Keeping Your Kids Safe Online – Content Filtering w/ Your Router/Firewall

Many of my friends with children often ask how to best keep them safe from some of the dubious content on todays Internet.  The good news is there are many ways to do so but the bad news is that they are often poorly documented, overly technical, and confusing.  Today I will demystify one simple way of doing so with your common wireless router/firewall.  In my previous post I focused on how to do so within your Operating System (Windows, OSX, etc.) but today we will look at doing it with networking.  If you don’t already have a hardware firewall I would encourage you to purchase one – but be sure it has some basic parental controls.  Most SOHO (Small Home and Office) now offer a simple feature set to offer enhanced parental controls.  Parental controls in a wireless router/firewall allow you to control what sites your kids can visit.
Generally they offer:

  • Control over the types of content
  • Control over the keywords/subjects you want to allow or disallow
  • Control days/times your child has access to the network

So keep an eye out for these features and utilize them if needed.  My advice to parents is to use more than one method to block children from accessing the non-child safe side of the Internet.  In my next post on this subject, I will detail some of the software options at your disposal to attain this very same goal.  Let me know how it goes!

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