Best Parental Internet Filter in 2023
TigerMom - Parental Control Internet & Mobile Devices, Control Apps, Set Internet Access Time Limits, Block & Filter Harmful Content, Works on WiFi, Android & iOS Devices, Free for Lifetime
Circle Home Plus (2nd Gen) | Parental Controls - Internet & Mobile Devices | Works on Wifi, Android & iOS Devices | Control Apps, Set Screen Time Limits, Block & Filter Content | LIFETIME Subscription
- COVERS EVERY DEVICE - Limit screen Time and block online content for mobile phones, computers, tablets, gaming consoles, smart TVs, and more.
- APP + DEVICE SOLUTION- Download the Circle app and connect the Circle home Plus Device to your router to start managing every Device, at-home and away.
- CUSTOMIZE PROFILES - Adjust individual family member’s settings based on age and maturity.
- BUILT FOR FAST NETWORKS - Features 1GB Ethernet Port.
- EXCLUSIVE OFFER - Includes lifetime subscription With access to all premium features. Perfect for those who don’t want to worry about monthly subscription fees.
NetAngel Router Internet Filter, Porn Blocker, Instant Alerts, Always-On Web Filtering, Parental Controls, Gigabit Ethernet WiFi Router
- PARENTAL CONTROLS - Filter inappropriate content. Know in seconds when pornography is blocked by getting text messages. Enforce SafeSearch on Google and Bing, enforce Restricted Mode on YouTube. Paid subscription required after 1 month for continued filtering, otherwise can use as a non-filtered gigabit router for free forever
- ALL DEVICES - Smartphones, Tablets, iOS, Android, Apple, Windows, Computers, Laptops, Gaming Consoles, and Smart TVs. Protect devices that leave the home. Work, school, out with friends, 3G/4G mobile network
- FAST - Filtering without slowing you down. Gigabit ethernet ports and 1200mbps wifi
- CUSTOMIZABLE - You decide what you want filtered. Specific categories and websites to always allow or always block
- VALUE - Includes 1 month of NetAngel membership ($15 value) with ability to protect unlimited devices outside the home network, using our iOS/Android apps and Apple and Windows applications. $15/month afterwards for continued service
The CleanerNet Safe Internet Filter with Unlimited Home & Mobile Device Protection | Cloud-Based Monitoring & Parental Controls Powered by Router Limits
- NEW AND IMPROVED – As of October 2019 Router Limits products are now sold under The CleanerNet name. Installation, set up, and support have all been overhauled and greatly improved. We invite you to experience better, safer internet and customer service with The CleanerNet.
- SIMPLE TO INSTALL AND USE – Just plug the Mini into your existing WiFi router, activate your account, and set up your limits. **NOTE** This device is NOT compatible with some routers. You can confirm this online and use the CleanerNet Router instead (ASIN# B0842CCMGQ) if the Mini is incompatible with your device.
- ONLINE PROTECTION FOR YOUR WHOLE FAMILY – Online addictions, cyber-bullying, and human trafficking are all on the rise and that is why it is more important than ever that we protect our families from harmful internet content. The CleanerNet puts you in control of when and what your family members can access online.
- MOBILE DEVICE PROTECTION - With mobile protection The CleanerNet goes wherever your family members do. Download The CleanerNet app to any iOS or Android Device to limit and protect all of the devices your family members use no matter what network they connect to.
- GREAT VALUE: The CleanerNet Router includes a full year of protection and browsing history for all of your devices absolutely free. After that it is only $9.99 per/mo. or $99.99 per/yr. to continue with our service.
Children and Internet Safety at Home
This article explains the dangers of children on the internet. There is no program you can buy or install that will promote your exact morals, ethics, and educational goals while preventing kids from seeing everything you want blocked.
Most of my friends now have kids too, so...
Over the past few years, the number and range of kid-friendly software and websites have dramatically increased. Some time spent reviewing and cataloging the kid software and websites out there is time well spent and can let you develop a computer environment where the computer becomes a teaching tool, and supplement to their school work, rather than just a time-waste.
My main concern with a computer is that its a tool... and any tool can have good or bad uses. So, developing just the "right" computer environment is even better time spent. Over the last year, my kids have added the home computer to their daily activities and I thought I would share some thoughts related to kids and computers.
The key to make this work involves some long hard thinking on your part to to explicitly define what is acceptable. Then comes the long hard process of finding the tools and techniques to reject everything you don't find acceptable. These might require a measure of technical learning to understand which tools really meet your needs, and a measure of time to do the research to find those tools... then more technical learning to correctly configure and use them. But, the tradeoff is that you will be much more aware of the pitfalls of computer and internet access, as well as aware of the measures you have in place to avoid them.
--- Some Key Points ---------------------------
Install programs that encourage acceptable activities like those that promote education or skills, not just mindless violence games and social software designed for adults.
The computer is not a babysitter. There is simply no substitute for a concerned caregiver watching what their kids are doing with a computer.
