Internet safety is a buzz phrase right now. But what does is exactly mean? How can it help you?
Daniel Cid, founder of Clean Browsing, joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to empower families to stay safe from the harms of pornography. Read the full transcript below or listen to the BTR podcast for more.
What Is Clean Browsing?
It can be difficult as a parent to try to manage the technology our children have access to. But it is very important. I appreciate easy solutions, like Clean Browsing.
Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Clean Browsing is software designed to protect children and adults from harmful online material.
Daniel Cid explains how Clean Browsing was started:
As a software engineer my main job for many years was actually helping people in companies respond to computer crime and hacking incidents and using software to improve their security. That got me to see a lot of the bad part of internet. And that made me really paranoid about how we use computers and how we can protect ourselves while you’re online.
Daniel Cid, founder of Clean Browsing
How Does Clean Browsing Help My Family?
Victims of betrayal and abuse may feel triggered and terrified of the internet because of the vast betrayals that they have endured. Clean Browsing offers women the ability to feel safe with technology in their homes.
Clean Browsing can filter out porn, extreme violence, and mature content. I didn’t want any of my kids to have any exposure to that. I wanted to provide them a clean and safe browsing experience. That’s where the name came from, Clean Browsing. I wanted them to get the beauty part of the internet without the dirty side of it.
Daniel Cid, founder of Clean Browsing
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Virtual Infidelity
At BTR, we understand how traumatizing it is to discover a partner’s pornographic material. The pain, fear, and confusion can feel overwhelming. Women who have been betrayed deserve support.
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Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.
I have Daniel Cid with me today. He is the founder of Clean Browsing and I’ve asked him on to help me resolve my router issues, in regard to how do I protect my router at home. Then we’ll also be talking about how to protect our families a little bit more. We are very happy to have him on, welcome Daniel.
Daniel: Thank you, glad to be here.
Anne: Daniel tell me about how Clean Browsing started?
Daniel: To explain how we started, I’ll have to go back just a little bit further in my life, just to give you some more context.
I’ve been working with computer security pretty much my whole adult life. As a software engineer my main job for many years was actually helping people in companies respond to computer crime and hacking incidents and using software to improve their security. That got me to see a lot of the bad part of internet. And that made me really paranoid about how we use computers and how we can protect ourselves while you’re online.
Safe Browsing Is Clean Browsing
Going back 3 years ago, my oldest child, he was 8 years old, he wanted an ipad, an iphone, a laptop, everything. We thought that a laptop would be a safer way for him to get started online. For him to learn about tech, about coding. We had to pay much closer attention to proper content. How about things like porn, extreme violence. I didn’t want any of my kids to have any exposure to that. I wanted to provide them a clean and safe browsing experience. That’s where the name came from, Clean Browsing. I wanted them to get the beauty part of the internet without the dirty side of it.
Back then I tried a bunch of tools and none of them actually did what I thought they were supposed to. In fact, even some of the most popular at the time, didn’t do the basics of even enforcing safe search on Google. So, you went to Google and type in bad words and you’d see all the dirty images.
That didn’t give me confidence at all that I could give to my child, let’s say a laptop, and he’d be able to use the web safely, right? I kind of decided well, I’ll try to build something better. Something that I can use for my own family.
So, going into just a little bit technical right, I visited every website on the internet and tried to identify if any website had nudity, had indication of violence content, had porn, curse words. It’s kind of similar to identifying and looking for malware, but I was looking for these other variables.
Anne: So, basically, you’re like a super genius?
Daniel: No, I’m not a genius at all, I just love security, just love to code, and I love to solve problems. And I felt something that struck deep down to me. I was like no, that’s something I need to solve for myself and if I am having this problem I assume a lot of parents are having the same problem. I just start scanning every website in the world and tagging them. Easy site PG, easy site PG13, easy site safe for work, not safe for work. And that’s kind of like how we started 3 year ago.
