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Education The Internet

What Filters Are Right For Kids? 678 678

WaywardGeek writes "My daughter is using phrases like 'hot guys,' and soon will have a chat about the birds and the bees. I believe in letting kids discover the world as it is, and have no Internet controls on any of our systems, which are mostly Linux based. However, it's not fair for aggressive porn advertisers to splash sex in her face without her permission. My question is: What Linux-based Internet filtering solution do Slashdot dads favor, and do they hinder a child's efforts to learn about the world?"
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What Filters Are Right For Kids?

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  • Adblock (Score:5, Informative)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:23PM (#27227923) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, if all you are worried about is her getting porn ads when she doesn't want them, just use adblock.
  • Use openDNS (Score:5, Informative)

    by sammy_cda (783295) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:26PM (#27227993)
    Use openDNS and set up an account. Point your router's DNS settings to their servers. It allows a few different levels of filtering. You can change the levels of filtering as she grows older.
  • OpenDNS (Score:4, Informative)

    by jkupko (645842) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:28PM (#27228039)
    Just change your DNS servers to OpenDNS (http://www.opendns.com/ [opendns.com]) and register your IP with them. You can use their category-based filtering to block the pr0n. Block adware, malware, and phishing while you're at it. Oh, and enjoy a faster DNS service and extensive stats pages. If you are worried about a dynamic IP from your ISP, don't be: most ISP's preferentially reassign IPs to customers instead of switching it up. Happy censoring!
  • AdBlock (Score:3, Informative)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:33PM (#27228159) Homepage

    Being Linux, you're likely using FireFox or one of it's builds (eg. Debian's IceWeasel). I recommend the AdBlock add-on, and possibly the NoScript add-on as well. In the process of blocking ads in general, AdBlock's going to get most of the porn ads as well. Set up bogofilter for e-mail filtering and you'll quickly get all the spam (including all the porn spam) diverted into a junk folder (Thunderbird has similar filtering built-in with it's junk-mail flagging feature, I use bogofilter mainly because I alternate between Thunderbird and Pine as my mail readers and want the junk-mail filtering to happen regardless of which one I'm using at the moment). That should take care of the majority of the problem. What's left will be search result spam, and those are mostly obvious from reading the result without having to visit the site to find out.

  • Re:The simple one. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Borealis (84417) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:36PM (#27228239) Homepage

    I second this one. Filterware is a bogus solution in just about any case, as there will always be sites it doesn't filter that it should and sites that it does filter that it shouldn't. The best solution is to put the computer in a place where you can always see what is being looked at.

    My son's computer is directly beside mine.

    Also, as embarrassing as it may be for you, teaching your children comprehensive sex education at an early age won't hurt them any.

  • DansGuardian (Score:4, Informative)

    by pjbgravely (751384) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `2ylevargbjp'> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:38PM (#27228309) Homepage Journal
    DansGuardian [dansguardian.org]

    Either put it on their desktop or install on a server if they use OSX/Microsoft windows.
  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:42PM (#27228373)
    Actually, something like that exists for Linux and any OS that uses DNS - check out OpenDNS.

    http://www.opendns.com/ [opendns.com]

    You can configure what levels of filters to use and even customize the page that opendns supplies when a forbidden link is clicked.

    They are also working to block some of the botnet phone homes.

    All you need to do is use their name servers. You can set up an account and configure what gets blocked and what doesn't.

    Also check out an enhanced hosts file at http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org].

    That will block a lot of requests from ever leaving the computer. You can also add in whatever others you want as well.
  • by American Terrorist (1494195) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:46PM (#27228455)
    I got open internet access when I was 12, saw a lot of porn, it didn't scar me. Of course I saw a lot of mags before that. I understand your concern, but images of people having sex probably aren't going to make your kids crazy. Young bonobos see the adults go at it all the time, they seem to turn out OK. What you don't want is her being too young and actually having sex; that should be the focus of your conversation with her.
  • Re:The simple one. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:48PM (#27228489)

    Happens to me about once a day -- about every time I go to mininova or whatever, but forgot to turn on privoxy. Whatever, I'm old enough to ignore it (and know what I want when I look for it). But it happens.

  • Re:The simple one. (Score:3, Informative)

    by kirbysuperstar (1198939) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:48PM (#27228491) Homepage

    I have to ask...do people REALLY that often, hit porn sites by accident?


  • How about a proxy? (Score:2, Informative)

    by pig-power (1069288) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:48PM (#27228507)
    If the OP is using a linux router/gateway machine, why not use something as simple as squid-guard?
    http://www.squidguard.org/ [squidguard.org]
    http://www.squid-cache.org/ [squid-cache.org]
    Blacklists here: http://www.shallalist.de/ [shallalist.de]
    It allows for customization (trusted/untrusted) and seems to be very effective. Good luck!
  • Firefox Addon (Score:2, Informative)

    by circlingthesun (1327623) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:50PM (#27228543)
    Foxfilter is a password protected firefox content filter. So unless you have another browser installed it should do the job. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4351 [mozilla.org]
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:50PM (#27228547) Homepage

    I can say with certainty that I sincerely doubt I was damaged in any way by getting the birds & bees understanding at the tender age of 3. In fact, I suspect that I ended up with significantly healthier attitudes, because when my classmates were going gaga over boobs I was more wondering what the big deal was.

