Recently, I deployed a wireless access point in the house to enable internet connectivity for everyone in the family. While Internet does have it perks such as wireless file transfers, instant messaging, and direct TV streaming, it does not come with disadvantages. One of which is keeping those malicious websites out of bay and protecting children from pornography.
So how do we keep our Wi-Fi family friendly? Read on to know more.
Let us first clarify some things before we start. When I say “Family friendly”, I mean keeping those gambling, pornographic, and other materials out of reach of the children. You may have a different meaning of “Family friendly” and if that is the case, feel free to read other articles if this does not suit your needs.
With that clarified, let us proceed.
A quick look on some other methods
There are a couple of ways you can secure your child’s devices from accessing unintended or non-family friendly websites. You can either,
- Install ad blocker in your computer’s browsers
- Install ad blocker apps in the mobile devices
- Use a VPN to screen malicious websites
and a lot more. The problem with these methods is that you are putting the safeguard in the hands of the user. This is one mistake that you should never ever do. Why? Because the user can ultimately disable it if they find the right way to do it. Let’s take the ad blocker as an example.
So you successfully installed and configured an ad blocker in your family computer’s browser. Yes it was effective in blocking unwanted things. However, your child, as a creative and resourceful person that he is, was able to read on how to uninstall extensions and plug-ins in your browser. With this power, he immediately uninstalled the ad blocker which gave him access to those restricted materials from the internet. Knowing that you will punish him when you discover this, he reinstalled the ad blocker after he used the computer.
Now read the example above and notice that he effectively bypassed your safeguard to keep those malicious resources at bay. Therefore to iterate, do not ever put the control of the safeguard in the hands of the user.
What is the solution?
The solution is to put the blocking service outside the hands of the user. This means that ever if they reconfigured the device or even bought another one, you do not need to worry about it since the control still persist as long as they are connected to the family’s Wi-Fi. So how do we do it? Simple, place the safeguard in your Wi-Fi router.
How do we do it?
Simple, all you have to do is configure your Wi-Fi router to use a Domain Name Server (DNS). I assume you have no idea how to do this or what this even means so let me clarify things up.
- First, you need to know what is DNS. Head here to read more how it works.
- Second, you need to get familiar with your router. There are a million of wireless routers out there and there is a very big chance that my router is different from yours. To successfully configure your router, start learning how it works and how to access its control panel.
- Third, learn what is your wireless router IP address. You can discover this by opening the command prompt in your PC and running this command: ipconfig /all and take note of the value of the Default Gateway in the Wireless LAN adapter Wi-Fi.
- Lastly, access your wireless control panel using the default gateway IP address via a browser. Log in with the default credentials (if you haven’t changed it) and head to the set the custom DNS. I suggest you change the default password to the one you only know so that you can also protect unwanted access in your wireless router.
Here are some screenshots to get you started. In the first one, I access the router using a web browser (Firefox). After accessing the control panel, I went to DHCP settings in my router to set the DNS address field. If you are not familiar on these steps, I suggest rereading this post and study your router manual.
I got the DNS field but what do I set this into?
Good question. There are a lot of addresses in which you can set this into. One alternative is to use OpenDNS. The other one is to use the one’s provided from a quick search from DuckDuckGo (see below):
Personally, I use Norton DNS to take care of this things (and I found out I have been using a wrong IP address all this time). Head here to learn more.
And there you have it! After configuring your wireless router DNS field to a custom one, you have now achieved a better protection against malicious and inappropriate content for your family. Congratulations! Cheers!