Clean Browsing Can Be Easy
I connected Clean Browsing to this engine, this database, so that every time that you tried to use the website your browser does what we call a DNS request. So, for example, if you try to visit, let’s say, porn.com, you get an error saying sorry this site doesn’t exist in your browser. So, that’s kind of like how Clean Browsing works and how we came to be. Sorry for the long answer.
Anne: No that’s awesome.
So, for a site like mine that mentions the word pornography, as we’re trying to help people protect their families from pornography, would a site like mine come through if you were using Clean Browsing on your router?
Daniel: Yeah, it would be allowed because on our categorizer it tries to identify what’s really a porn site and what’s just, for example, an educational site or church site that’s helping people with a porn addiction. So, it really tries to be smart about that. Whenever we find an error we go in and manually fix it because your site is allowed of course, and many others that talk about it; sex education, phases of addiction, they’re allowed.
Anne: Ok, fantastic.
Well I am excited! Daniels actually going to help me put it on my router, so you can listen as we go through that process if this is interesting to you. Just prepping everybody. But before that let’s talk about who should use it. Who should put clean browsing on their router?
Clean Browsing Is Helpful For Safe Internet Use
Daniel: I would say that pretty much anyone that cares about having a clean and safe browsing experience should use it. For example, if you have kids and you don’t want your kids seeing adult content you should use on your kid’s devices. And even if you’re an adult, your trying to use the web but don’t want to be worried about what might pop out in a sight you visit. That gives you a really good confidence that what you are visiting is actually clean and safer. So, I’d recommend to anyone that cares about a clean experience online.
Anne: So everybody, hopefully, everyone should use it.
Daniel: I use my software and I use it on my kid’s devices.
Anne: So, Daniel is now going to walk me through how to setup Clean Browsing on my device and I use a NetGear Nighthawk, so we’ll be giving the instructions specifically for that, but because the instructions are different for every router and every device, you’ll want to go directly to Daniel’s website. It’s called cleanbrowsing.org and you can get the instructions on how to set it up on your router. Daniel provides this for free for everyone!
We’re going to walk through mine right now. Okay, so Daniel, I’ve got a NetGear Nighthawk router and I tried to do it myself but ran into a little trouble.
Clean Browsing Is Great For A Family
Daniel: Sure, sure. So, the first thing you need to do is that if you’re trying to do that at your home, you need to get the login access to your router. So, every router has a username and password. So, if you have that then you’re halfway done to get this thing done. So, do you have your username and password for your router?
Anne: What I do have is NetGear Genie. So, is that what you’re talking about? Like, I can log in to NetGear Genie.
Daniel: If you’re using NetGear, you have to type in your browser routerlogin.com or routerlogin.net and they’ll bring up the router administration page.
Anne: Ok, let me see if I can login to this.
Daniel: But just saying, generally configuring the router is the most complicated step. If you’re trying to configure it on a Mac or on Windows it’s always a lot easier. On the router, each one is different. Each router has different settings so it’s never as easy to do on the router than on the personal device. But the benefit from doing the router is that you cover your whole house, for example, at my house I have Xbox, I have ipads, I have laptops. So, its covers everyone. We don’t have to go into each device separately.
Clean Browsing Can Help Ensure Safety
Anne: One thing that helped me is that I took a picture with my phone of my router’s password and my model number and my serial number and everything like that. That way I don’t have to keep looking on the back of my router, trying to figure out what the numbers are.
I have had to reset this password a lot of times. Is that a complaint that you get from a lot of people who use NetGear.
Daniel: No, not really, no. It’s not as clean of an experience as it should be, and each router is different. I wish there was an easier way to better cross the home. Depending on the router, you just have to login, then we have to find the settings, then change the DNS there.
Anne: Okay, so now it’s telling me what my right password is because I’ve reset it. So again, listeners as you’re hearing this real time and you are bored to tears. I wish I had a drum roll sound.
Anne: It worked! I’m in.
Okay, so the first thing it says is enable circle with Disney. Should I say no?
Daniel: No for now, yeah, while we’re configuring it.
Anne: Okay, I am in!
