Families and Firewalls

I was asked to give a lesson to the adults at our church on how to help keep their families safe online.

I thought it might also make a nice blogpost. Here is the ‘handout’ for those attending.


“Youth in this generation are “digital natives” – being inundated by technology since birth. But many parents are not and need to educate themselves about technology.”

Cellphones for kids   http://www.kajeet.com/kajeetStore/whyKajeet.do

Internet Filters

Open DNS                  http://www.opendns.com/home-solutions/

OpenDNS is a perfect solution for people who either lack the time or expertise to set up and administer a full-out content-filtering server. OpenDNS replaces your current DNS server and allows you to filter every connection coming out of your house if you change the DNS settings at the router level. No matter if someone is on your main desktop or connecting into your wireless via laptop, everything will be filtered by OpenDNS. You can set custom filters to white list and black list specific sites and customize the range of filters they provide for you

K9                                http://www1.k9webprotection.com/

Many have had experiences with K9’s internet filtering, if for no other reason than it’s used in thousands of schools across the country. One of K9’s strong points is the division of filtered content into 60+ categories which allows you to easily block and unblock large chunks of their blacklist without having to get your hands too dirty. K9 is a desktop solution; you install the software and it checks all the Internet requests you make against the filters you have specified.

DansGuardian                       http://dansguardian.org/?page=whatisdg

One way to measure whether or not Dansguardian is the right filtering tool for you is your willingness to install and tinker with an operating system like Linux. If OpenDNS (below) is the Mac-like “It just works!” one click solution, DansGuardian falls into a much more Linux-like “I can change every setting and experience real, ultimate power!” category.  DansGuardian is extremely configurable and allows you to do all sorts of things, like block all images, filter ads out across your entire home network, block files from being downloaded by extension type, and control the effects of the filters, whitelists, and more based on which computer on your network is doing the accessing.


Computer Monitoring

WebWatcher              http://www.webwatchernow.com/

SnoopStick                 http://www.snoopstick.com/

Spytech SpyAgent     http://www.spytech-web.com/spyagent.shtml

Spector Pro                http://www.spectorsoft.com/  – PC, Mac and Cellphones


Wireless LAN Security

  • Open – no Authentication, no Encryption
  • WEP – Encryption key=Authentication – Broken, do not use
  • WPA Personal – Passphrase for Authentication – TKIP simpler Encryption
  • WPA2 Personal – Passphrase for Authentication – AES complex Encryption
  • WPA/WPA2 Enterprise – Username/Password for Authentication

Open Wireless networks may be a target for accessing Internet without any controls.

Lock down your Wi-Fi with at least WPA Personal.

Warning: a SoHo version of WPA called WPS has been hacked. Use manually set passphrases.

Some suggestions for setting family rules:

  • Anything on the family network is accessible by the parents. Children have no privacy rights.
  • Computers and Televisions in an open, public area of he home.
  • Cell phones, Internet Access, and Television is a privilege, not a right and can be revoked at any time.
  • Never give out personal information online, to anyone you don’t personally know.
  • Not answering a cell phone or a text message within 5 minutes is grounds to loose the privilege.
  • Never open email attachments from anyone you don’t know personally.
  • Always check for SSL (this “lock”) before entering any personal information or credit card information online.
  • If using Windows, keep Virus and Malware protection up to date.
  • Parents will periodically check on all children’s communications, chat room activity, website activity, Google searches, Facebook posts, and text messages.


“Teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves”

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Families and Firewalls

    • Learn english.

      Also, Dear Mr. Author: Children should have at least some privacy. But I understand that you are going to church, so I’m not going to try and reason with you. Other than that, thanks in the names of many for this collection.

    • Learn english.

      Also, Dear Mr. Author: Children should have at least some privacy. But I understand that you are going to church, so I’m not going to try and reason with you. Other than that, thanks in the names of many for this collection.