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How do I block access to porn sites from my PC?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 23, 2012 7:19 AM PDT
Question:
How do I block access to porn sites from my PC?


I want to permanently block all pornographic sites from my PC, in an
attempt to protect my 13-year old great grandson. How do I go about
blocking any site or domain with "XXX" in its address or domain name?
I know there is a "blacklist" but cannot recall how to access it. Or
is there some other method, including software to prevent access to
those sites. (I am a retired IT professional who survived a stroke and
kidney transplant, but cannot begin to remember how to block this type
of material permanently from my PC.) Your kind assistance would be
greatly appreciated.

- Submitted by Marti
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Ahh, difficult
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 23, 2012 8:51 AM PDT

I will let others give you their own methods and ideas, but I just wanted you to be aware, if you are not already, about search engines.

For example Google allows searches in various "Safe" modes.

Off - No filters and 'anything' works. For example, searching for 'explicit' web sites will not be filtered out, and even searching for innocent search terms may turn up explicit web sites and other results.

Moderate (Recommended) - excludes sexually explicit video and images but innocent search terms may still result in unwanted listings.

Strict - filters sexually explicit video and images from Google Search result pages, as well as results that might link to explicit content.

I got those details from http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2519950&rd=1 and that might help you more.

I am unsure how you can prevent users from resetting or changing these filters.

Mark

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Re: difficult
by Kees_B Forum moderator / March 23, 2012 9:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Ahh, difficult

He can just type any url he happens to know (from other PC's, from friends, whatever). And there are lots of adult sites without xxx in the name (I won't supply examples here). Typing the ip-address generally works just as well, although are more difficult to remember (but not more difficult to write down).

All I can advise the OP: search for parental control software. The ultimate ones have a positive list, only allowing the sites the parent (or, in this case, grandparent) vetted, like google and youtube and facebook (what more does a 13 year boy need?). Those that rely on an exclusion list are less reliable, because they hardly can contain all such sites all over the world.

Kees

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Not That Difficult Actually. Consider Net Nanny.
by webserf / March 23, 2012 12:26 PM PDT
In reply to: Ahh, difficult

There are services that can lock down a computer or home network, such as Net Nanny, etc..
Some are powerful enough that even tech savvy kids won't be able to get around them. The reason kids can't easily circumvent them is because they are "served" off-site, meaning that your internet connection is "Monitored" by a 3rd party vendor that consistently blocks porn sites as they come up.

Of course nothing is 100% perfect but there are some that do a pretty good job, and http://www.netnanny.com/ is one to take a look at. There are others, and a google search should give some options along with Net Nanny.
Just search for "Online Parental Controls".

Good luck!

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Net Nanny.
by P K Pal / March 30, 2012 3:23 PM PDT

Though the idea seems to be good but the repercussions are worst. You would not want a 3rd party monitoring ALL your net movements. You would be allowing yourself followed.

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This is exactly what you WOULD want..
by webserf / March 31, 2012 7:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Net Nanny.

You can choose which computers are being monitored. Do the research first before posting the potential repercussions?
Not trying to be snotty, but my suggestion was purely for the grandson's computer, and also assumes the OP is limited in computer-ease. Else the OP would not have been asked IMHO.

In short, I offered a suggestion that simplifies the effort and end result this OP was looking for!

Also, "3rd parties" are a fact of life, hence your internet provider, google, and the like. In essence the virtually only way not to be tracked is not to be online at all.

Cheers.

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Why?
by Flatworm / March 23, 2012 9:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Ahh, difficult

Pornography has been around as long as art.

I know there's a whole lot of overwrought hype about the horrible dangers of such things, but there is yet to be any evidence presented that it does anyone of any age any harm, and many studies have rather conclusively demonstrated that it not only does no harm even to children, but harm is done instead by our society's repressive attitudes toward sex. Sex-related crimes are nearly unknown in nations that have a less restrictive attitude toward such things as pornography and nudity.

I believe that one of the worst things that ever happened on these shores occurred long ago, when the Indians at Plymouth neglected to expel the Puritans. When a society fosters an unnatural attitude, like the attitude that sex is a bad thing, unnatural results are the consequence.

The kid's thirteen. He's going to find a way. You can be his friend or his foe in that regard, but if you succeed in repressing his natural hormonal urges you'll screw him up far more than anything he will suffer from a little T&A. Nothing harms a psyche than telling it that everything it desires is wrong.

