Kids get into all sorts of things they shouldn’t get into online. And we know parents want to protect their kids from what’s out there. They want to know that what they’ve set up is effective, up-to-date and always working.

Today we’re introducing a new service called FamilyShield and it’s the absolute simplest and most straightforward way for parents to protect kids from the bad stuff online. There is no complicated set up and no software to install on your computers.

FamilyShield by OpenDNS

FamilyShield is different from — and better than — the majority of parental controls software choices parents are faced with. For starters, ours is free to use. And when set up on your wireless router, FamilyShield does more than block adult content on computers; it blocks it on Wi-Fi devices like the iPod Touch or the Nintendo DS and on video game consoles like Xbox and Wii. In addition to blocking adult content, FamilyShield also blocks proxies and anonymizers, which are how enterprising/tech-savvy kids often get around parental blocks.

In addition, because FamilyShield leverages the OpenDNS content filtering system, the list of sites being blocked is constantly updated, 24/7. These updates happen automatically, without requiring any changes on the user’s end.

Last but not least, because it runs on the global OpenDNS network, it will make your household Internet faster and overall more reliable. With the OpenDNS perfect 100 percent uptime record, you won’t have to tolerate annoying, intermittent Internet outages anymore. This, of course, is in stark contrast to parental controls software that is often known for slowing down your Internet experience.

Why did we launch FamilyShield? For about as long as OpenDNS has been around, we’ve heard demand from you, our users, to provide a pre-configured version of the service that automatically blocks adult content. The idea has been submitted to IdeaBank, the part of our community where anyone can suggest new OpenDNS features and functionality, a few different times. (For example, here and here.) We aim to give you what you want and FamilyShield is just that.

How does FamilyShield work? Much like how OpenDNS Basic works, you just follow our simple two-step instructions to configure our special FamilyShield IPs on your router. Unlike OpenDNS Basic, there’s no account to configure, no complicated settings to customize, and no downloads or software to install. Even if you have a dynamic IP address.

FamilyShield’s IPs are:

208.67.222.123
208.67.220.123

What does FamilyShield Block? The service blocks pornographic content, including our “Pornography,” “Tasteless,” and “Sexuality” categories, in addition to proxies and anonymizers (which can render filtering useless). It also blocks phishing and some malware.

If you’re using OpenDNS Basic today without any filtering and think FamilyShield looks just simple and straightforward enough for you, just follow the simple instructions to point to the new IPs. But, if you use OpenDNS, love OpenDNS and know of a family who could use a parental controls service that also makes their home network faster, let them know about FamilyShield.

  • http://islandinthenet.com Khürt

    Great feature – for this not using OpenDNS and looking for easy parental tells around web filtering. But … how about OpenDNS spending that 20% free time to work on the admin overide for the Deluxe account users? Haven’t we waited long enough?

  • Richard Ahlquist

    Thank you for this! I recently asked your folks staffing the company Twitter account about this and they were kind enough to point me to your suggestions area where I quickly jumped on a suggestion exactly like this! Thank you for the awesome service you provide the community.

  • Chad

    This sounds fantastic, but I don’t see anything talking about a bypass block page, etc. Is there no way to do this, using FamilyShield?

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  • http://www.opendns.com David Ulevitch, Founder/CEO

    @Khürt — Thanks and I hear you. We’re working on bringing block page bypass to Deluxe. No ETA just yet. It’s dependent on a bunch of factors, including making sure we have the infrastructure in place around the world to support it as reliably as everything else we do. :-)

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  • Rudy

    This is a great pre-packaged service I can recommend to a few families I know, especially where the kids are getting into things they shouldn’t. And I do recommend setting it up in the router…I flashed my Motorola WR850G with DD-WRT to get that ability (as the stock firmware would not permit it).

    My question though–how does this differ from regular OpenDNS I’ve been using for years? I already have a lot blocked (all the “adult” categories, plus “tasteless”, phishing, malware, peer-to-peer, etc.). Does this provide anything in addition, or is it just a set of pre-selected (and non-configurable) filters?

  • http://www.opendns.com/ Allison Rhodes

    @Rudy – it’s a no-account-required, pre-configured version of OpenDNS, essentially. It doesn’t provide anything you’re not already getting with OpenDNS Basic, just makes it easier for people to use OpenDNS with adult site blocking and basic security enabled.

