Kids growing up on the internet

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I was contacted recently by a parent who is concerned about how his 4 children access the internet. He told me that his kids are growing up and now access the internet on a whole range of devices from desktops, laptops, tablets, iPod and Android devices.

Several years ago we installed K9 on his single desktop computer. This was sufficient to prevent children accidentally stumbling across objectionable material. Today that is no longer sufficient so we’ve come up with a plan to protect all devices.

There is not a ‘one solution fits all’ in New Zealand. There are however, several options:

1. OpenDNS is a US based company that provides among other services the ability to setup filtering policies and internet monitoring.

The idea is to point the ip address of your modem or router to that of the OpenDNS server. Therefore all internet traffic would first go through the filtering policy you had setup before going out to the internet.

Up until now this has not been an ideal option. Since the servers were based in the US, response times were slow. Over the past few years they have installed mirror servers in key locations around the globe. Recently, servers have been placed in Sydney.

OpenDNS may now be a real option for New Zealanders to filter every electronic device that connects to the internet. We have not yet tested this service since the installation of Sydney servers. However, it is understood that this service may not work well with some internet service providers.

See their current network below:

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2.  The second option is to use locally installed software. This allows you to manage settings locally, without any fear of slow response or broken connections.

There are various products on the market. Some are free and some are not, depending on what functions you may require. We’ve outlined some of our recommendations below:

PC / laptop solutions: Install K9 for a single solution as it works well. To manage multiple users on one PC, MAC or laptop, or on multiple devices, use Norton’s OnlineFamily as this free product has big features. For a product that has all the bells and whistles install PC Pandora .

If its web filtering on mobile devices you are looking for then you can’t go past MobiFlock . This product has a 7 day trial version. The product covers all Android and Apple products.

Gaming servers and TVs are also internet capable. For these devices we recommend setting rules in your router to prevent all internet access except explicitly listed sites you decide.

Internet filtering and monitoring is an important part of teaching children positive and safe internet practices. There is also the security aspect to consider.  Remember, infecting your TV with a virus is the last thing you need!

WebSafety NZ installs monitoring and filtering software. For help see www.websafety.co.nz

Dean Stewart

Dean Stewart is the owner of WebSafety NZ and has over 27 years of experience in the IT industry. His career has taken him to Australia, UK and South Africa, before returning home after a 14 year overseas stint. Outside of work, Dean has two teenage children, is a keen tramper in the outdoors and enjoys growing his own produce.

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Please note that this article represents the views of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Kiwi Family Media Ltd.

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