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Seriously?
by Chaos-Katie / March 30, 2012 11:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Why?

All I want to say is porn in comparison to what it used to be has become a lot more than just a little T&A and that actual sex and nudity vary greatly against the scope of what porn is now. There is some seriously disturbing and vile fetishes that could permanently warp a young kids mind. I am all for adults choosing to be into their own thing but kids still need to be parented. We aren't talking about the occasional playboy or hustler (etc) popping up from under the kids bed anymore...that's understandable and even a kid trying to look at porn on the internet is understandable when it comes their curiosity. There have been a lot of studies showing that porn has become so huge that it is affecting people's (not only men) libido, desire, development, and commitment to relationships in a very negative way. There was a recent study (I can't remember where I read it), that was saying that men in their late 20's and early 30's are now having performance issues with their sexual partners (if they had one) due to the alter reality created from the porn they have become addicted to. Now that's not to say that's everyone nowadays, but it is something to consider. Wouldn't a kid or man rather have real sex than pleasure himself with a hand or pocket [expletive] because it's convenient? I know some would say no (since being a relationship is so terrible and constricting), but I bet if you met up with them in their 50's or later, they may say they wished they had made an alternate choice when they were younger. When E.D. strikes and your all alone with your porn, who do you talk too? Or do you pop a blue pill and rub your monkey until its raw and unsatisfied? LOL, sorry, I couldn't help myself. I just wanted to point out that there are studies that have said otherwise. Porn for adults who choose is one thing but kids who find and become obsessed can be quite something else entirely.

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Why not?
by dk518 / March 30, 2012 1:01 PM PDT
In reply to: Why?

There actually may be some "research" that gives does not show "evidence" that there is no harm. However, there is plenty of research (real research) that shows there is plenty of harm. You only have to go back to Jeffrey Dahmer to see that there isn't even need for research.

And I love your account of how the Native Americans (your choice of words is so not politically correct - "Indians" indeed!) should have "expelled" the Puritans! I suppose you haven't heard that the people populating this part of the world before the Native Americans should have expelled them?

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I Prefer Science
by Flatworm / March 31, 2012 1:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Why not?

Actually, when a society attempts to prohibit a behavior that is widespread, there really should be some evidence that discouraging such behavior is harmful. I don't believe that anecdotally citing Jeffrey Dahmer as a post hoc argument is generally enlightening.

If you know of such a study from a SCIENTIFIC (rather than a right-wing or religious) organization I would be pleased, if a bit surprised given the huge body of evidence with which it would conflict, to hear of it.

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I mostly agree with Flatworm...
by rae2_2 / March 30, 2012 11:22 PM PDT
In reply to: Why?

Locking the cookie jar only increases the desire for cookies. Everyone knows that.

There is as much "evidence" on both sides of the "porn" issue - which means, of course, as with religions, what you CHOOSE to believe, becomes your "truth." But that doesn't mean you holding a valid belief.

Someone is reported to have said the BEST defense is an offense. If I had a 13 year old girl or boy, she or he would most likely have by now been introduced to the wacky world of human sexualities, at least in print and video, and probably with friends. Parents getting all hysterical about locking out porn sites from the internet are NOT going to do anything but stoke the fires of desire, so to speak. But you can't tell some parents that - they'll believe what they want to believe - end of story.

No, the BEST defence is to sit down with your kid for a "show and tell all" session. But there's a problem. I suspect many parents are more ignorant and are more hung up about the human sexualities than their kids! Just because they've "done it" doesn't mean they know enough about it to be considered qualified to teach their children. All uneducated parents can do is pass along what they were taught plus what they've experienced... the sum of which may fall far short of REALITY.

All that said, I admit I've seen some pretty disgusting and potentially physically harmful scenarios that screwed up adults can get into. But it's my considered opinion, based on a lifetime of being a qualified social worker, that a child ARMED WITH KNOWLEDGE is far safer than one DENIED KNOWLEDGE. The kids need to know the difference between warm, respectful expressions of human sexuality and the degrading and harmful interactions that populate some internet sites. Know this: the kids WILL encounter BOTH no matter how many locks you put on their computers.