There is no program you can buy or install that will promote your exact morals, ethics, and educational goals while preventing kids from seeing everything you want blocked. But, there are a lot of tools that can help take some of the workload off. Use them, but don't expect them to be 100%.
The best way to keep kids out of trouble on the Internet is to keep kids off of the Internet.
Disconnect their computer by default, only allow there computer on the net in a way you can control and see, and disconnect the Internet connection itself when you are not around.
Set your policy early, and stick to it. Mine is:
I must review every site and program before you use it.. Everything not explicitly allowed is denied. I can, do, and will see everything.
--- Good Programs, Bad Programs -------------------
Sadly, the most widely installed OS in the world is designed to get kids in trouble by default. Windows does not include any kid-friendly design or activities. Instead, it is designed to put office workers on the Internet without any protections, and as a platform for expensive addon office tools.
Luckily, there are alternatives to Windows that are much more kid-friendly, out of the box.
I switched the my childrens computer to an operating system called Fedora which has many kid-friendly activities and games that aren't just mindless violence. Yes, there are mindless violence games available, but these are elective, not installed by default. I chose Fedora because it is the base OS for MIT's One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. OLPC is developing the "XO" hardware and the "Sugar" software to bring affordable but powerful computing to kids worldwide. I thought that an OS and interface designed for kids (rather than office workers) might be just the things for a computer which will primarily be used by kids. Best of all, Fedora and the dozens (hundreds?) of kid-friendly games and activities for it can be downloaded, installed, and run free of charge because they are all based on Free/Libre' Open-Source Software. You can even test it without making a single change to your current OS, by downloading and burning a "Live CD" of Fedora, or the OLPC version called "Sugar". Put the LiveCD in your computer, boot it, and explore, without changing the content of your hard drive.
Fedora or Sugar make an inexpensive OS choice for any older computers laying around extra, because they do not require nearly the same amount of resources as Windows. Just look at the specs of the XO hardware for the OLPC... a 400Mhz CPU? Fedora and Sugar should run well on anything that could run Windows 95 or later.
--- Kids and the Internet ---------------------------
The first computer activity our kids got interested in was a website called Starfall. Starfall can help kids learn a lot of reading, math, and environmental information quickly.
The Noggin website can also help kids learn a variety of concepts and skills, but requires a bit more vigilance to make sure your kids don't get directed out of the site and into one of the advertising laden sites related to Noggin, like the Nick Jr. or Cartoon Network websites.
Just know that most kids sites are based on content developed in Macromedia's Flash, which require a lot of computer resources to run well... anything more than an 500MHz CPU with a reasonable video card should be okay.
--- Keeping Kids Out of Trouble On The Internet -----
There are other good websites out there as well, but it pays to review each one before letting the kids have free run of it. Specifically, look for places on the site where kids can follow links to OTHER sites. Web-based Chat areas also require special attention, as these are a favorite place for sexual predators to connect to kids, usually completely unmonitored. As drastic as it sounds, the best way to keep kids out of trouble on the Internet is to keep kids off of the Internet.
For my children, I built them a computer that does not have a connection to the Internet, unless I run a physical wire from my office. Problem solved, until they figure out how to hack into my computer which IS on the net and surf from there. However, the Internet is literally a connection to people and information from around the world.
If you want to use the computer as a teaching tool, then the Internet is too rich a resource to pass up. So, how to get to the good and avoid the bad?Remember, it only takes one click, or one mistyped link to jump from a "safe" space to a site about the most horrific thing you can imagine. If you start with a policy of "every site not explicitly allowed is denied" then you will set the kids expectations from the beginning. People resent it more when you take away something they already had, than they do not being allowed to have it in the first place. Many parents regret letting their kids onto the Internet without restriction, and then having to fight over "setting policy" later, once the inevitable horror of what the kids can really access sets in.
Luckily, there are a lot of tools for parents that can help set that policy. Most home routers now include options to let parents set a list of "acceptable" web pages for their kids to go to. ISPs offer parental tools as part of their service offering. You can install programs directly to the PC itself that help will accomplish this as well. Just like corporate computer security, "defense in depth" can help parents walk the line of allowing just what they want kids to access, but no more.
Defense in depth means getting and using multiple layers of tools and configurations... rather than trying to find an "all in one" solution. Use the tools the ISP provide. Use to tools your internet connection hardware provides. Add tools to your PC itself. And, most importantly, educate your kids best tool, their own brain, on what is okay with you, what is not, and why its not.
For example, the twins first computer was configured so that it could ONLY connect to mine. On my computer, I ran a program called a "web proxy". The kids computer could connect to mine, and the browser on the kids computer could ask the web proxy on mine to load pages for them.
The Privoxy web proxy that I use allows me to specify an "Access Control List", by computer. I simply setup an access control list that said the kids computer could ask for starfall, and everything else was denied. This kept the kids from accidentally clicking to any other site, or mistyping the location and landing on some scary webpage. Solutions like this are relatively simple to build.
