OpenDNS FamilyShield

This forum contains discussions related to keeping families and individuals safe while making use of technology. Acceptable topics would range from how to protect families from Internet predators and online pornography, monitoring and protecting cell phone usage and text messaging, locking unwanted television and movies from various devices, protecting and monitoring computer game usage, and promoting safe Internet and technology use.
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thedunsons
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OpenDNS FamilyShield

Postby thedunsons » Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:17 am

In addition to log monitoring and K9 on the kids computers, I also changed my routers DNS settings to utilize OpenDNS FamilyShield service. It's FREE! Appears to be fairly seamless and effective. I visit a lot of 'off-grid' sites that most filters blacklist by default (such as "hacker" forums, IRC, etc). Seems that some are so strict they filter anything with the consecutive 4 character string of h-a-c-k (lifehacker.com). So far it seems to match my needs quite well. One con would be the lack of configurability / customization.

We often have visitors use our wifi, and at least one of those I know has attempted contact to questionable websites. Please keep in mind that whatever I do needs to be almost transparent to the wife and not require real maintenance and space. So servers, home proxies, running my own DNS are out of the question for me.

If you need to access sites that this service blocks (or only wanted it for your kids), you could cascade two wifi routers. Only the second one would be shared with visitors/kids, and only it would have the DNS changed.

I am not experiencing any troubles with this OpenDNS FamilyShield service, and am wondering if anyone else is using it and what your experience is.

Thanks for your time...
-mike

scgallafent
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Postby scgallafent » Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:05 am

relaxmosphere wrote:I am not experiencing any troubles with this OpenDNS FamilyShield service, and am wondering if anyone else is using it and what your experience is.


I use it at home. As long as families are aware that it can be easily bypassed, I think it's great as part of an overall solution.

kisaac
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Postby kisaac » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:32 pm

relaxmosphere wrote:In addition to log monitoring and K9 on the kids computers, I also changed my routers DNS settings to utilize OpenDNS FamilyShield service. It's FREE! Appears to be fairly seamless and effective.
...

I am not experiencing any troubles with this OpenDNS FamilyShield service, and am wondering if anyone else is using it and what your experience is.


I've used K9 on each computer, in conjunction with OpenDNS Basic for several years now. OpenDNS basic is also free, but allows more customization and reports. Not many problems, and recently added it to the wireless router.

Our Experience in a home setting with kids.
1) even with these two "layers" of protection, realize that unless you pull the power plug from the wall, you are never "safe" from influences you may wish to avoid. These are tools, working toward a "safer" online experience. They should be combined with all your other efforts, like time-of-day restrictions, moving the computer to a common room, setting strong age-appropriate "computer-use expectations" with equally strong consequences for breaking them, etc.

2)K9 allows for far simpler "unblocking allowances" by a parent who knows the password for a needed website that you generally don't allow. OpenDNS basic is more transparent, and allows you to override sites as well, but isn't near as quick or convenient to temporarily "unblock" a site. On some sites, you'll need to do this on both k9 and openDNS since they both might be blocking it. You'll get calls from a frustrated wife or child: "homework is due in half an hour and your software is blocking the website" (see #3)

3) You'll have to tolerate some inconveniences, and some people just won't make the effort to do it. Several people I know thought filtering was too inconvenient, (over-blocking,) and went back to an unblocked computer.

johnmortal
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Interesting suggestion, flash blocker on firefox nice also a nice tool

Postby johnmortal » Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:27 pm

We use K9 currently, we haven't tried the OpenDNS but will have to try that out. Occasionally a website we consider safe, like screenit, has an ad we don't think is OK. We mostly use firefox and the firefox plugin flash blocker has been surprisingly nice to use. If there is flash content you want, just click the flash play button to use the content, or temporarily disable flash blocker. You can enable / disable by sites as well if I remember right(?), though we don't really use that per se. I think this has made a noticeable difference.

-John Robertson

rolfejr
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K9 + OpenDns is a good start

Postby rolfejr » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:17 pm

relaxmosphere wrote:In addition to log monitoring and K9 on the kids computers, I also changed my routers DNS settings to utilize OpenDNS FamilyShield service. It's FREE! Appears to be fairly seamless and effective.


This is exactly what I do. I love K9 on the PCs, and OpenDNS does a decent job of filtering for all the other devices you can't put K9 on - iPods, Wii, Xbox, PS3, etc...

Yes OpenDNS is easily bypassed if a person knows how to change their DNS settings, but if you have a pretty configurable router you can set it to only allow DNS requests (port 53 outbound) to the OpenDNS servers. It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.

Of course, my favorite products are Open Discussion 1.0 and Personal Accountability 2010, coupled with Fostering Relationships of Trust Family edition. :-)

idjeeper2
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Postby idjeeper2 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:43 pm

When these block a site, do you get a screen announcement? I would much prefer a stealth mode that just won't allow a site to open. Or better yet, redirect to something good, like new.lds.org or even the browser's start page.

steph.younger
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Postby steph.younger » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:59 pm

I switched off K9 for a month and set up OpenDNS on my router. I gotta say, it was great to set up, but I experienced A LOT of those "frustrated wife/child" moments. As a plus, I could allow a site from a remote location, but finally switched back to K9 for ease of use.

Now that we're 100% wireless though, I'm thinking about setting up a home-made appliance (Astaro/Untangle), but that's a project for after tax season (grin).
- Stephen

dboudwin
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Postby dboudwin » Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:07 am

We run Untangle at work for 200+ users. Its a little complicated and we've had to route some exceptions for VOIP (which shouldn't be traveling http anyway,) but it works well for us.

At home I use OpenDns basic. Its definitely not all inclusive, and one thing I don't like is that it won't block google image thumbnails unless you block the entire images.google.com site.

Once my kids are old enough to use a computer we're going to have to lock things down tighter. I'm thinking usernames and passwords and logging for everyone...

lajackson
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Postby lajackson » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:17 pm

dboudwin wrote:Once my kids are old enough to use a computer we're going to have to lock things down tighter. I'm thinking usernames and passwords and logging for everyone...


We do this. Sometimes the children know their passwords, sometimes they don't. Dad and Mom can change any of them at any time.

You might wish to start now, using very simple passwords for the youngest children.

We check logs and answer questions from time to time, especially when we are going to challenge one of the children about an issue. Knowing when they logged on and off, and where they went while they were logged on is very helpful to the discussion when it is handled properly.

kisaac
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Postby kisaac » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:27 pm

lajackson wrote:...You might wish to start now, using very simple passwords for the youngest children.


Don't wait to create your protection until the kids are old enough...protect yourself and your wife now as well. It's not just the kids that are browsing where they shouldn't. You'll need to build strict family rules about what is appropriate and what is not, so why wait!

And realize that at a very young age your kids know far more about how to navigate your computer then you think, especially if friends (at school, at the neighbors house) are helping them find the stuff you don't like.

They quickly learn how to enable "private browsing" so they are not tracked, how to delete the history of their session, and how to turn "safe search" off, if you have not taken measures to stop these actions.


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