Managing the Internet in Your Home
The internet is a powerful tool in our homeschools. Many of us can’t imagine homeschooling without it either for research, downloading eBooks, or even online classes and communities for our kids.
While there is great potential for its uses, there is reason to be cautious. The internet is only ever a click a way from the dark alleys we’d never take our kids into. How do we manage the internet safely in our homeschool?
My husband Dan has written a series on the topic of internet filtering and access control which we hope will be useful to you in a practical way.
Basic Internet Filtering & Access Control
We’ve had a lot of questions about how we filter the internet in our home and how we control internet access to our kids’ computers and devices. This first post in the series is an introduction to the whole process. It gives you the background knowledge to put some of the practices into place using Dan’s directions.
Internet Filtering & Access Control Part 1- The Basics includes:
- Protecting our kids with internet filtering & access control on any device
- How the internet & networking really work
- What’s an IP Address
- MAC addresses (the hexidecimal series of numbers that identify your device) & your router- What is a router and what does it do for you?
Controlling When Your Kids Are on the Internet
How do you control when your kids have internet access and when they don’t? This second post in the series details how to get your router on board with your access control plan.
Part 2: Controlling When Your Kids Are on the Web includes:
- How to directly talk to your router and get it to do what you want it to do
- Blocking MAC addresses rather than IP addresses
- Which router is the right one for the job
Using Open DNS to Filter Content in Your Home
This post deals with managing when your kids can get on the internet and what they can access once they get there.
Part 3: Using Open DNS to Filter Content includes:
- Getting started with OpenDNS
- Using OpenDNS for content filtering
Using these strategies, we can turn internet on and off to our children’s devices. Right now our internet for the kids turns on at 8:30am and turns off at 9:30pm. We use OpenDNS to blacklist genres of websites we don’t want our kids to be able to visit. No software required and it works on all devices hooked up to our wifi network.
That means friends who bring mobile devices are filtered too because they are on our network.
Dan maintains a computer network of 6 PCs, 9 tablets/mobile devices, and 1 FreeBSD file server (for backing up all of our computers among other things). Using OpenDNS is a successful way to manage internet access.
Of course, none of these takes the place of common sense and parent involvement. It’s just a tool to help your do your job.
As our children get older, we have a responsibility to help them to manage time and content on the internet on their own. Once they leave our home, the filters are off and there’s no timer for internet time. We have to ease off and help them to navigate the internet safely.
Please feel free to email us with questions if you are trying to follow Dan’s directions.