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Web content filter recommendations (for kids)

Posted on 2011-09-15
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Last Modified: 2013-12-08
I've never used host-based web content filters and am looking for recommendations/discussion from those who do.

A product named "dansguardian" (http://dansguardian.org/) was mentioned in a school newsletter, but I've never heard of it.

If you have personal experience with using filters for kids Internet surfing, please post your comments and links to the product.

Thank you.
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Question by:younghv
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by:sofoust
ID: 36542957
I have had really good luck with K9 Web Protection.  It is very customizable, and you can override a webpage with a password if need be.
k9 web protection
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Author Comment

by:younghv
ID: 36543055
Hi sofoust,
Thank you for posting.
Have you compared K9 with the basic web filtering function in IE?

I always use the basic HOSTS file protection of (http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm) on all computers and I'm wondering if I really need to add another program to the computer - if I activate the "Content Advisor" in IE.

Thanks.
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sofoust earned 250 total points
ID: 36543126
I have tried the content advisor in IE.  It works, but it didn't seem to be as complete as K9.  K9 is constantly updated by the company. Also using the seperate program gives you the ability to bypass the control with a password that you setup.  

Also, if you accidentally left your computer unlocked and a kid learned a little about computers, a lot of times they can turn the content advisor off from your account.  With K9 it always asks for the password, even when you are logged into your account.  I have setup this program in a lot of small businesses because of the level of control.  You can go in and allow certain categories if they need to do research for school or if it is something that you think they can see.
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by:younghv
ID: 36543145
Good comments - thank you.
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by:sofoust
ID: 36543163
No problem, let me know if you have anymore questions.
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Expert Comment

by:leakim971
ID: 36543195
You may use : http://www.opendns.com/
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Author Comment

by:younghv
ID: 36543202
I just read through the "Privacy Policy" of K9 and - as with so many others - it appears to give them the right to collect and sell your personal information and surfing habits.

I fully understand (and support) the right of developers to make money from their efforts, but I would much rather pay for a product and maintain some semblance of privacy.

<With the full understanding that my 'semblance of privacy' may be entirely illusional.>
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by:younghv
ID: 36543231
@leakim971,
I have the same privacy concerns with OpenDNS.
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by:leakim971
ID: 36543283
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by:sofoust
ID: 36543287
It states
 Use of Information Generally
Blue Coat uses the information collected for several general purposes: to fulfill your requests for products, services or information; to deliver requested goods and updates; to inform you about the latest product developments, software updates and other information from us or from our business partners that we believe will be of interest to you; and to improve the content and general administration of our Web site. We may also use your information to send you, or to have our business partners send you, direct marketing information or to contact you for market research. We do not rent, sell or lease this personally identifiable information to other companies or individuals.

I would hope they would not do that, and the only information it says they collect is what you give them on their site only.
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by:younghv
ID: 36543337
The caveat of "business partners" is how all of these folks (including Google) duck the privacy issue. A "business partner" is any advertiser/seller willing to pay the subscription fees.

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Assisted Solution

by:lancecurwensville
lancecurwensville earned 250 total points
ID: 36543384
I've used Dans Guardian in a small school setting and it worked pretty well, however, here are the issues that I found with it:

1.  The version I used was not a "cloud solution", rather, a standalone box on the network that client's proxied too.
2.  Dan's Guardian only will work with linux; I'm not good with linux and I didn't care for the setup. --Please note, I am not saying Linux isn't a solid OS, just that I personally don't care for it.
3.  Uses Squid Proxy or Tiny Proxy, again, not being fluent with linux, this was a real pain in setting up.
4.  Over-riding websities required access through either a VNC/RDP connection or physical access to the box.
5.  The lab attendants overseeing the computer's usage had issues with over-riding websites as they were not linux fluent either.
6....And this was the worst....every change to the black/white/grey list of sites required restarting both squid/tiny proxy AND the dans guardian service....a major PITA.
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by:younghv
ID: 36543421
@Lance -
Thank you for the extensive comments and information.
I must have closed this as you were typing and didn't refresh my screen.

I will ask the Moderators to re-open the question to allow me to re-distribute the points.
Thank you.
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Expert Comment

by:lancecurwensville
ID: 36543446
I guess the other side that I should have mentioned....In dealing with schools for over ten years, hands down, the absolute best filter I've used is Netspective.  http://www.telemate.net/products/netspective/webfilter.php

Excellent filtration, integrates with AD, allows filter groups by OU, and maybe the best part about it is the reporting functionality.  Can run reports by computer IP, user, or website as granular as you want to go.
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Author Comment

by:younghv
ID: 36543511
That one looks like a good one.
My favorite when I was doing Network security was iPrism by StBernard. Great product.

This question was just me looking for something reliable to install on my grandsons' computers in a stand-alone home environment.

Thanks.
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Author Closing Comment

by:younghv
ID: 36543639
Good comments from both of you.
Thank you.
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