Anne: For our listeners if you have NetGear it’s routerlogin.com and then if you need to reset your password you can. Otherwise, that’s where you’re supposed to be.
Okay, next step.
Clean Browsing Can Keep Children Safe
Daniel: So, the next step is you need to look for, I think it’s a tab called internet. See if you can find it there. And then at the bottom you should see an option that’s called domain name server, DNS addresses. Do you see one? It should have 2 options. One of them is get automatically for your ISB and the other should be use those DNS servers, right? So, you need to change from get automatically from your ISB to use those DNS servers.
Anne: Got it. Okay, now on that I’ve got 2 options. A primary DNS and a secondary DNS.
Daniel: We have 2 DNS servers so it’s 220.127.116.11 and the second one is 18.104.22.168
Anne: Okay. So now I am entering these in. People who are listening. You cannot copy and paste into this. You have to type it in.
Daniel: If you go to our main website, cleanbrowsing.org, and you see the getting started page, it will explain the steps. And notice that you have two filters. One is the family filter that is kind of aggressive, so it blocks all adult content. It also enforces safe search on Google, Bing, and it also enforces Youtube restrict mode. So, it restricts some features on Youtube. It also blocks comments on Youtube. It also blocks all mixed content sites, which are sites that have both adult content and some good content. So, for example, Reddit gets blocked on the family filter.
Now, the adult filter is a bit less aggressive. It only blocks adult content and enforces safe search. It doesn’t block those mixed content sites. So, you always have those two options.
Internet Safety Involves Many Layers
Anne: Okay, awesome. So, the ones that I just entered in, is that for family filtering or?
Daniel: That’s the family filter. It’s the most aggressive one.
Anne: Give me the most aggressive one. I love it. As long as it doesn’t filter out BTR I’m happy.
Daniel: No it won’t.
Anne: Perfect. Okay, so I’ve changed that. Now do I need to push apply?
Daniel: Click apply and that’s pretty much it. You probably need to wait between 10-15 minutes for Clean Browsing to actually start working on your computers because the router gets the setting and then every 10 minutes the computers refresh its own settings and downloads the DNS settings again from the router. So, after 10-15 minutes you’ll have a clean and safe browsing experience.
Internet Browsing Can Be Made Safe
Anne: Previous to taking to you, I had applied the settings on open DNS and that is where I tried to protect my router. What’s the difference between cleanbrowsing.org and open DNS.
Daniel: Open DNS was actually one of the tools that I tried back then 3 years ago. Open DNS does some of the basic filtering, but it had so many holes that I didn’t feel it was safe enough for my family. So, it open DNS and you go to Google and you do a search for whatever keyword you want to search you’re going to see all the images on the pages of Google, right. And on Clean Browsing I tried to cover and protect all those holes so there is no way for your kids to see bad images on Google or Bing or even Youtube and other places. We tried to cover all the angles.
Anne: Awesome. And because it’s on the router it works with every device that hooks into our wifi in our home, right?
Daniel: Yes, correct. And that’s the beauty of it because now the kids have so many devices, so many things going around online, everything now is online, right. Even your fridge might be tried to go online soon. Doing it at the router kind of covers the whole house.
Internet Safety Is Important For Family Safety
Anne: Yeah, we talked about it with Sam Black from Covenant Eyes that these are layers of swiss cheese. Every layer that we put on might have a hole, but if we layer them on top of each other and include making sure that we talk to our children about pornography. That we make sure that we educate them. Use books like Protect Young Minds. A book which is called Good Pictures/Bad Pictures. Use some of the materials from Educate and Empower Kids, How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography. I just showed my children some Fight the New Drug videos, for example, about what pornography does to their brain. All of these different levels of protection are really important. So, from your perspective, do you have any more tips besides the things we’ve talked about today to be safe online? Besides applying this filter to our routers.
Daniel: Yeah, in terms of being safe online. But, what you’ve mentioned kind of covers pretty much everything right there. It’s always about specially using really good anywhere you go, and if your giving your child even a laptop they should not be the administrator of the laptop. It should only be you, because if they’re the admin, then it opens the door for them to bypass some of your settings. So, choose good passwords and use a password manager if possible.
