Use OpenDNS Parental Controls to Protect Your Kids Online

You may have seen programs that are meant to block websites and protect your kids online, but these can cost a lot of money and aren't the most effective solutions. For instance, if that software is just on the home PC, kids could use a different device to still access undesirable websites. Kids are also very good at finding ways to bypass this software altogether. There is a free and more effective way to do this, though, and that's through the DNS.

DNS stands for "Domain Name System," and it is essentially a phone book for the internet. It matches up domain names with the numerical IP addresses needed for locating the server that the website is on. Setting up parental controls through the DNS is much more difficult for kids to defeat, and it will work with any device that's connected to the home internet. Since the DNS from your internet service provider likely doesn't have any parental controls, you'll need to use an alternative such as OpenDNS instead.

OpenDNS is free, and often works faster than your ISP's DNS. It also has the added functionality of blocking websites and setting up time limits for internet usage. You could even set up a curfew so that the internet stops working after a certain time. Visit the OpenDNS parental controls page, and choose the free "OpenDNS Home" option. This will walk you through setting up OpenDNS on your network. This process will vary depending on what router you have.

In addition to these security measures, it's always still a good idea to keep your kid's computer somewhere that's within sight. That way you can keep an eye on what they're doing online and make sure they're not getting into trouble.