So it's your choice. Either you let them discover the good and bad stuff BY THEMSELVES, or you introduce it to them yourself with your reasons "why." Those are your only choices. But as I said, there's a potentially greater problem that the sexually "hung up" and ignorant parent will do more harm by filling the kids' heads with info that simply is NOT correct.

The human sexualities are almost infinitely complex and human interactions are mostly beyond predicted outcomes. No one knows how any individual will react to a given experience. Some won't even remember it while another will need a lifetime of therapy. It's my view that HOW a child will reaction depends greater on how the parent deals with it. While it's a knee-jerk reaction by parents to block all porn "just in case," the fact that IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to block it all means that parents cannot "block all porn" no matter how hard they try. Once even one picture is seen the horse is out of the barn. Anything you do after that is simply slamming the door. Not too bright even if well meaning.

It's for sure... soon as the child realizes you're hiding something from them... THEY WILL FIND A WAY TO SEE IT.

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It's called being a parent
by Chaos-Katie / March 31, 2012 4:56 AM PDT

It mostly comes down to you being a good parent and knowing what your kids are doing. Not being a friend or foe but being a responsible parent. The hands off approach of allowing your kids to do whatever they want works just as much as being an over controlling, restrictive parent. Simply saying, it doesn't work. I have seen both parenting styles back fire miserably. I agree that kids will find a way when they want too, but allowing them free reign, especially something like this is not healthy. I'm sure many of the few on here that agree that allowing it to remain open (meaning access to porn sites) would be less inclined to let their children smoke pot or experiment with drugs, when realistically, it's the same danger factor.

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Infinitely Complex. Almost.
by CrispinRobles / March 31, 2012 11:36 AM PDT

You're a moral relativist. Therefore, I doubt the original poster wants to hear your "advice." And since the human sexualities are almost infinitely complex and human interactions are mostly beyond predicted outcomes, what makes you more qualified than the rest of us to pontificate on such intricate matters? Oh, you're a social worker. Moreover, that anyone at all would need therapy, let alone a lifetime of it, is begging the question. By your line of reasoning, no one should hide from children anything deemed toxic, since children will find a way to try it. So don't hide the rat poison. They'll be eating it sooner or later anyway.

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Social Science class
by wpeckham / April 2, 2012 1:17 AM PDT

Something to remember here is that the OP did not ask if it was a wise social policy, or for a group lecture on our ideas in the state or problems of current social systems and trends. He asked for help with a specific issue to prevent having to deal directly with a problem that should not be his to deal with.

Help is appropriate. The lectures, perhaps not so much.

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I SOOOO AGREE
by webserf / April 2, 2012 4:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Social Science class

I was getting ready to make the exact same comment.


Observe: IF the OP asked for driving directions, some of the answers are akin to judging him for wanting to go in the first place. It's none of our business WHY he wants to make this adjustment to his computer/online surfing experience.

The OP asked for help in completing a task. He didn't ask for judgment and didn't ask to be given any other advice, including lectures or contempt, or worse, insult(s).

Let's focus ~ as a group of helpful contributors, on the nuts and bolts, and less on the questions of why people want to do certain things.

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To those who want focus on "nuts and bolts"...
by rae2_2 / April 2, 2012 6:22 AM PDT
In reply to: I SOOOO AGREE

...may I respectfully suggest you go straight to Google with the question. Why bother busy humans when you can just ask a computer?

My apologies to those offended by my lecturing. I thought I saw an opportunity to perhaps offer an alternative solution to authoritative repression. My assumption was clearly a mistake.

It wasn't my intention to waste your time, or mine. Looks as if I've done both.

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nuts or bolts.
by webserf / April 2, 2012 7:05 AM PDT

The only point I was trying to make is,
He made a simple and specific question to an open tech forum.

This forum allows for a question be expanded upon. He asked about blocking porn. There are obvious answers in a google search, BUT: maybe there are some techies here who can expand on how to more meaningfully or successfully succeed in the task. Many times, I've read answer that I already knew the general answer to, but MANY times, I've also gained some additional insight.

That's the value of this forum to me. I simply do NOT see the value in this forum becoming Yahoo "Answers", where you can expect to be insulted for asking, and usually left to figure things out on your own anyways.

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Nuts?
by wpeckham / April 2, 2012 8:30 AM PDT
In reply to: nuts or bolts.

No problem, but we were seeing long postings almost totally irrelevant to the subject.

