In 2015, I was invited to sit in on with a group of 10 individuals (Teachers, Parents, Priests, etc.), along with our Most Reverend Bishop James Conley. The topic at hand was a discussion on chastity education within our Catholic Schools. As we deal with the reality of our current society, pornography falls within this topic. The discussion centered around how pornography is affecting our youth, and how we can fight to protect our children against exposure to it.
I recall two particular members of the group, Jennifer and Matt Davis, were experienced with the topic and had a great library of books to help parents on both the topic of sex education AND on how to introduce your children to the idea of recognizing what pornography is. Matt and Jennifer have gone on to speak on both of these subjects at area schools and diocese events. The software CovenantEyes was also talked about in this gathering as a good tool to block pornography from your computers, tablets and phones.
I recently went to a meeting organized at our school during which the Davises spoke. Although CovenantEyes and the books mentioned above were made available, I did not see many parents taking advantage of those tools when the meeting was over. This caught my attention. It made me ask if people really understand the significance of this subject matter. Do families/parents as a whole understand how affected our society is by pornography? I own an IT business, and I can tell you that it has become a large issue in our culture as I see it on both home and business computers almost daily.
CovenantEyes Family Protection software is a great tool in the arsenal available to protect devices from the accidental and intentional viewing of pornography. However, I know there are many families that do not want to pay $15 a month for the service. Maybe it is they don’t like to have to update their systems when a new browser is released; maybe they find the program to be cumbersome or that it negatively impacts the speed and effectiveness of the device. I have heard all of these reasons for it not being used. The simple truth is pornography is free to access, so having to pay to block it is frustrating. There is another solution, and once you know what is it and how to configure your devices, you will have a stronger defense against pornography.
The information and steps to implement this defense will provide a block to pornographic websites for any and all devices that are accessing the internet using a wired or wireless router in a home or business. It will not block from devices that are using cellular data or a public/open wireless connection.
It is helpful to have background information to understand how internet communication works. Following that, I’ll teach you the basic steps to protect your family (on every device).
The background information on this solution:
When a website address is typed into a browser, the first thing your computer does is translate that website name into a number. The translation happens with a server that is called a “DNS Server” (Domain Name System). So on the DNS server, www.thecomputermagician.com turns into 184.108.40.206.
Here is how this translation works: In the Lincoln, Nebraska area, users connect to the internet through service provided by TimeWarrner, WindStream or Allo. A “modem” is issued to the customer and that modem is either connected to a wireless router or has a wireless router built into it. Either the end user (you) sets up the wireless router, or you have someone do it for you. Many users do not bother with the setup, many will just allow the default settings to take over and make the communication work. In either event, the setup process involves a couple of things. In this setup, the configuration tells the router (can be wireless or not) what the numbers are for your internet provider to get you onto the internet. These numbers are what we call “routable” or can be seen on the internet. This is how your ISP (Internet Provider) is able to fix your modem or help you configure your device over the phone. They can see your modem’s number (IP address) and connect to it.
In order for your devices to be able to get on the internet, these devices cannot all share the same number. To divide the signal, the modem does something called Network Address Translation, or NAT, and gives your devices a number that is non-routable. When you setup your wireless router the NAT that happens works to connect all of your devices to the IPS’s DNS Server IP addresses. Your ISP’s modem will give you access to their DNS Servers for these addresses. Companies like TimeWarner and Windstream have their own DNS servers. Likewise, hundreds of thousands of large businesses will operate their own DNS servers for this purpose. There are also public DNS servers that do not allow a Domain Name translation for sites that display pornography.
There are 5 different very large DNS Servers available to the public. To use these, your wireless router needs to be configured by removing your ISP’s DNS number and replacing it with one of the free blocking DNS Servers’ number. By doing this step, at the source of entry of your internet signal to your home or office, every device that connects to your wireless router will get internet access through a DNS Server (as before) but with one single caveat; no pornography sites allowed.
So although programs such as CovenantEyes, Eblaster, PicBlock, BlockSmart, and K9 Web Protection are great tools, when your child’s friend come over are you going to install this software on these devices too? Will you give friends access to your internet? Does your child know how to gain access to your wireless router? The fact is, it is a daunting if not impossible task to police every single device that comes into contact with you wireless network. But if you set your wireless router to provide the correct DNS server’s to every device, it’s a “set it and forget it” solution. It does not need updated and if devices do not leave your home, the software tools may not be necessary.
This should be done at every business and every home in the Lincoln area. No software has to be installed, and it serves as a great additional step in the right direction!
Here’s how you configure your wireless router settings;
1. Start your Web browser.
2. In the Address box, type the IP address of your router, and then press Enter.
Generally, 192.168.1.1 and 192.168.0.1 are the most widely used default IP addresses by various manufacturers. If your router manufacturer uses a different IP address, refer to the help documentation for the router.
3. Type the administrator user name and password, and then click OK.
Router configuration settings page opens in your Web browser.
4. Find and open the DNS settings.
You may find the DNS settings option under WAN settings.
5. In the Preferred DNS server and Alternate DNS server boxes, type the DNS server addresses provided by your Internet service provider
6. Click Apply or Save or Save Settings.
7. Restart your router to apply the changes.
Here’s some free DNS Server’s that do not allow pornography.
Preferred DNS Server: 220.127.116.11 Alternate DNS Server: 18.104.22.168
Security Preferred DNS Server: 22.214.171.124 Alternate DNS Server: 126.96.36.199
Security + Pornography Preferred DNS Server: 188.8.131.52 Alternate DNS Server: 184.108.40.206
Security + Pornography + Non-Family Friendly Preferred DNS Server: 220.127.116.11 Alternate DNS Server: 18.104.22.168
Preferred DNS Server: 22.214.171.124
Primary DNS server: 126.96.36.199 Secondary DNS Server: 188.8.131.52
Primary DNS Server: 184.108.40.206 Secondary DNS Server: 220.127.116.11