There are many options available for parents to filter the web content their children are viewing. There are several solutions that will work with Linux including browser-based filtering through Firefox extensions, DNS-based filtering using OpenDNS’ free service, do it yourself allow listing or a set of free applications configured to work specifically for web content filtering.
DansGuardian is a powerful filtering tool with many features to block unwanted sites. Among some of it’s features are blocking text and HTML pages based on obscene content, IP addresses, and URLs. It can also be configured to work off a ‘allow-list’ where all sites except those listed will be blocked. The stealth mode feature is particularly nice if you have teenagers. This feature allows sites that would otherwise be blocked, but reports them in a log.
However nice, DansGuardian is just a filter and will need to be paired with a proxy to do the web stuff. A proxy is a program that sits between your computer and the internet. It funnels all incoming connections through one opening called a port. Usually proxies have additional features such as web-caching and filtering. There are many choices of proxies that one can choose, but we will focus on one to get you started: Privoxy.
Please view this page if you are would like to know more about the flow of events in DansGuardian.
“Privoxy is a non-caching web proxy with advanced filtering capabilities for enhancing privacy, modifying web page data and HTTP headers, controlling access, and removing ads and other obnoxious Internet junk. Privoxy has a flexible configuration and can be customized to suit individual needs and tastes. It has application for both stand-alone systems and multi-user networks.”
Setting up Dans Guardian and Prixoxy
For a complete guide setting up DansGuardian and Privoxy see this guide.
Browser Based Content Controls
There are some Firefox add-ons that offer content filtering.
LeechBlock – LeechBlock lets you specify which sites to block and when to block them. Allows you to time limit website usage.
You can get LeechBlock Firefox add-on here.
FoxFilter – Recently called “THE Parental Control for Firefox” FoxFilter is a personal content filter that helps block pornographic and other inappropriate content. All filtering features are free! Premium features available with small support fee.
You can get FoxFilter Firefox add-on here.
Content Control With a GUI
There have been many attempts to produce GUI ‘wrappers’ to make the process of setting up Content Control easier. Many of these have, over time, have stopped being maintained. Nanny, being a Gnome project probably stands the best chance of being maintained long-term.
Web Content Control
Web Content Control is a program in Ubuntu that lets you block unwanted…
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