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How to block Facebook completely from a user that is a child on windows 8.1? I set up family safety measures and she seems to get right through those settings. Help?

  • 2
    You can block the domain in the hosts file or straight from the router. What settings is she getting by? – MC10 Aug 16 '15 at 21:06
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    Without knowing what "family safety measures" you have implemented, it's hard to make a recommendation (which would be off-topic) anyway. I would suggest either listing what you have tried - so other suggestions can be made - or in a pinch try over at parenting.SE. Kids are smart and adept at getting around technical solutions / blocks :-) – bertieb Aug 16 '15 at 21:06
  • Once she learns to use Tor, all resistance is futile. – Display Name Aug 17 '15 at 7:33
  • Also ban Twitter, Instagram, G+, Pinterest... and welcome her to North Korea. The best way is to use hosts file (well you ban all accounts on machine), if using router use url ban. – Kyslik Aug 17 '15 at 7:59
  • The answer to this question depends on if other users on that PC still need to be able to access Facebook. – Peter Aug 17 '15 at 8:35
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PC Method

Navigate to: C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc
Open the hosts file with Notepad

Now your hosts file will be like this:

#    Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual
#    lines or following the machine name denoted by a '#' symbol.

#    For example:
#         102.54.94.97     rhino.acme.com          # source server
#          38.25.63.10     x.acme.com              # x client host


#    localhost name resolution is handled within DNS itself.
           127.0.0.1       localhost
           ::1             localhost

Add the following lines to the bottom of the file, then save the file:

127.0.0.1       facebook.com
127.0.0.1       www.facebook.com

DNS method

  1. Go to opendns.com and make a free account
  2. Download their small program
  3. On your PC open your Control Panel > Network and Sharing > your Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection > Properties.
  4. Choose Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)" from the drop down menu, then Properties.
  5. Choose "the following DNS server" and fill in the DNS exactly like what the website gives you.

Now from your account dashboard you can add whatever website you want to block.

Router Method

The easiest way is by using your router to block Facebook. You can find that option under Security or Firewall. Just add the site and that's it.

Note: I really recommend using the DNS method: you can know exactly what your child open, and block all porno sites completely, and know all the external links.

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  • I found the PC method didn't work over HTTPS because the request is encrypted and many online services are going that route now. I had the same trouble with the router method. The IP method is difficult because large services like Google or Facebook use many IP addresses. – zkent Aug 17 '15 at 2:45
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    @zkent Domain resolution happens outside of HTTPS. Modifying the hosts file would work if you didn't comment out the entries (i.e. remove the hash symbols at the beginning of those lines)... but it's trivial to bypass with any one of thousands of proxies. – Bob Aug 17 '15 at 3:09
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    You need to uncomment lines in the hosts file for them to do anything. – trysis Aug 17 '15 at 3:38
  • @Bob :) Sorry I forget the # , Router method is very simple, and that's depend on your router options for example dd-wrt firmware can block words, so if you put "facebook" any link with facebook will be blocked, not need to a range IP or anything, DNS method is the best, if you don't want to setup expensive firewall, If you want it more stable, you can setup your router to run the service :) – Narzan Q. Aug 17 '15 at 7:48
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It depends on how thorough you want to be.

Option 1-Edit the hosts file (C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts) to block the specific website.

Advantage: Simple and easy to do.

Disadvantage: It only blocks one site, and as soon as the kid figures out it is the hosts file, he can just edit the file back again.

Option 2-Sign up for opendns.com, configure it to block what you need. Set the kid's computer's dns to the OpenDNS servers.

Advantage: Much more complete protection, against individual sites as well as general categories.

Disadvantage: He can still change his DNS setting back to a generic dns server.

Option 3- Set your router up to block individual sites.

Advantage: The kid can't undo it.

Disadvantage: You're only blocking individual sites, one at a time, and some people have a hard time confronting their router's settings.

Option 4- Use a router than can lock down the DNS settings so that everyone on your network HAS to use openDNS.

Advantage: You can have total control over your network. There are some sites that are dual purpose, such as images.google.com, that you either won't be able to block or won't be able to differentiate between a safe and unsafe use, but in general, this has the best total control over your network.

Disadvantage: Such routers are expensive, and can take a little work to set up.

I feel Option 4 is not well understood, but the Options 1-3 have a lot written on them in various places, so I'll comment on 4.

The basic approach is to use a router that has a lot of configurability, like a dd-wrt router, and set the router's DNS to openDNS's server, and add a command in the iptables to force all DNS packets to go to the router's DNS server.

To achieve this, you can:

4a) Convert your router to dd-wrt, and configure it yourself to use openDNS.

https://github.com/dd-wrt-opendns/filterContentWiki

http://www.buffalotech.com/products/wireless/dd-wrt-1/airstation-extreme-ac-1750-open-source-dd-wrt-wireless-router

4b) Buy a router that has dd-wrt pre-installed, and configure it yourself to use openDNS.

https://github.com/dd-wrt-opendns/filterContentWiki

http://www.buffalotech.com/products/wireless/dd-wrt-1/airstation-extreme-ac-1750-open-source-dd-wrt-wireless-router

4c) Buy a router that has a GUI option for "parental settings" that can force the use of openDNS or Norton SafeConnect. (Basically option 4b done for you).

http://www.buffalotech.com/products/wireless/dual-band/airstation-extreme-ac1900-gigabit-dual-band-wireless-router

http://www.buffalotech.com/support-and-downloads/faqs/configuring-web-filtering-on-a-buffalo-airstation

I haven't tried 4c myself, so I can't vouch for it.

You can configure it in the router to filter specific computers (by MAC address). If you're trying to concentrate, say, for a week or two on some crushing work project, you can change the settings on openDNS to block pretty much all time wasting sites, give the password to the router and openDNS to your wife, and then have a single work computer on which you can't check facebook just one more time... or at least until your project is complete.

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I prefer the social solution, instead of the technology one. Which are programs like Covenant Eyes. Instead of "blocking" software this is called "accountability software". These are meant to be porn blockers but you can configure them to block facebook etc.

These programs allow the child to view anything, but everything they see gets reported to you. The advantage here is then you have to talk with the child more, and have a dialogue about what they are viewing, and establish proper boundaries through a punishment / reward system, and through education. I offer this as an alternative, hoping it may help in addressing the root of the issue, rather than the symptoms. For mobile, you can likewise install the app, and use parental controls to block the default browser.

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We had 3 kids and tried many methods and programs over the years. The one I found most recently was http://www1.k9webprotection.com. Its easy to set up, configurable, and can be set to block/allow based on PC users and time of day.

It has broad categories of sites to allow/block such as social media (which includes Facebook) and should meet your needs.

Plus, its free.

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  • My old school used that, it was very easy to get around. Not sure if they buffed up the security but I wouldn't suggest it if they didn't. – Jon Aug 17 '15 at 6:28
  • Well I guess the bottom line is that anything can be circumvented if one is determined enough. – zkent Aug 17 '15 at 12:35

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