Today I am going to show you three different ways to block websites. This is something that non tech savvy parents are always worried about. And trying to ensure your child does not see offensive content can be a massive worry. It usually devolves into children being watched like hawks while on the family computer. But it does not have to be that way. There are ways to block websites. You can allow your children on to the pc knowing that they are (relatively speaking) safe from the horrors that reside on the internet.
But how do we achieve this? How do we block websites and give children a sanitized experience of the internet? Read on to find out.
Block Websites – How To Do It Effectively
There are a number of ways to block websites. Each one has varying levels of difficulty and varying levels of effectiveness. First up we have options at the browser level. For this we will assume you are using either Firefox or Chrome.
Starting with Chrome, it’s a relatively easy process, involving simply installing an extension. BlockSite and StayFocused offer similar levels of interaction. After install it’s just a case of adding websites to the block list. However, within StayFocused there is also an option to block all websites. Great for when kids are doing homework.
For Firefox, we also use the add on Blocksite. Again, to block a site, just open up the add on and add a new location to the block list.
While these extensions will do the job, there is a caveat to them. If your child is tech savvy at all, they can bypass these restrictions easily. They will do this by simply using another browser or changing the settings within the extension.
Router Level Blocking
This one is a little more involved and relies on your router being capable of configuration. Basically, you are going to use the family shield option from OpenDNS. Although the setup guide may look a little overwhelming to those not fully up on their pc terminology, it’s really easy if you take it step by step.
First we need to choose Home Routers on the device list and click it.
Next, find your router in the list. As stated in the guide, it is at this point that the whole thing could fall apart. Some ISP’s (the people who provide your internet and usually your router) remove the settings needed to change your DNS from the router, which completely scuppers you.
Assuming this did not happen to you, continue with the setup. Follow the instructions to change your router DNS to the OpenDNS ones, which are 126.96.36.199 & 188.8.131.52. Don’t worry about this part. In effect all you are doing is asking your devices to ask a different server to look up what you are doing on the internet. This server is preconfigured to automatically disallow porn, violence and the like.
This means that all devices across your home network will now be configured to only show more wholesome content. This is a brilliant way to do it and ensures complete peace of mind. It does however rely on your router being configurable.
Block Websites Using Host Files
This last one is for those of you out there wishing to block a specific website on your desktop or laptop. This involves us using your host file to disallow any website we enter into it.
For this example I will assume you want to block Facebook.com – for any other website you wish to block, just replace Facebook.com with the URL of the website you wish to block.
First we need to locate your hostfile.
Click the windows logo in the bottom corner of your desktop. Then paste or type in this: C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\ and press enter.
A new window should have opened with files in them. Double click the hosts file. You will now have a window pop up asking you how you want to open this file. Choose Notepad or Wordpad.
Next, find the line 127.0.0.1 localhost.
Directly underneath this is where we will insert the website we wish to block. To do that, type this:
We add both the non “www” version and the www version to ensure we catch-all instances of the site.
Then click file and save. And you have that site blocked on your computer. This is a great way to block sites on one device and stop kids from procrastinating. It’s also unlikely they can find how you did it, so will just assume it’s a fault with the computer.