  • Stanley Walter

    Finally!

    I’ve been waiting for this a while now. Awesome to see it get launched.

    I know a lot of people who are going to love this.

  • http://safeerror.wordpress.com/ Richard W.

    The OpenDNS team knows that most parents do not want to spend their free time configuring their accounts.

    Awesome job guys!

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  • Michael D.

    You guys Rock!! Thx!

    I’m already using “OpenDNS Deluxe (Family)”.
    Paid Deluxe service.

    Is family shield the same thing?
    Is it better then what i’m already paying for?
    Was it tossed in as a “free” upgrade since i’m already paying?

    how are the “standard adresses”
    208.67.222.222
    208.67.220.220
    differ from the family shield addresses?
    208.67.222.123
    208.67.220.123

    Do they provide better protection?

  • http://www.opendns.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Michael!

    FamilyShield s a no-account-required, pre-configured version of OpenDNS Basic. The new IP addresses just come preconfigured to block porn, phishing and malware.

    It doesn’t provide anything you’re not already getting with OpenDNS Deluxe — it just makes it easier for people to use OpenDNS with adult site blocking and basic security enabled. AKA, people who might not want to customize their experience, deal with dynamic IPs, etc.

    Hope that helps!
    -Laura

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  • fairuse

    I see the use. Good idea and it is what my not tech sisters and aunt would like. Funny part is, I would have to do the ‘type address in; press go’ part for them. As for me it is not useful as I do site checking from tame to ‘wish I could close eyes bad’. I may try it on an Android phone as an experiment. Be interesting when at home because Airport uses OpenDNS Deluxe.
    thanks

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  • Chris

    THANK YOU – THANK YOU! You guys are doing what the government simply can’t figure out how to do, you are providing the tools necessary for us parents to protect our children online. I cannot thank you enough, and I’ve told my friends, family and neighbors about your service. In terms of good deeds done, you guys deserve the Nobel prize.

  • David

    Brilliant. Awesome, just what is needed, no worries about Updating IP (which my router cant do), can turn desktop PC off without concern of autoupdate client not working.

    Just fantastic – thank you.

  • Sam S

    Thank you!!! This is exactly what I have been looking for. I have many friends with kids who don’t have the time or technical know how to deal with configuring parental controls and this simplicity is a solid alternative.

  • http://garena.viviti.com/ Renel

    You Guys ROCKS.. It’s free and very easy to setup.

    We are a previous Open DNS user but we switch to Google DNS for the past few months because of Lower Latency. Then last night I searched for alternative to k9 web protection and someone mentioned FamilyShield by Open DNS. I tried and its great. There is no hassle of configuring individual computers. I only have to configure the router. THanks Again

    Thanks for the FamilyShield.

  • http://my.opera.com/froilanr/albums/ froilanr

    I’m very glad you provided a free service just like FamilyShield. I shared this technology to my friends already.

    Thanks and God bless OpenDNS team. Keep up the good work.

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  • bob

    Thanks guys, I love your services.

  • Travis

    What about laptops and devices that travel in and out of the home network–kids take things everywhere these days!

  • http://www.opendns.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Travis,

    That’s a great question! If you set up FamilyShield on the router level, any device connecting to your wifi network will also be protected — within the house.

    When your kids take their devices out of the house, to school, a friends house, etc, they won’t be protected by FamilyShield, since they aren’t getting online through your protected network.

    Does that make sense?
    -Laura

  • Arthur Cybulski

    This is in response to Travis. (6/30/2010)
    You can go into the network settings on a laptop, and simply “ONLY” change the DNS settings, while leaving the IP, Subnet Mask, and Gateway section as DHCP.

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  • http://mjijackson.com/ Michael Jackson

    Excellent idea! This will make setting up a safe, secure network a lot easier for those of us with dynamic IP addresses.

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  • Adrian

    Is this the same/better/worse than the Live Parental Controls that is available for my Netgear Router?

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  • http://none Kobbara

    It is great, I do not know how to thank you guys, keep this good deeds, God bless you>>
    I have noteed that altho i use OpenDns, youtube is still working with its 1000s so bad clips, I realy don’t know what to do to filter its content when they are in defrent langues.
    does familyShiled solve this?
    many thanks for

  • http://www.opendns.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Kobarra,

    FamilyShield doesn’t block YouTube — it only blocks adult content and pornography.

