content filter DNS

Should I Enable A Content Filter? A Look At DNS Content Filtering

Is enabling a content filter through a DNS an effective approach to protecting your family from the explicit nature of the internet? We wanted to briefly talk about something we’ve seen recently that is a unique approach to creating a filter for your internet. Content filters are actually a really good way to help protect your house from a lot of the negative things existing there. It’s definitely not a perfect solution. But it’s just one more effective measure we can take to help filter out the bad from coming into our world.

What is DNS?

The Domain Name System (DNS) is the phonebook of the internet. Humans access information online through domain names, like NYTimes or ESPN. But web browsers interact with IP addresses instead. DNS translates these into a human-readable form so that they may load resources on websites including articles from any site without needing to memorize an address which can become outmoded over time. 

What Is A DNS Filter

A DNS filter blocks a website that it believes is harmful or is hosting malicious content. By blocking access, you can prevent your computer (or any device connected to your network) from downloading and executing potentially dangerous programs on the internet. This way they won’t have any opportunity of infecting one of your systems with malware because they will not even get through! And it’s not just malware either. If you want to block or filter social media sites, or video sites, or gaming sites…it’s easy to do so.

A lot more goes into determining what websites are deemed “bad” than just their URL alone, so these DNS filters check many other factors before deciding if an IP deserves isolation.

Let’s Talk Content Filters

What is content filtering? A content filter is a use of a program, software, or app to filter or “screen” out access to certain web pages (and email) that are defined as bad. You would install a content filter or enable a content filter for your network. In most cases, a program is going to help you select different categories you deem inappropriate for your house to view on the internet. What this will do is help you control content with all the devices in your home connected to your network. So if you want to make sure that pornography or anything like pornography is blocked from the internet in your house, then you can checkmark it. Let’s say you have somebody in your family that suffers from gaming addiction, you can make sure that gaming sites are blocked in your house. 

A content filter is really just going to help you block the things your family sees as negative or inappropriate. Although you install a content filter on your network instead of on an individual device, we highly recommend still installing programs at the individual device level for added protection. But when you install a content filter on the network, it’s actually going to cover every device in your home (at least those connected to the network), so this means smart TVs, gaming systems, mobile devices, and tablets; basically, anything that has a screen which could give one access to the internet. A content filter is going to help protect all of those devices. even the ones that might not have a good monitoring app built into them like a gaming system.

Should You Add Content Filtering At The DNS Level?

As always, you should do what’s best for your family. What might be acceptable in one family might not be acceptable for others. We’re all about multiple levels of protection. Kids are smart. The folks behind getting the bad content in front of our eyes are even smarter (heck…most of them make their living doing it). In almost any situation where we’re trying to protect and monitor internet use in the home, there is probably some method or idea to circumvent that protection. People and brands (good and bad) are always competing for eyeballs because eyeballs mean cash. But…sometimes what is put out on the internet isn’t meant for everyone. 

Guess what? There really aren’t many perfect solutions to this. And because of that, every little level and a layer of added security is just one more weapon in our arsenal to help us accomplish our goals with proper use of the internet in the home. Should you add content filtering at the DNS level? Absolutely. Is it a perfect solution? Far from it.

We have a step-by-step article on a free and easy DNS Filter, OpenDNS: How To Setup Open DNS For Content Filtering

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