At home I have an iMac connected wirelessly Netgear router, and my children also (via PC) connect to the router wirelessly. Currently I have no way of monitoring Internet usage - I want my children to know that I can check on their activity - so they are motivated to use it appropriately.

I understand that it is reasonably simple to share my Internet connection (OSX/System Preferences/Sharing etc..). I would then block direct access to the router so all Internet traffic would come through my Mac. My questions are:

  1. If I do this is there a simple way to monitor the Internet traffic/content?
  2. Does this seem like a reasonable way to achieve the above?

I would love some advice on this - thank you in advance...

  • As piagetblix said, OpenDNS setup on the router would be the best way to go. This way, you get a wider variety of controls and other options, especially if you purchase the upgrade package. For the direct access to the router, I don't think that it's really possible. They could just use an ethernet wire to directly connect their computer to the router and be free to roam without connecting to the WiFi network that your iMac is hosting. – JFW Nov 16 '10 at 11:27

Another option would be to use OpenDNS for your dns servers. With a opendns account you can choose to block a variety of content. You can probably use it to see whats go/in a

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    Thank you! This looks like it could be a brilliant solution... if I understand correctly, I can just configure the router to use OpenDNS then I don't need to worry about sharing the connection on my Mac!? – Paulie Oct 5 '10 at 2:06

Putting a proxy cache between your wireless router and your upstream provider is the right thing: it will store logs of all internet traffic, and cache content brought down, so you can browse materials by tunneling into the cache. Some proxy caches are designed to support exactly what you want to do.

There's a nice list of options at http://www.web-caching.com/proxy-caches.html — a dedicated appliance with a web UI is the easiest, and likely the most expensive; one item that fits this need:

Blue Coat's proxy appliances provide visibility and control of Web communications to protect against risks from spyware, Web viruses, inappropriate Web surfing, instant messaging, video streaming and peer-to-peer file sharing - while improving Web performance through caching.

The cheapest, and requiring some hard work, will be an old PC running Linux and something like Squid.

Warning: misconfigured proxy caches are a world of pain.

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