Free Parental Control Software

Discussion in 'other anti-malware software' started by airjrdn, Feb 14, 2011.

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  1. airjrdn

    airjrdn Registered Member

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    Anyone here had much experience w/any of them compared to the paid alternatives?

    Some of the popular options I've found are:

    Dansguardian is a little different than the others, but it is free/open source, so it made sense to include it. Note that I've specifically left out the Microsoft offering.

    I'm running DD-WRT on my router if anyone is using router based filtering and would like to weigh in on that. My requirement would be to NOT filter a few devices (computers, phones, etc.), but filter all others. I can give them static IPs based on Mac addresses if necessary.

    Right now I'm just using OpenDNS, and it's ok, but good sites can sometimes have objectionable content, and OpenDNS would let it slip right through.

    Kids ages are 3, 4, 7, 8. They currently use a single machine w/logins for each child.

    It would be great to get the niceties the paid products offer (daily activity emails, etc.).

    Are you aware of any continually (community) updated, free URL blacklists? Better yet, any categorized lists?
     
  2. gery

    gery Registered Member

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    k9 is fair . I used it in the past and is decent. You will like it
     
  3. webbit

    webbit Registered Member

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    k9 seems to be very good on first impressions
     
  4. trjam

    trjam Registered Member

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    K9 is very good, until your young-uns become teens. It can be defeated fairly easily. OpenDNS is what I came up with next and it works perfectly and still use it. Of course, teens, learned they can hook into neighbors unprotected router.:blink:

    K9 has antispyware protection and can have issues with other protection software.
     
  5. Kernelwars

    Kernelwars Registered Member

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    k9 is awesome.. :)
     
  6. Brocke

    Brocke Registered Member

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    open dns works well with a router
     
  7. sm1

    sm1 Registered Member

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    DynDNS internet guide is also a good option. It can block phishing, spam and malware sites too:) . It can be configured in the router if the router supports DDNS or use it with the update client in the PC. The free account requires the user to login in the website atleast once in a month. They are fast to add any site which we submit and to remove any false positive:)

    More info: http://www.dyndns.com/services/dynguide/
     
  8. airjrdn

    airjrdn Registered Member

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    Thanks for the feedback (and keep it coming!). I'm going to check out a few of them in a VM to get a feel for how they work. Mine are young enough right now that circumventing anything isn't a worry, but of course, in a few years I'm sure they'll be looking for ways.

    Is there a way w/the router based solutions to use one set of DNS #'s for some machines, and another for the others without visiting every machine? With 7+ PC's, multiple iPads & iPhones, and any "visiting" computers, it'd be nice to use non-filtered DNS lookups for my machine and my wife's (which the kids don't use), but use the filtered lookups for all others, whether listed or not. I know I could just hardcode the two, but it would be a little nicer to not have to hardcode any of them.

    Also, has it been an issue for anyone using the DNS solutions that it's an all or nothing (at the site level) block? In other words, can you allow the kids to get to some YouTube videos for example, but block others? Will the software based solutions do that?
     
  9. sm1

    sm1 Registered Member

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    You can change the dns settings for your machine and your wife's to DNS that doesn't filter content like google dns or your ISP dns.
     
  10. Trooper

    Trooper Registered Member

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    Wow thanks for this post. Im really curious about Open DNS. Always wanted to try it, but never did.

    If I use it will it automatically block porn and other inappropriate material from my children? I assume that I would have to buy the $9.95 package for my family correct? It seems to have more than the free version, wondering if its worth it.

    Also, does Open DNS or anything else block offensive words? For example, all of the foul language on YouTube video comments.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  11. airjrdn

    airjrdn Registered Member

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    I played with a few of the different options a couple of weeks ago. None of them are perfect, or even close for that matter.

    From the minimal amount of testing I did, here are some thoughts.

    OpenDNS (free or paid) - You can apply it to each specific computer you want to filter, or you can apply to your router and also affect iPod Touches, iPads, computers brought into your home by friends/family, etc. It's easily bypassed if someone has much technical knowledge at all. It's also an all-or-nothing approach, meaning, you're either going to allow or block a particular site. You can't block part of it and allow access to another part. It's also not going to be easy to block a site for one user, but allow it for another. IMO, these weaknesses make it all but useless.

    Safesquid didn't work at all, and I wasn't willing to spend the time getting it to work. In the short amount of time I messed with it, it was a complete failure.

    AOL Parental controls was ok. If I remember correctly, it was also an all-or-nothing per site approach which doesn't work for me (think Youtube, some videos are fine, others are definitely not for little ones).

    Norton Family Safety was actually not too bad. It did however let some things through that it shouldn't have, and I'm talking about it happening within 5 minutes of testing. It also seemed to randomly take long periods of time for approved requests to go through (where a kid requests access to a site and you grant it).

    K9 Web Protection was about as effective as Norton, but without the granularity of the user account stuff. Honestly, using both would probably be your best bet. K9 has URL keyword filtering, but it doesn't work correctly, and remember, that's *URL* keyword filtering, not page content keyword filtering. Again, it's ok, but doesn't deserve the credit many are giving it.

    Dans Guardian I haven't had a chance to test yet. It'll take the longest to test, and it'll be much easier if I can find a Linux distro that's just for Dans, but I suspect it'll technically be out of reach for most users.

    I think in the end, you want user account level control, so you can block different things for your 5yr old than you do for your 14yr old. I also think keyword based blocking would be key. Such as, here's a list of bad keywords, if a page has any of them, either block the page, or strip the keywords out of it before showing it. A router based solution in addition to the other stuff I just mentioned would be beneficial, but again, I wouldn't rely on it as your only method of filtering.
     
  12. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    Windows 7 has a Parental Control app.

    -http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/features/parental-controls.aspx-
     
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