This is not a parent or guardian, but a grandparent trying NOT to be the cause of problems by not making decisions or providing resources that might cause the parent to object. The cause is keeping the family happy, and I can get behind that. Also: I, for one, did not object to some discussion around the original topic, but feared we would never get BACK!

I just wanted us to get back on subject and in focus in time to do the OP some good: not to be critical.

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EXACTLY
by webserf / April 2, 2012 10:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Nuts?

Read Any/all of my posts and you will see that I agree 100%.

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And I guess MY only point is...
by rae2_2 / April 2, 2012 8:57 AM PDT
In reply to: nuts or bolts.

... you cannot successfully hold back a tsunami without completely destroying something else.

The best way to deal with some situations is thru education NOT incarceration. Running around, spending money on locks and barricades only makes matters worse, IMHO.

The garbage is out there and he/she WILL encounter it, lockdown or no lockdown. If you truly want to protect the child, arm him/her with the awareness that filthy quicksand exists and why he/she should try to avoid it.... and do the explaining person to person. Be with him/her while surfing and when an inappropriate site is encountered, explain WHY it is not a "good thing," as Martha would say, and request that he/she respect himself/herself and the family enough to not go there again.

But here I go again... I know, I know... I should just tell him how to lock up his computer. Well, sorry. I can't help someone do what I think is a mistake.

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...agree to disagree. Too many considerations.
by webserf / April 2, 2012 2:35 PM PDT

The OP did NOT ask what people think of his desire to block porn, and anyone that goes further than to answer his question is sticking his/her nose where it doesn't belong.
REASON?: You (and anyone else here) does not know anything about his grandchild, hence the child's personality, troubles, personal issues, AGE, and more. How can anyone here possibly go on to tell him what to do?
AGAIN, you know nothing about the child so you (me or anyone) CANNOT and should not offer any advice regarding his decision in re blocking/filtering porn.

If this still doesn't clear it up...

In answer to your last remark. If you can't help because you think he's making a mistake, then you are probably not the best source of information in the first place (for the reasons explained above).

I'm honestly not trying to be rude (and don't mean to be combative), but I am trying to concisely point out the facts in this thread, and the very clear question by the OP.

Maybe the OP should have just asked the question about blocking/filtering porn, and left off the reasons. He'd be a lot better off, and probably have several better answers. At least, he'd have answers that are directly related to his needs.

Cheers.

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I agree, webserf, we view thru different lenses...
by rae2_2 / April 2, 2012 11:53 PM PDT

I almost always have difficulty communicating with those whose expertise lies in focus, focus, focus and who adhere to a law/principle no matter what or when. And that's not always a "bad" thing. We need people who stick narrowly to some challenge and who are rarely sidetracked by those of us who try to remove their blinders. But as with the mythical lemmings and the cliff, sometimes it's important to take a large sheet of sandpaper to a problem rather than a drill.

Crispin Robles labeled me as a "moral relativist." Even though this term is, at best, wide open to interpretation and often is a fundamental hallmark of the religious mind, I accept it in so far as I admit to holding a generalist and fluid attitude as my philosophy of life. Just because a hammer is a useful tool at one time does not mean it is always the right one.

All I was attempting to do, obviously poorly, was to broaden the view that the only answer to this grandfather's problem was to lockdown the computer. But I do plead guilty to the charge that I wasn't strictly answering his question. I usually don't bother answering a question when I think it's the wrong question to begin with. I made a mistake herein using a floodlight amongst all these narrow beams.

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That's my thumbs up!
by webserf / April 3, 2012 2:06 AM PDT

Well said and fair enough...

I know that in our own ways, we (and others) are contributing in ways that give us/them a sense of helping at whatever level that help is offered.

Our sentiments have been aired, and so it's up to the OP and anyone else to decide what is best for themselves and how they might use the information given!

Sending best wishes...
~webserf

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Well spoken, thanks
by pj-mckay / April 2, 2012 9:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Social Science class

As you say... if he wanted to make a latte why say a cappucino is better, and pontificate. Answer the guys question or dont bother talking and wasting everyones time!

