The quick hack that can help keep your kids safe online

TODAY'S homes have multiple devices connected to the internet - from tablets and toys to phones and televisions.

But with technological advances comes an increasing importance for parents to protect children from the dangers of cyberspace.

It's a scary thought that cyber criminals can now target your personal information and children through speakers, baby monitors and talking dolls.

So we went looking for a way to stay safe and found one that's actually free!

One of the world's leading IT company's, Cisco, has an easy, free way to protect all of your internet connections from the bad guys.

A way to block sites and cyber criminals

When your computer wants to go to a specific website, it has to go to a huge directory of numbers in order to connect you to that website.

'Cisco OpenDNS', is one directory that asks, 'what do I think of that website?' 'Have I seen it before?' Is it good/bad' before it connects you to it.

This means, depending on the filters you use when you set it up, OpenDNS will block certain website categories, such as gambling and pornography.

It also works in reverse, so if someone or something, like a cyber criminal tries to access your internet connected devices it asks the same questions and blocks them.

And it can work across the entire internet at home so regardless of what device your kids are using or where  - living room, bedroom -  they are protected.

How to use it?

Cisco's security expert Anthony Stitt says OpenDNS is a two minute hack that can protect every device connected to your home internet.

You can set it up easily here with instructions at, which differ depending on what devices is being protected.

For example, if you own an Apple Macbook Air you can get OpenDNS up and running on it in six steps:

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the top left hand corner of your screen and select 'system preferences'
  2. Click on the 'Network' icon
  3. Select 'WiFi' in the list and click on 'advanced' in the bottom right hand corner
  4. Select 'DNS' from the panel at the top
  5. Delete any existing numbers from the 'DNS' column and type in two new lines of numbers (make sure you enter these numbers carefully!) :;
  6. Click OK in the bottom right hand corner

Cisco recommends parents set up OpenDNS on their router, which means every device that connects to their home internet - laptop, iPad, smart TV, baby monitor etc - will be protected, rather than just a single device.

More security tips

  • Use filters to help limit and block the type of content children are able to access online such as pornography or gambling websites.
  • One in five Aussies have responded to an email scam so be vigilant and educate the family from a young age.
  • Take the time to learn about the technology and devices your children are using so you can understand the potential dangers
  • Don't re-use passwords and don't use obvious information - using the same passwords for everything is the equivalent of giving criminals a masterkey to get into your home.
  • Report any criminal incidents at ACORN, Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network

This article originally appeared on Kidspot and has been reproduced here with permission.