perfect, and it’s always a good idea to periodically review and adjust the settings to ensure the best protection for our children.