Web Filtering

Daniel Pittman daniel at rimspace.net
Wed Feb 25 11:25:29 CST 2009

Dave Withnall <dave at kayosdesign.com> writes:

> Does anyone here have any recommendations on how to set up a machine
> for kids? I have an almost 3 year old and a soon to be retired laptop
> that I thought I'd pass on to him.

Other people have already said most of what I have to add, but this
issue comes up routines at work[1], as well as in family situations, and
my answer is the same every time:

    This isn't a technical problem.
    A technical solution will *not* do what you want.

This is a people problem: you want the people involved to behave
correctly, rather than being forced to.

The only solution I ever found to that was an awareness of active
monitoring for the people involved.

It is amazing how much telling people in an office that every site they
visit on the Internet is recorded, and those records are watched,
convinces them to do the right thing.

The same is true of your children: if they can't bypass the service, and
they know you are going to watch the logs, they will generally wait
until they are at a friends house to watch porn ^W^W^W^W^w^W behave.


> Basically what I want to do is start off with a whitelist

While you can't expect the child to behave correctly, which is probably
a bit much to expect of a 3 year old, I suggest using squid and a

You can find good support in the squid documentation for configuring
that, but basically ensure you know which requests come from the child's
laptop, and allow them only to destinations you approve.

Once you get to...

> and as he gets older move to something more intelligent which will
> prevent him from stumbling across the scarier parts of the intertubes
> while my head is turned.

...this, move to the social solution.  You can't stop the scary parts
showing up, but you can make sure that your child is up-front about it
when it happens, and that they know they can't effectively hide.


[1]  Well, it does when you are an IT consultant, anyhow. :)

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