Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

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BHOCnewbie
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Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by BHOCnewbie » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:14 pm

Hello

I want to be able to block some commonly used sites like youtube etc when I am not at home so I try to restrict access to my kids accessing these sites esp. when we are not at home. Unfortunately the new router I bought does NOT allow me to apply URL filters for websites that begin with https and only can apply filters for sites beginning with http.


do any of you have a solution that you use to achieve the same above end goal of restricting some well know sites?

Thanks,

Yooper
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by Yooper » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:27 pm

http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm and add whatever additional sites you'd like. Of course if this is a commonly shared computer, then the restrictions would apply to all who use it.

denovo
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by denovo » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:34 pm

I used to evade pretty much all tech parental controls as a kid, and I suspect the kids are savvier these days. :twisted:
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:54 pm

You may be able to block directly on the router. I do it on a verizon fios router and I can see each device that's made a connection to our system and I can filter any of them for website title keywords by time. So for example, my teen's devices all have "face", "skype", "youtube" blocked from 11pm till 8am. My son actually uses a site with rain and lightning strikes to help get to sleep so blocking everything wouldn't work.
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BHOCnewbie
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by BHOCnewbie » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:57 pm

denovo wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:34 pm
I used to evade pretty much all tech parental controls as a kid, and I suspect the kids are savvier these days. :twisted:
Agree. it is a losing battle. but want to start off with something rather than nothing.

BHOCnewbie
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by BHOCnewbie » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:58 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:54 pm
You may be able to block directly on the router. I do it on a verizon fios router and I can see each device that's made a connection to our system and I can filter any of them for website title keywords by time. So for example, my teen's devices all have "face", "skype", "youtube" blocked from 11pm till 8am. My son actually uses a site with rain and lightning strikes to help get to sleep so blocking everything wouldn't work.
My router lets you only block sites starting with http and cannot block site starting with https.

Liberty1100
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by Liberty1100 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:01 pm

If your kids have an iPhone or ipad, you can enable parental controls by going to Settings > General > Restrictions, and then enable them by creating a passcode. You are able to block apps like FaceTime and camera, block them from installing apps, as well as select to allow only certain safe websites.

denovo
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by denovo » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:08 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:54 pm
You may be able to block directly on the router. I do it on a verizon fios router and I can see each device that's made a connection to our system and I can filter any of them for website title keywords by time. So for example, my teen's devices all have "face", "skype", "youtube" blocked from 11pm till 8am. My son actually uses a site with rain and lightning strikes to help get to sleep so blocking everything wouldn't work.

Can't router restrictions be evaded through VPN's or proxies?
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

michaeljc70
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:51 pm

What router do you have? The nature of your problem is generic (not router specific) in that HTTPS sites packets are encrypted so you are going to have to look for another method. This could mean blocking IP ranges, but there may be other options depending on the router.

azurekep
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by azurekep » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:13 pm

Just thinking outside the box...

One way would be to make a particular site too annoying to use. Like disabling images and/or javascript, or changing the color scheme so it's white on white. Or making the font size too big or too small. Some of that can be done in a browser using one or more of the site-specific configuration files, or using an extension. Then, use a separate program to hide and password protect the configuration files.

Of course, the child can always use another browser...

BHOCnewbie
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by BHOCnewbie » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:21 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:51 pm
What router do you have? The nature of your problem is generic (not router specific) in that HTTPS sites packets are encrypted so you are going to have to look for another method. This could mean blocking IP ranges, but there may be other options depending on the router.
Asus AC-1900 I believe

squirm
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by squirm » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:23 pm

Just use opendns, you can tell Windows to use that as the DNS.

slim
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by slim » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:44 pm

The most robust way will be through a networks router/firewall. The cheapo fisher price routers (basically anything with built in wifi and for home use), unfortunately are limited when it comes to robust feature sets to do this.

You could always get one of the supported home routers that have support for flashing custom firmware like ddwrt or tomato.

jayk238
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by jayk238 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:49 pm

The best way to deal with it is give your kids a lot to do. Clubs activities sports.

azurekep
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by azurekep » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:31 pm

squirm wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:23 pm
Just use opendns, you can tell Windows to use that as the DNS.
Couldn't the kids just change it back to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4, or whatever DNS servers they were using before? Kids are savvy these days.

squirm
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by squirm » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:07 pm

azurekep wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:31 pm
squirm wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:23 pm
Just use opendns, you can tell Windows to use that as the DNS.
Couldn't the kids just change it back to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4, or whatever DNS servers they were using before? Kids are savvy these days.
Maybe, I use open DNS on our computers so the kids can use them. They dare not change anything. If they change anything, no more computer, then they'll have to answer to me, they won't want to do that.

ccieemeritus
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by ccieemeritus » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:10 pm

+1 opendns

If your kids understand or learn how to change the DNS settings back then they’ve made their first step to a future IT career.

A side effect of opendns is that it can make streaming of videos (Netflix, itunes) slower. This is due to the service picking a suboptimal server because it thinks you are located at the opendns dns server.

JoeRetire
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by JoeRetire » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:24 pm

BHOCnewbie wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:14 pm
I want to be able to block some commonly used sites like youtube etc when I am not at home so I try to restrict access to my kids accessing these sites esp. when we are not at home.
How old are the kids?

For younger kids, adding entries in the HOSTS file will work (for a while).
For older kids, return your router and get one with better filtering capabilities.

Dottie57
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:28 pm

Unplug the router and take it to your bedroom while you sleep.

scooterdog
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by scooterdog » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:40 pm

If the 'new' router doesn't do what you want it to do, well it's time to go through the hassle of returning it for a better one. This is a great benefit to buying such things at actual brick and mortar stores - you can return them and get something to test out the same day. (Imagine that!)

