Internet Filter: How Can I Control Internet access at Home?

Sep 26, 2019Learning Annex, WiFi Security

Whether you’re increasing your own device security or establishing parental controls to keep kids safe online, Internet filtering is a powerful tool.

What is Internet Filtering?

Internet filtering is a security feature that prevents a user of a computer or device from accessing certain websites or content online. Internet Filtering, web content filters, content filters, parental controls all mean the same thing – their main objective is to protect internet users from inappropriate internet content. Internet filtering can be part of security software, built-in on your devices, and even reside within your router or home network monitoring software.

What are the best Internet Filtering options?

1. Network Monitoring Software

Network monitoring software is designed to help you easily monitor and manage your home network with tools that can include advanced security features such as parental controls. Some network monitoring software, like Actiontec’s Optim Managed Wi-Fi, can alert you when anomalies in your network occur, as well as give you full visibility into the devices that are connected to your network at any given time.  Management tools included with network monitoring software can give you the ability to remove unwanted devices and to set up Guest WiFi logins to protect personal information on your home network.

2. Device-based software

Chances are, your device already has security features built into the operating system that protect your personal information. For example, Apple devices are designed to limit downloaded app access to your iPhone’s iOS system for protection. Android devices also feature built-in malware software to protect your information. Built-in device security software isn’t entirely fool proof and doesn’t inhibit access to inappropriate internet content, so it’s a good idea to enhance your network security with additional protection layers for optimal device security coverage.

3. Within your Browser:

Chrome – With Google Chrome you can create a supervised Chrome profile that allows you to manage the browsing of selected user profiles, such as your children’s profile. From here, you can establish “SafeSearch” settings that block explicit or adult content from search results.

FireFox – Similar to Chrome, FireFox browsers have a feature called “Safe Mode” that activates parental controls. When activated, safe mode automatically turns on the Internet filter safety feature and applies it to the websites visited.

Internet Explorer – Internet Explorer’s Internet filtering tool is called “Family Safety.” Once enabled from a Microsoft account, you can block files stored on the device, filter web content, control times when the device is accessible, and filter out inappropriate games, programs, and apps.

3. Within your Browser:

Chrome – With Google Chrome you can create a supervised Chrome profile that allows you to manage the browsing of selected user profiles, such as your children’s profile. From here, you can establish “SafeSearch” settings that block explicit or adult content from search results.

FireFox – Similar to Chrome, FireFox browsers have a feature called “Safe Mode” that activates parental controls. When activated, safe mode automatically turns on the Internet filter safety feature and applies it to the websites visited.

Internet Explorer – Internet Explorer’s Internet filtering tool is called “Family Safety.” Once enabled from a Microsoft account, you can block files stored on the device, filter web content, control times when the device is accessible, and filter out inappropriate games, programs, and apps.

4. Firewall Software/Hardware

A Firewall is a software program or hardware device that filters the information coming in to your home network from the Internet. Some Operating Systems come with a firewall built right in. A firewall provides a layer of protection for your network from malicious attacks, however, it cannot block everything. Firewall software/hardware can block websites that are deemed inappropriate and filter content based on your established requirements, however, a good rule to follow is to protect your network using multiple security layers.

5. Router Filtering

All internet traffic goes through your router. Having the proper security filters at that point in your network is important. Some routers have built-in tools to aid with filtering of websites. Navigating your router administrator tool can be complicated and confusing, but with network monitoring software, you can manage your security settings and devices all from an easy to navigate dashboard.

Managed Network software with Internet Filtering

By securing your network and using a managed Wi-Fi system, you not only have control of the devices on your network, but also securing those devices through parental controls. Some managed Wi-Fi solutions include Internet filters through parental control settings. Parental control features on a managed Wi-Fi system allow you to establish Internet usage time limits and manage websites access. Some managed Wi-Fi solutions allow you to set up profiles and customize the parental controls on each profile.

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