Tech Tip: Blocking an Internet Site on Your Computer
Here’s a Tech Tip that some parent’s might be interested in. If you have young children, there may be sites that you do not want your child to have access to. One of these sites you have no doubt heard about – myspace.com. Well, if you don’t know what myspace is, check out this link:
If you are concerned about this site with youngsters in your house, there are some simple ways to block it on your computer. Here is one way.
When you type in the domain name, myspace.com, your computer has to ask your internet service provider (ISP) for the IP address. An IP address is a series of 4 numbers separated by dots (Example: 126.96.36.199). Your ISP has a Domain Name Server (DNS) which looks up IP addresses for domain names. When it gets the IP address for the domain name you typed in the Address Bar, it can contact the site and it will appear on your computer.
Here’s an example: You type in cnn.com. Your computer contacts the DNS server at your ISP and they find out that the IP address is 188.8.131.52. It contacts that site with that IP address and CNN appears on your screen. Pretty cool!
OK, so what if you could give a false IP address for myspace.com – or any other website, for that matter.. Then your computer would not be able to connect to the site. Well, you can.
Well, there is a file on your computer called the “Hosts” file. It acts just like a DNS server. When you want to go to a website, you type in the name of the site (the Domain Name) and when you press Enter, your computer looks in the Hosts file first to see if the IP address is there. Well, of course, it will not be there – unless you have put it there.
Well, you can put it there. You can open the Hosts file and add any domain names and IP addresses you want.
You did it – you added My Space with a phony IP address to the Hosts file. Now open up Internet Explorer and type www.myspace.com in the address bar and press Return. You will go to a page that says, “This page cannot be displayed.” Note: If you use Google, you may get a page created by Google with a link to My Space. Click on the link – then you will get the “This page cannot be displayed” page. Google is always so good about wanting to help you out.
So, now you can add any web sites (Domain Names) you want to block to your Hosts file. Use the same phony IP address, 127.0.0.1.
One last thing - Parents need to take control of internet usage in the home. Here are some links with suggestions on how to supervise the use of the internet at home.
Lyon County Government Center • 607 W. Main St. • Marshall, MN 56258 • (507) 537-7046