Open DNS is what we used to use for a while, and then it became a reality that no matter what the steps taken there will be workarounds. A quick search is just a few keystrokes away.

I've learned a few things; one is that I have set house rules around no Youtube unless a parent is around, and in public view; another is no computers / iPhones in their rooms, all out in the open where we all are; and a third is that safeguards are for preventing accidents, rather than as a catch-all for lack of positive guidance.

Just a few thoughts from a parent who has learned a lot both from seeing three kids growing up as well as seeing a lot of child safety materials through the Boy Scouts of America training materials.

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Alexa9
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by Alexa9 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:59 pm

I would allow internet from 8-9 PM everyday or something similar. Even can make it conditional on homework, chores being done from 7-8 etc. Positive reinforcement is very powerful.

Fclevz
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by Fclevz » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:14 pm

azurekep wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:31 pm
squirm wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:23 pm
Just use opendns, you can tell Windows to use that as the DNS.
Couldn't the kids just change it back to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4, or whatever DNS servers they were using before? Kids are savvy these days.
Change the DNS address on the password-protected router, not the computer.

michaeljc70
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:04 am

The problem with using another DNS server like OpenDNS on the router is that no one will be able to access those sites (not just the kids) and you cannot set time limits/controls on it. The other thing is if your kid is astute enough to get an IP address for a site like Facebook, they can just use that. That is very easy to do.
Last edited by michaeljc70 on Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

lazydavid
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by lazydavid » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:09 am

Fclevz wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:14 pm
azurekep wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:31 pm
squirm wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:23 pm
Just use opendns, you can tell Windows to use that as the DNS.
Couldn't the kids just change it back to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4, or whatever DNS servers they were using before? Kids are savvy these days.
Change the DNS address on the password-protected router, not the computer.
I think they were saying that manually changing the DNS settings on the computer would override whatever you set the router to, and that's correct. However, DNS is an unencrypted protocol, and some routers allow you to hijack it. That is, request comes from the client to 8.8.8.8 on port 53/UDP. The router changes the destination address to your preferred DNS provider prior to forwarding it along, and the client is none the wiser. This is not a super-common feature, but is quite effective.

SimonJester
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by SimonJester » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:16 am

One of the better web protection software applications I came across when my kids were young is K9 Web protection. Its based off of an enterprise grade content filtering system but free for home use.

http://www1.k9webprotection.com/


Once your kids get to the age where they can figure out how to defeat these systems its better to sit down and have the talk about appropriate and inappropriate content on the Internet and Internet safety.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

THY4373
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by THY4373 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:17 am

Fclevz wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:14 pm
[

Change the DNS address on the password-protected router, not the computer.
That will only work if you additionally block outbound DNS from your internal network, else they can just change their local DNS settings and they will route through the router.

THY4373
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by THY4373 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:19 am

I use Sophos UTM (formerly Astaro) (https://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/f ... ition.aspx). But this requires a pretty high level of technical sophistication to set up. Also keep in mind that anything you do on your home network won't work if they have a cell phone or other device that can leverage the telco network. Also this is far less common today but in the past when open wireless networks were more common I knew of kids who would connect to a neighbor's open network and browse what they wanted from there (and of course neighbor's kids might give them the creds to the network even if it is using encryption).
Last edited by THY4373 on Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Tycoon
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by Tycoon » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:20 am

Dottie57 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:28 pm
Unplug the router and take it to your bedroom while you sleep.
This is the best solution.
Appeal to Pity:When pity is envoked to support a statement | Appeal to Popular Sentiment:Appealing to unrelated prejudices and attitudes | Hasty Generalization:Too little evidence to support the conclusion

THY4373
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by THY4373 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:21 am

Tycoon wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:20 am
Dottie57 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:28 pm
Unplug the router and take it to your bedroom while you sleep.
This is the best solution.
Only if they don't have access to other networks (e.g., cell network, neighbor;s wireless network, etc). Kids are VERY creative I know I was once a very "creative" kid.

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MnyGrl
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by MnyGrl » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:24 am

Dottie57 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:28 pm
Unplug the router and take it to your bedroom while you sleep.
Or collect their devices at night. :)

drekce
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by drekce » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:43 am

I use a Circle device. It isn’t perfect, but I love it and it works across all devices (to include streaming boxes, game consoles, etc.).

I pay for the Circle Go service as well, so my kid’s phones can’t get around it as easily when not on the home WiFi.

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Cosmo
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by Cosmo » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:11 pm

drekce wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:43 am
I use a Circle device. It isn’t perfect, but I love it and it works across all devices (to include streaming boxes, game consoles, etc.).

I pay for the Circle Go service as well, so my kid’s phones can’t get around it as easily when not on the home WiFi.
+1

Hands down, Disney Circle.

Cosmo

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by LiterallyIronic » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:31 pm

No reason to get complicated. I would just install the Firefox add-on LeechBlock. You can set it up to block specific sites always, or during certain timeframes, and/or after a certain amount of usage (like after an hour YouTube becomes unavailable).

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Tycoon
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Re: Blocking URLs/Sites on home network for kids

Post by Tycoon » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:42 pm

MnyGrl wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:24 am
Dottie57 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:28 pm
Unplug the router and take it to your bedroom while you sleep.
Or collect their devices at night. :)
An even better option indeed.
Appeal to Pity:When pity is envoked to support a statement | Appeal to Popular Sentiment:Appealing to unrelated prejudices and attitudes | Hasty Generalization:Too little evidence to support the conclusion

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