The invention of the Internet has been one of the most important moments of the 20th century, enabling communication and access to information throughout the world. With a connection to the Internet, people around the world can now read articles on every topic imaginable, share their ideas and pictures with other, and keep in touch with their friends and relatives through video or voice chat.
However, as with most technological innovations, the benefits of the Internet also came with a darker side. Various criminal and illegal activity, morally and ethically reprehensible content, and other negative factors can easily be accessed on the Internet, both intentionally and accidentally.
Parents around the world are now conflicted on how to allow their family to access the positive parts of the Internet without accidentally or intentionally stumbling into the darker parts of the Internet. Various security applications have been available throughout the years which claim to block illegal, inappropriate, or questionable content. Some of these solutions have been better than others, and all of them have contended with creative youngsters that attempt to tamper with their setting in order to bypass the protection that they provide.
Two free tools that have been especially effective in protecting the family computers of millions of households include K9 Web Protection and OpenDNS. These two solutions take different approaches at providing an Internet security and web content filtering solution to parents, but both solutions provide a great way for parents to protect their families from the darker parts of the Internet.
K9 Web Protection
K9 Web Protection provides both a paid and free service. The free service is a great way to get introduced to the solution and should provide most people with the essentials that they need to protect their family. The upgraded service provides some additional perks and can be added later on. With K9 Web Protection, you are required to install an application on the devices you’d like to manage. Once the K9 Web Protection application is installed, it will protect the computer until the application is disabled or uninstalled with a special password. The management of policies is done online and includes components such as blocking of categories, alerting when someone tries to access a certain category, and alerting when someone tries to tamper with or disable the K9 Web Protection application running on the computer. K9 Web Protection is available for all popular operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, iPhone/iPod/iPad, and Android.
More information about K9 Web Protection can be found on their official website below:
Like K9 Web Protection, OpenDNS also offers both a paid and free service. The difference between OpenDNS and K9 Web Protection is that OpenDNS does not need an application to be installed on the computer. It works by modifying the DNS setting on either your computer or home router so that all Internet queries go through the OpenDNS servers. This feature allows you to protect all devices on your network by simply modifying your routers DNS settings. Similar to K9 Web Protection, all policies are managed on a user portal that’s accessed via the Internet, and parents can block access to certain categories and receive alerts for certain activity.
More information about OpenDNS can be found on their official website below:
Here’s what to look for when reviewing web content filtering solutions online:
Does it include tamper protection?
This is a feature that will keep your family from disabling the protection that you’ve implemented. Many times tamper protection involves a local password that prevents anyone from disabling or deleting the application. Make sure you keep the password safe and enable tamper alerting if it is available.
Can it be centrally managed from the Internet?
Many people are wary of installing web content filtering programs because they involve a great deal of effort to manage. If the application is installed on multiple machines, the work involved in managing the protection is multiplied. Both solutions proposed above allow you to centrally manage all protected computers from one convenient place, making management a breeze.
Does the solution automatically update and does it use a good filter list?
A web content filter is only as good as the list that it uses for blocking websites. If the list is outdated then the web content filter will not be very effective. Make sure that the vendor you go with has a track record for having good content filtering lists that are updating on an ongoing basis. Both solutions proposed above have content filtering lists that are some of the best in the industry.