    "The innocence of childhood" is a concept used to protect parents from the thought that their kids are going to grow up and have sex. It has nothing to do with protecting kids, and everything to do with making adults think they're protecting kids.

  • Re:How about.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:54PM (#27228605) Homepage

    Privoxy. http://www.privoxy.org/ [privoxy.org]

    Solves all the problems with accidental advertising porn.

  • Re:Privoxy (Score:4, Informative)

    by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @02:02PM (#27228739)

    If he wants a filter that is more difficult to bypass by the child, Privoxy is pretty handy.

    Well, he specifically said he doesn't. He said he "believes in letting kids discover the world as it is" and that it's not fair for porn advertisers to display sex "without her permission," he didn't say his. I think that means he wants her to be able to bypass it if she wants to, but doesn't want her to be exposed to things she's not specifically looking for.

    Pretty reasonable stance, and I think adblock is the way to go.

  • Re:The simple one. (Score:5, Informative)

    by geminidomino (614729) * on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @02:04PM (#27228785) Journal

    Sure it does.

    1) /etc/hosts - Unwieldy, but effective.
    2) apt-get install bind - A little better, zone files are available
    3) OpenDNS and the like...
    4) Privoxy
    5) Squid+Junkbuster
    6) ...

  • Re:Thanks (Score:2, Informative)

    by sjaskow (143707) <stuart.jaskowiak ... l.com minus poet> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @02:04PM (#27228787) Homepage

    I use dansguardian on Hardy Heron for filtering my daughter's access. I like the fact that I can adjust just what gets blocked as she gets older.

    However, I do believe the best filter is the one where parents practice that ago old filter of "No, you can't do that".

  • Re:The simple one. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ephemeriis (315124) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @02:11PM (#27228947)

    I have to ask...do people REALLY that often, hit porn sites by accident?

    I mean, I can count on one hand (I know I know) the number of times I've actually had porn flash up on my browser when I was not looking for it....in all these years.

    How bad a problem is this actually? From anecdotal evidence, I'd have to guess if someone has porn on the screen....they were looking for it.

    Depends on the situation, the user, etc... But, yes, it does happen accidentally.

    You can throw some pretty innocent phrases into Google and get some pretty interesting results. Some torrent search sites, which are very popular for folks looking to download music, have pretty explicit advertising on them. And it's entirely too easy to wind up on somebody's mailing list and get deluged with advertisements for various adult services. Some malware pops up advertising as well, sometimes it is of the adult variety.

  • Re:The simple one. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Asmor (775910) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @02:12PM (#27228949) Homepage

    When you were 10 a google was not a fixed value or anything for that matter.

    Perhaps you're thinking of a googol [wikipedia.org].

  • by ndansmith (582590) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @02:13PM (#27228987)

    Yeah, OpenDNS should probably be supplemented, because Google image search, cache, etc. avoid name resolution.

  • by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @02:20PM (#27229109) Journal

    Dude, right on! I'm the original poster, and I have to tell you, this is exactly what I was looking for. I've set filter level to 'medium', for malware/phishing and porn. As the kids grow old enough to figure out how to get around it, they're probably old enough to handle unfiltered content.

    I hate to sound like an add for these guys, but hey, it's free, and in a few minutes of testing, it blocked 100% of the porn sites I tried to visit, but nothing from wikipedia.org. Search for 'sex' on wikipedia, and you still get a useful, informative site. Search for 'sex' on Google, and not one hard-core porn site is allowed, but metacafe.com gets through. The 'cached' links from Google show hard-core porn thumbnails, though. Not perfect, but way better than I was expecting! Thanks!

  • Re:The simple one. (Score:3, Informative)

    by gnick (1211984) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @02:24PM (#27229201) Homepage

    I've been rick rolled plenty, but thankfully there are no memes that involve duping people into going to NSFW sites and getting written up by HR.

    Really? I've seen more than a couple of goatse links here on /. that were pretending to be something else - I'd classify that as NSFW. It's just that most of us have at one point or another run in to goatse and know to avoid it. And /. is not a place people come looking for porn - I could understand this guy's daughter noticing that her dad has "News For Nerds" bookmarked, wandering in here, and then clicking on a link that would flash some really nasty stuff in her face.

    [poor-attempt-at-humor] To help out the less tech-savvy public out there, the only real solution is intelligent well-thought-out legislation. Please vote Lemon Party in the next election. [/poor-attempt-at-humor]

    If you are at work (or actually anywhere), do not actually google Lemon Party. I will not be held responsible for the mental trauma.

  • Smoothwall3.0 (Score:0, Informative)

    by Sam36 (1065410) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @03:11PM (#27230179)
    Get an old computer and install smoothwall3.0 and then install the dansguardian mod for it http://community.smoothwall.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=28154 [smoothwall.org]

    If you don't have an old computer or want to save space then for about $150 you can get this small alix board plus case plus power supply: http://www.mini-box.com/Alix-2B0-Board-2-LAN-2-MINI-PCI_LX700_2 [mini-box.com]

If you think the system is working, ask someone who's waiting for a prompt.