Secret to Blocking Porn on OS X

OS X includes Parental Control software and it’s a great way to filter out unwanted content on your family computer. However, sometimes this program causes problems with other applications. We used it for a while and noticed that we couldn’t use the iTunes Music Store or Gmail. In order to use these other applications we had to disable Parental Control.

Searching the Internet for an answer, we found another way to filter out porn and other offensive material on the Mac that is completely free. OpenDNS. If you want to learn how to do use OpenDNS, read on.

If you want more control then OpenDNS offers, check out NetNanny.
What is DNS?

DNS is a service that translates the a websites name (i.e., www.learningosx.com) to it’s IP address (192.168.1.100). When your computer is connected to your ISP, it sets it’s own DNS server. However, you can override this setting, change it to OpenDNS and in addition to having fast DNS lookups, you can add parental filters.

The filtering works by comparing the website address you are trying to go to to a “blacklist” of sites you want blocked. Any that are found in the blacklist are denied.

What’s really cool about this service is the basic features are totally free. You only need to have some comfort in adjusting your internet settings. The steps below will show you how.

Before you can use the free Internet Porn filter, you need to first sign-up at OpenDNS. Go to OpenDNS.com and create an account now and come on back here when you are done.

Open the System Preferences


Click on Network

Select the network connection marked Connected. It’s likely the first one.

Click the Advanced button

Select the DNS tab


Add 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220 to the list of DNS servers.

Click OK

Then, the next step is to go back to the OpenDNS site and setup your filters. Go to the OpenDNS dashboard, signing in again if you have to.

On the top of the Dashboard you should see a Settings tab. Click it. It will take you to the Settings page.

You should then see a Web Content Filtering dialog that lets you adjust the filtering you want for your machine. I leave mine set to Moderate. Change yours and click Apply. Don’t worry, if you need to you can change it again.

At this point you are done. It usually takes a couple of minutes for the filters to kick in. You can test your configuration by going to Google and typing search terms that you think will return inappropriate results. I’ll leave the specifics as an exercise to the reader.

Special Note for Mac Book users. If you carry your laptop around and are often on other networks, you will need to run a utility that tells the OpenDNS website about your web address. You can read how to do this here.

About Joe Cotellese

Joe is the founder of Learning OS X. He's often spending way too much time playing with new Mac software in order to improve his ability at "Getting Things Done."

Comments

  1. hi joe — thanks for the info… i have a teenage boy and need to block our computers … i was following your instructions on this,, but when i clicked the + icon to add dns addresses,, my current dns address (for our belkin router) disappeared.. so i readded the beklin addres, and quit .. what should i do ?? thanks liza ps i just signed up for your newsletter,, i’ve been using mac’s since my first mac se 30 way back when !!

    • Joe Cotellese says:

      Hi Liza, thanks for writing in.

      It’s pretty straightforward. You’re going to replace your current DNS settings with these new ones.

      • Go to System Preferences.
      • Click on Network.
      • Select the first connection in your list and click Advanced.
      • Select the DNS tab and add 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220 to the list of DNS servers.
      • Click OK

      Hope that helps.

  2. cannot find settings on top of dashboard. It si on the side though. However cannot identify web content filtering dialog on the cisco dashboard.

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