    If you are having issues getting YouTube blocked, feel free to drop a note to our support team: http://www.opendns.com/support/contact/

    Thanks!
    -Laura

  • James

    Great news. One question though, how does this compare to the filtering levels of the basic account? Is it comparable to “low,” “moderate,” or “high”

  • http://www.opendns.com/ Allison Rhodes

    @James – OpenDNS Basic blocks only phishing and some malware by default, but it gives you the flexibility to block any of our 57 filtering categories. Totally customizable and totally up to you. By contrast, FamilyShield blocks pornography, anonymizers, phishing and some malware by default. We recommend FamilyShield as an easier way to get up and running with OpenDNS. If you want more control, stick with OpenDNS Basic.

    Allison Rhodes
    Director of Marketing
    OpenDNS.com

  • Jo

    It works well ONLY if your webbrowser is configured to access internet directly. If otherwise, IP of domain is resolved by proxy server without using dns servers and whole protection is gone…

    Any hints for such case?

  • SSE

    Hi,

    I setup FamilyShield few days ago. After one day I noticed the porn sites are accessible again. The “Client Lease Time” on my router’s DHCP Server Setting is 1440 minutes. Does that have anything to do with it? What should the Client Lease Time be set at? Or do I have a different problem?

  • http://www.opendns.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi SSE,

    It’s hard to diagnose what might cause that to happen without knowing a little more. If you get in touch with our Support Team (http://www.opendns.com/support/contact/) we can take a look!

    -Laura

  • Jasslo

    Hello,

    Great service, thanks! One question though : is FamilyShield protection essentially English-based or is it international? For example i live in France, does FamilyShield also protect from French adult sites?

  • http://www.opendns.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Jasslo,

    That’s a great question. FamilyShield will work for adult sites in any language.

    Bon courage!
    -Laura

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  • Dan

    Family Shield has been added to my router for protection when the grandchildren are present from time to time, but is not needed when they are back home. Is there a way to activate it when needed and deactivate it when not?

  • http://www.opendns.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Dan,

    There isn’t a way to set up FamilyShield to be automatically enabled at some times and disabled at others.

    What might make sense to do is sign up for OpenDNS Basic. When your grandchildren are visiting, you can enabled the content filtering of your choosing. Once they head home, you can turn it off!

    -Laura

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  • http://www.crazyblogger.info suman

    This is exactly what I am looking for. I am tired of installing software on every computer of my school to block these site. Thank you very much.

  • Paurian

    My understanding is that new adult sites are posted daily. How do you intend handling those?

    I’ve heard that students get around filters by using the google’s advance search to access lesser known sites.

    An example is to click on “Advanced Search” from the main google page, click on the “Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more” link, then fill out an adult site’s information in the “Page-Specific Tools:” area.

    Do you have a spider that scans through the results to identify offending sites and adds them to your black list?

    Thanks.

  • http://www.opendns.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Paurian,

    One of the main ways domains are categorized on OpenDNS via our domain tagging system. You can find more info about it here: http://www.opendns.com/community/domaintagging/about/

    We rely on a devoted community of users to submit new sites to the domain tagging system to keep it up to date. If you come across a site that you think should be categorized as adult, but isn’t, let us know!

    -Laura

  • Steve

    I’m using FamilyShield and am finding adult content on sites like YouTube. How can you block content but not sites?

    Thanks

  • NBA JAMMER

    For those of you who really want to get high-tech, you should install a router like DD-WRT and install some firewall rules so that nobody using that broadband connection can connect to DNS servers except for the FamilyShield ones.

    iptables -I FORWARD 1 -p tcp -d 208.67.222.123 –dport 53 -j logaccept
    iptables -I FORWARD 2 -p tcp -d 208.67.220.123 –dport 53 -j logaccept
    iptables -I FORWARD 3 -p tcp –dport 53 -j logdrop
    iptables -I FORWARD 4 -p udp -d 208.67.222.123 –dport 53 -j logaccept
    iptables -I FORWARD 5 -p udp -d 208.67.220.123 –dport 53 -j logaccept
    iptables -I FORWARD 6 -p udp –dport 53 -j logdrop

    It works great for my household, in case one of my kids tries to override the DNS settings on their laptop, this allows no connection to DNS servers except FamilySheild ones. Thanks for the service, OpenDNS.