Our kids need every defensive tool against pornography that we can provide and Internet filtering is one of the basics. Marisa Corless is passionate about being a mom and providing her kids with the best childhood possible. She’s an avid researcher on topics concerning child-rearing and today we get her take on Internet filtering.
One Mom’s Advice on Internet Safety
By Marisa Corless
To provide Internet safety, most parents use some sort of software that is loaded onto their computer. This is a great first start, but what about the other mobile devices like tablets, mp3 players, and game consoles that also access the Internet and can be used to browse? What about the devices that come into the home with a friend? They too need a filter.
Two Levels of Filters
- On my home network, I use two filters. I use an Internet filter on ALL computers. No one needs to see pornography and if a site is miscategorized, as I have found on occasion when I have tried to access a known site, the parent can override and white-list that particular site (i.e. add it to the filter’s list of safe sites). Peace of mind is worth more than the inconvenience of having to unblock or override occasionally.
- Beyond filtering all computers, I run a filter on my router. I personally use OpenDNS Home*. The free version allows for customization and filtering at the level you desire, as parents. Upgrading to the Home VIP plan, which costs $19.95 per year, allows for more thorough reports on internet usage.
OpenDNS changes the IP address of the existing router and filters incoming traffic before it ever leaves the router. In this way, all devices are filtered. A major positive is that unlike many device specific Internet filters, OpenDNS does not slow down internet access. I really appreciate that. And even though I have parental controls enabled on various Internet accessible devices, those controls don’t actually filter the internet most of the time, but OpenDNS will.
I also appreciate that if a friend accesses my internet with an unfiltered device, my router will filter the Internet for that device.
One caveat–no filter is 100%. And you can’t assume your kids will be protected when they leave your home for other activities. That’s why you need to talk with your kids about Internet safety—the good, the bad and the ugly.
I am really grateful that Kristen A. Jenson and Dr. Gail Poyner, and the rest of the PornProof Kids team, worked so hard over the past several years to write a read aloud book (Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids) to help parents talk to their children about Internet safety. It isn’t a matter of if, it’s a matter of when; and when kids are exposed to pornographic images, they need to be prepared with tools to handle the situation so it doesn’t take hold and dominate their lives.
Marisa Corless is a wife and homeschooling mother of five amazing kids, master herbalist, scout leader, home school co-op co-chair and mentor, and very part time karate Sensei.
*Note: Marisa’s product recommendations are her own; PornProof Kids receives no compensation for promoting any filtering products. Neither does Marisa receive any compensation for her blog post or endorsement of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids.