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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

UnGarbled-Tech – Internet Filtering Part 1

I am writing as both a father of three children— ages 9, 14, and 16—and as an IT professional. For the past 17 years I have been involved in the man­agement of educational networks. This gives me some expertise and experience on how Internet filtering is approached today.

My wife and I speak to our children, especial­ly our daughters, about what is and is not appro­priate on the Internet. Digital dirt is something no parent wants to discuss. Our children should be informed that 25 years ago a picture was tak­en and that was it. Today, one picture on a phone can be shared in cyberspace in minutes and can never be removed. You have a false sense of se­curity if you believe that only friends see your So­cial Media page.

Parents ask me what is the best filtering program one can buy? My answer is always: You and your spouse’s two eyes are the best Internet filter.

Teenagers today are well informed and can Google anything you can. Where it’s re­ally important to have Internet filtering is where small children are concerned—and who might “Fat Finger” the wrong site. For our older children a combination of educa­tion and Internet filtering is what I feel is the best we can do today to protect them from what we don’t want them to see or do.

In a school, temple, or business where mi­nors will be accessing the Internet, federal law mandates that the Internet has to be filtered. The act is called the Children’s Internet Protec­tion Act (CIPA) (http://www.fcc.gov/guides/chil­drens-internet-protection-act)

Today the landscape has changed. Most teenagers have some sort of Smartphone, Tablet or laptop that can access the Internet. Though we want to supervise our children 24/7 this isn’t really possible. We put our faith in the schools we send our children to that the Internet will be filtered. I am blessed that all three schools my children attend have excel­lent filtering. The schools also have seminars and correspondence with the parents to educate them about Internet safety.

The real challenge is when Internet providers increase their WiFi hot­spots footprints. These hotspots signals are so strong that students can access WiFi from virtually anywhere.

Here are some prod­ucts/methods that can provide Internet filtering at one’s home. Some of these solutions can be im­plemented at a place of business. As always, your local IT consultant can im­plement these solutions if you want to make sure it’s done properly.

Internet access is ulti­mately managed by a router. The router’s pass­word should be changed and not left at the de­fault password. We recommend a router brand called ASUS— it’s a little more expensive but is well worth it. The ASUS router has built-in paren­tal controls using OpenDNS. The parent can lim­it the time a PC is on the Internet and filtering. What makes the ASUS router effective is it can restrict smartphones and PCs’ as the filtering is managed via the device’s MAC address. Most updated routers brands now include Internet fil­tering.

Another router change that can facili­tate Internet filtering is changing the DNS. When one types in www.garbcg.com, your PC will access a DNS either from your pro­vider or one that you can hand code to get to the website. The actual site IP address might be 770.613.7.10. Your PC/MAC will ac­cess the DNS database to get to www.garb­cg.com.

A popular DNS filtering service is called OpenDNS. OpenDNS will filter websites, and it will decrease getting viruses on your PC/ Network. OpenDNS can be used on all PC/ MACs/Smartphones. Here is the link on how to change the DNS to OpenDNS on many types of devices that can access the inter­net including routers. https://store.opendns. com/setup/.

DNS changes can actually make Internet usage quicker, but it varies from network to network. OpenDNS is free for home users but has a nominal cost for businesses and schools. OpenDNS will restrict these sites at the router level and makes this solution a lot more effective. The router password should be kept safe so the DNS is not changed.

After Yom Tov, I will recommend some software that manages Internet filtering and discuss how to implement Internet Safety.

Email [email protected] if you have any questions on Internet Filtering.

By Shneur Garb

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