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as a father of a 5yr old
by amit_iimc / April 3, 2012 7:06 AM PDT

ur message seems the most logical to my mind.....putting myself in the shoes of the OP, i can't see any way of blocking access on the computers of my son's friends... so is he not going to be allowed sleepovers?.... also how about 'smart' phones.....the list is endless.....the best way seems to be to talk to your child and have a honest discussion.....whether the parent(s) is/are qualified to handle the Q's is for each one of us to figure.... if not, reach out to the appropriately trained individual......i remember my school teacher (back in india, when sex ed was non existent) explaining the facts about the human body in an impromptu session triggered by some kids (we were in class 9 then, 14 yr olds) teasing/whistling/making asses of themselves in front of the girls (coed but girls in different classrooms)

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As a father
by wpeckham / April 4, 2012 12:39 AM PDT

There is a difference between knowing that your child will come into contact with schoolyard education and contributing to that withing your own home. It is another thing entirely for another party (family or not) to contribute to the problem.
This OP is taking a responsible approach.
Neither he nor the parents can shield the child from everything, or forever, and attempting to do so may cause more problems. It is the PARENTS job to have the discussions with the lad, and to decide what he should see within the home at this point in his life.
By restricting what materials he can access using the local computer, the OP is avoidning CAUSING a problem. He is not solving one, and it would not be is problem to solve, but he is trying to take reasonable precautions.

I think the OpenDNS, netnanny, and other suggestions reasonable.
I once used a free and open source community solution that was very good, but have been unable to find the name of that project. It worked much like a local version of WebSense (a commercial network protection project that requires a Windows Server on a Domain) and not only filtered content to prevent material that was excessively explicit, it also blocked access to known threat and malware sites, and the worst offenders among sites that encouraged illegal behavior. All of this while appearing totally transparent when accessing 'safe' sites. If anyone can provide a pointer to that product or any offspring, it might be a very welcome

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OpenDNS
by si / April 4, 2012 2:37 AM PDT
In reply to: As a father

What you describe is exactly what OpenDNS does (although you don't need a server). It also may speed up the translation time by using their DNS servers, thus allowing your web pages to open faster.

See my post on page one of this discussion for step-by-step instructions.

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Very good advice from Flatworm 3/24/12 4:17 AM
by gjgalveza-mty / March 31, 2012 4:18 PM PDT
In reply to: Why?

Very good advice from Flatworm 3/24/12 4:17 AM Also I desire prompt recovery to that gran pa from his aliments. I also wish the very best for the boy in concern.

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Pornography debate....this is not...this is a techy site
by goodgenie4u / April 21, 2012 1:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Why?

Yes we all have our views on pornography. The parent that has 4 teenage daughters and the parents that have four boys and of course those who have no kids or are not married. To each their own and yes we all have not just personal freedom to think, but we have to behave responsibly in public. That space is shared; not yours or mine. So is this website.

This site should provide the technical advice to cater to the needs off all points of view for blocking matters that are several degrees removed from societal standards. Is it subjective? Of course. You can deal with it easily if you imagine the woman on a porno site is your wife, mother, sister or daughter. Then consider how you feel and not think and would you like them treated this way in public. Kids value their public life to express themselves.

In the meantime help and dispense the advice in plainspeak so we can do what we think is best for our families upbringing so they can share the public space responsibly.

Thanks

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How do I block access to porn sites from my PC?
by ahmedms15 / March 30, 2012 4:33 PM PDT
In reply to: Ahh, difficult

Dears,
i think it would be better to use k9web blocker it will help alot as i am using it.
K9 Web Protection Features:
Block web sites in more than 70 categories, including pornography, gambling, drugs, violence/hate/racism, malware/spyware, phishing
Force SafeSearch on all major search engines
Set time restrictions to block web access during designated times
Configure custom lists for "always allow" and "always block"
Override a web page block with password
Trust the enhanced anti-tampering, even children can't break
View easy reports to monitor and control web activity
Real-time categorization of new adult and malicious sites
Best free parental controls software/internet filter available
Compatible with Windows or Mac machines

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GOOD but:
by webserf / April 2, 2012 4:21 AM PDT

K9 is Excellent as a free resource for what the OP is trying to accomplish for sure but:
The price of Net Nanny, for example is not too bad, and it offers several components of use that might be worth the extra bucks, IMHO.

For free again, K9 is truly a great choice (maybe an incredible choice), but to me, it's not the best in head to head functionality, and, that just might be worth 40-50 bucks a year...

Again, this is just my opinion.

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