I explained to the kids that I must run a program before they could access anything like Starfall, and I explained why. At 3 years old, they understood and accepted my explanation that there were parts of the Internet they could not see until they were older. They never complained about any place they tried to go that did not work, because they understood why.
Each filter program has a web page it will show when you try to go to a blocked site. My friend customized his "page blocked" message to have his picture on it, with a message that said "I can see where you are trying to go." He reports it was terribly effective at getting his kids to police themselves, and their friends while surfing from his house. He had some funny stories about his (and others) kids mis-clicking something, and running down the hall to explain to him what happened before he even knew about it.
--- By Word and Image, not By Link or Domain ---
The bad news is that even sites that are mostly acceptable can accidentally or intentionally contain unacceptable pages. The Wikipedia is a good example of this problem. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia with gobs of fun and useful information. However, wikipedia is designed to let ANYONE change their web pages, and post the changes without review. Generally, this lets wikipedia expand and change in good ways very rapidly... anyone in the world can become a "field researcher" for Wikipedia.
However, some people will occasionally deface wiki pages replacing the useful information with anything awful that you can imagine. When this happens, wikipedia usually cleans up it quickly, because anyone who sees the page has the power to fix it, too. For parents, this lack of control over the content means that you can't really trust the site name, or even the specific link to the specific page. Once you request the page, you should really run the results through a filter that you control and block out everything you don't want. Unfortunately, there are no "100% effective" filters, except for your eyes and mind.
--- The Internet is Not Just the Web ---
While most of the focus on kid-friendly computing is around the web browsing activity... there's usually a LOT more going on.
--- P2P ---
"Peer-to-peer" programs let individual computers advertise files for sharing, and accept connections directly from others. However, despite claims otherwise, the main use of peer-to-peer programs is to trade illegal copies of programs, movies, or music.
Lately, movie and music companies have begun filing lawsuits against kids who trade illegal files, and their parents for allowing it. While there are a handful of good uses for "P2P"
programs, none of those good uses absolutely require a P2P program to be possible. A non-P2P alternative is always available. Your kids computer is probably better off without P2P at all.
--- Instant Messaging and IRC ---
Instant messaging programs (and their predecessor, IRC) pose just as much of a problem for parents as browsing the web.
Ask yourself and them these questions. Who are your kids chatting with? Do you know these people (and their parents) in real life? What are they saying?
I suspect that 99.999% of instant messaging is not about homework. Instant messaging programs also allow people to swap files... so all of the problems of P2P come bundled in your instant messenger.
Personally, when my kids begin to ask for instant messaging, I will use a service like Jabber which allows me total control over who and what can be sent. Because it is Internet standard, the details of how XMPP work are widely known, making many free and open source programs available. These programs can allow me to control and monitor the kids instant messaging a lot better than a closed proprietary program like AOL, MSN, Yahoo, or ICQ.
In fact, the Jabber server software is freely available, letting me build my own instant messaging server. From there I can filter, block, and log everything I want.
--- Email ---
E-mail is still one of the most widely used features of the Internet. E-mail can be the problems of the web, P2P, and instant messengers, all rolled into one. Just like instant messaging, you might wonder who your kids are e-mailing, what they are saying, and more. Keep in mind that e-mail can also swap programs, music and videos too.
--- Kids and Privacy ---
There is a lot of talk about kids and their need for privacy. That is well and good, but I do not believe that applies to the computer or the Internet. My policy with my children is simple and draconian. The computer and internet connection are mine, not theirs. I reserve the right to see or block anything on the computer or the Internet as long as they live under my roof. This policy is non-negotiable. If they don't like it, they can buy their own computer and internet connection when they move out.
In my opinion, there are too many objectionable sites, programs, activities, scam artists, and predators on the Internet to have it any other way. I will do my best to keep my kids out of that mess. but I also realize I will have to explain what I am blocking to them, to help prepare them to deal with it themselves. When the kids get a bit older, I plan to add a bootup and login banner page with my "mean daddy face" picture on it that says: "This is still my house, and my computer. Nothing you do or say with this computer is private. I see everything that you or your friends are doing, and if I don't like it, I will stop it and you will get in trouble. Don't do anything I wouldn't want you to do." They will have to click the "Yes Sir! I understand and agree" button before they can do anything else.
Then, when they go somewhere that triggers my blocking program we can discuss it: why its blocked, why they wanted to see it, etc. Then I can choose to exempt it, or leave it blocked, myself.
Also be aware that your measures do not apply to other people's houses... so make sure you explain your feelings about what is and is not acceptable for the kids to access when they stay with friends or relatives. Also, understand that while they are out, the kids WILL likely access things they know they shouldn't. Something to think about...
--- Final Thoughts ---
Parents with kids using computers, especially on the internet, can benefit a lot from corporate security practices. Know what activities you want the kids to do, and not do. Set a policy and stick to it. Install the tools and processes to enforce that policy. Educate the kids on what the policy is, and why you have set it.
Monitor everything. Prevent any activity you don't explicitly agree with. Allow "grey area" activity only after discussing it and agreeing on a reason to allow it.