Most kids are online these days and what is the Best free protection for kids online? We want to protect them from looking at adult things or even just clicking the wrong thing and getting infected?
As a Dad I did do a bit of research into this over a few months and of course to start with is having a talk to your child or children about potential things that may come up online and what not to look at and just being approachable with questions if that does happen.
After months of research pretty much every solution or product I found was average in my mind. Especially if you are paying for it! They either blocked too much, blocked too little, were expensive or clunky and my best solution which I had been trialing is OpenDNS and better yet it is free for home use. Its not 100% perfect but I believe its the best solution we have out there today.
Starting here quickly so you understand what OpenDNS is actually doing.
The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical decentralized naming system for computers, services, or any resource connected to the Internet or a private network. It associates various information with domain names assigned to each of the participating entities.
In simple terms, if I told you to go to 18.104.22.168 would you know that its google.com?
Websites have names like “www.google.com” so we can remember them easy but computers use IP address, which for google.com is 22.214.171.124.
DNS is like the whitepages. It sends out your query of google.com to a DNS server and in turn it loops up the IP address which we know now is 126.96.36.199 and we can now navigate to it.
2. OpenDNS and what they do
OpenDNS is a company and service which extends the Domain Name System by adding features such as phishing protection and optional content filtering to traditional recursive DNS services
Currently you would use your Internet Services Providers DNS. Which is all find and dandy however, if we had a free account with OpenDNS and used their DNS server we can choose to block certain things. eg adult content, social media, illegal activities.
3. OpenDNS Setup Options
Now the lets get into the setup.
There are a few settings to chose from. OpenDNS Family Shield, OpenDNS Home User and OpenDNS Home VIP. I’ll try and set out the two differences
Very very easy to setup. No accounts. just Type in 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 into your DNS settings on your device and thats it! Holy smokes that is easy
A bit more complicated. You have to sign up for an account, use 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168, DNS settings, and use an app to update your IP address. However you do get to customize your filter settings.
Same as OpenDNS user but with a couple different settings
OpenDNS does have great setup guides for most devices so I will defer to them. However I will just give you a couple quick ones.
There is a few different ways to setup OpenDNS. For instance you can set it up on most modems which is probably the best way.
OpenDNS has a great forum on how to setup most/all devices so I’ll just point you to them. Just remember to use the correct IP address eg Family Shield 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 and Home User 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206,
Go here and search
This is hard to Illustrate because there are so many version of modems/routers. Basically you have to log into your modem and find settings for DNS. (I know this is vague and I’m sorry)
After you have finished setting everything up you go to this website to see if you are being protected by OpenDNS.
Depends on what you are letting your child do on what device? When there is a will there is always a way around these restrictions.