Usually, I support efforts to protect a free and open internet, advising against internet filters and blocking mechanisms which restrict, censor or block access to a website. I am a privacy advocate and primarily work for an organization with this precise core business focus. However, I also understand that there are situations where filters and blockers can be legitimately implemented and one cannot only see the benefits and necessity, but support it.
It’s time to protect your family
A home with young children is the perfect scenario where rolling out a filter or blocking application would be appropriate.
Adding a filter to your home internet is not about taking control, it’s simply a safety and protection tool. But it is not a foolproof method and is only controlled through the Firefox web browser. Anyone can easily bypass it by using another web browser which is not exposed to the filter, allowing complete unrestricted internet access. This problem could be solved by adding a hardware firewall to your home network which effectively filters all network traffic and connections. This might be effective, but it’s also complicated and expensive to implement for Moms and Dads. Therefore, I advise to keep things simple and use a web browser filter as an easier alternative, as it will offer sufficient protection for most home users.
You might initially think that installing an internet filter or blocker is difficult. But it’s actually very easy. We are going to install BlockSite.
BlockSite can be installed by opening your Firefox web browser and heading to the Add-on page here:
Click on the blue + Add to Firefox button and the package will install in Firefox.
Once installation is complete, the BlockSite configuration screen should open automatically.
There are two methods to block websites. You can block by website URL. Or, you can block by keywords.
Method 1: To block by website, click on the Block Sites tab on the left pane. Then simply enter the site address and click on the green + button to add the website to the blocklist.
You can also use BlockSite in reverse function mode, by enabling Whitelist mode. But I strongly advise against this as it will block all sites other than those you’ve added to the whitelist, seriously restricting your home internet. Unless you want your children screaming at you that their Instagram and Snapchat can’t be accessed, don’t use this option. If you’re an experienced user and know what you are doing, then the option is available.
Method 2: To block by keyword, click on the Block by Words tab on the left pane. Then simply enter the keyword(s) and click on the green + button to add the keywords to the blocklist.
Now when you try and visit a website which has been added to the blocklist you will be presented with a wall which advises that the website is blocked.
You have now successfully installed an internet filter and blocker in Firefox web browser.
Proceed to remove all other web browsers from your computer so that you ensure all family members are using only Firefox web browser, which will ensure their online safety.
BlockSite does have a password protect feature, which we will not cover in this tutorial. But if you want to really lock down your internet access, you can protect it by adding a secure password. But if it’s only young children you’re protecting and not curious teenagers who will simply understand how to easily bypass the blocks, then a password is probably not really required to achieve the minimal level of protection.