Intro: A vast majority of homes are not filtering or monitoring the wireless signal. This allows babysitters, sleepover guests, and visitors to obtain unfiltered internet access in your home. OpenDNS is a domain-blocking service to block web sites or non-Web servers visited based upon categories, allowing control over the type of sites that may be accessed. For families, this is a must, so that you can have greater assurance that visitors aren’t using your wireless signal inappropriately.
Step 1: install OpenDNS on your home network. They have created a simple, but highly effective service called “Family Shield,” which you can read about here. Read this article for an overview of how to install Family Shield installation on your wireless router. Give it a try – the instructions are good, but don’t get too frustrated if you can’t figure it out. We bet you have a friend who can help, and it’s worth the effort! NOTE: AT&T’s 2Wire routers don’t work with OpenDNS, as they don’t allow changes to the DNS settings. Here is a help article that explains the AT&T situation (this gets technical – find that IT friend to help if this is your situation!).
Step 2: If you want an additional monitoring layer, pay $19.95/year for OpenDNS’ “Home VIP” service, which will log every website visited through your wireless network. Remember, monitoring is a critical part of an effective Internet safety in your home, especially for older internet users (high school).
**FYI: For the 3 major search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing), OpenDNS has major limitations for IMAGE and video searches because it allows thumbnails to be shown. It does well for many inappropriate websites, but a handful still get through (including searches on Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr and Imgur). If you use OpenDNS as your ONLY filter, I recommend that parents block major search engines other than Google on their devices using OpenDNS’s “always block” list (available on the “Home VIP” mentioned in Step 2), then lock Google’s “safe search” option (here are Google’s instructions for doing this).
One final note: at a certain time of night, it might be a good idea to just unplug the router during that sleepover.