In the early days of the web (ca. 1996-1999), one big concern new users had regarded filtering web content. Parents were worried about their kids seeing inappropriate content, etc. The Internet was new territory for them, and they approached it cautiously. In general, their concerns were well founded – “adult” and gambling sites abounded, and it wasn’t unusual to get spam that included graphic images right in the message.
Fast forward to today. The web is ubiquitous – many families have wireless broadband networks in their house, and multiple devices accessing the internet. It has become a utility of sorts – always there.
However, the concern over content filtering seems to have dissipated. Today’s parents are so used to the internet, that they don’t seem to think twice about filtering content for their children. Maybe because we are adept at navigating the the web, and “block out” links or sites that will take us to the wrong spot, we assume our children won’t get to any sites they shouldn’t be seeing (by accident or purposely). As a parent of young children, I see their friends using iPads, iPhones, etc. without a whole lot of supervision. But I hear little (no) talk of filtering or even the need to filter it (at least from the parents, anyway).
Well, I went looking for a solution, and settled on this one:
This is actually a free solution (though I pay $20 / year for the advanced options) and works through your router. So all the computers on your network can be protected using this solution. (Note: smartphones that use WIFI networks will not be filtered.) It essentially re-routes your DNS lookups to opendns servers, which can determine if the site violates any preset rules.
Technically, this isn’t foolproof, but it’s a great step forward in filtering the junk out of your home. If you think you need filtering for your house, give it a whirl.