Be careful what you visit online because good browsing hygiene is important because even with Clean Browsing if you’re going to dirty places and you’re searching for things you shouldn’t be searching, then it may lead you to things you shouldn’t be seeing, right. So, try to follow good browser hygiene and checking things before you go, and using a good password manager. I think those are good, especially for kids. Force them to use their laptops and their devices in the open. Don’t allow the kids to hide in their room or under their bed to use their ipads, you know. We want to be seeing what they’re seeing and staying, close to them, checking their browsing history whenever you can. Especially if they are young, right. So, you’re always aware of what’s going on, who they’re talking to, and what they’re doing.
Internet Browsing Should Be Safe And Clean
Anne: I’m trying to implement these things now in my family and it was overwhelming at first, but now that I’ve started doing it, like put Covenant Eyes on all my devices, and now I’ve done this, and using Guided Access, for example. So, I know for the next half hour my daughter is going to be playing this game, but she can’t click out of it and she can’t go anywhere else, right. Then I know that this particular game is safe and it’s teaching her letters, for example, or is teaching her numbers. So, I know she’s safe in there and she can’t go anywhere else.
Still learning how to do that, it’s kind of time consuming at first. I think: Oh, I’ll just turn this on for her and I won’t turn on Guided Access sometimes, and I think: No, I have to do that, I have to make sure she’s protected.
Daniel: Yeah, it’s really cause those tools are now so easy to use. The ipads are so easy to use. The computer is so easy to use, but if you want to do it safely and do it securely, it also requires those extra steps. We need to learn what it offers and how to get it properly. I think it’s just part of being online and you need to take care of those things.
Anne: I think too that if I make it a habit, like I lock my doors every night before I go to bed, or I turn off my lights, or something like that. If I make it a habit these are the habits that we have online, then it’s much more likely that I’ll be able to keep my children safe.
Clean Browsing Must Be Implemented As A Tool
Well, I appreciate the hard work that you did to provide this amazing tool free to the world. What a blessing. Thank you so much for creating this.
Daniel Thanks for trying it out and I just want to add something. It’s free for everybody to use, but a couple months ago we added a paid option. It’s now being used by quite a few schools and businesses because they wanted an additional level of controls. For example, there were some schools that said: Hey, I love your tool, but we also want to block gaming. That’s pretty awesome, because those are now supporting the project so everybody can have their free filters, but if the schools or a business needs some additional level filtering they can also buy the page for additional control and more visibility of what’s going on.
Anne: Awesome. So, to check out those options go to cleanbrowsing.org
Daniel, thank you so much for taking the time to come on my show today.
So, give your family the gift of a clean browsing experience for free this holiday season, and connect your router to cleanbrowsing.org
We have a new Betrayal Trauma Recovery group schedule, so please go to our website and check that out. We are so grateful for our Betrayal Trauma Recovery group members.
If you’re looking for gift ideas this holiday season, please go to our books page. We have a lot of books for kids there, they’re great for moms to help protect their kids. Go to BTR.org/books.
Clean Browsing Is Effective and Useful
Then, as we have mentioned before, we are prepping for Giving Tuesday, which is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. We invite you to consider on Giving Tuesday creating a Facebook fundraiser from your Facebook page to go out for Betrayal Trauma Recovery and set a goal for 50 dollars or 100 dollars to see if you can help us raise $5000 on Giving Tuesday. And you can get a head start on that by going to our site BTR.org, scrolling down to the bottom, and clicking on make a donation. Your donations enable us to continue taking this podcast and this message to all the world.
I know Thanksgiving can be difficult. This is the first Thanksgiving that I will be completely without my children for four days, and it’s really hard to have to be without my children due to the choices of someone else. Then I continue to have the negative consequences of that for something that I didn’t do. Those of you who are struggling during the holiday season with issues with your children or just simply being at a Thanksgiving dinner with someone who is abusive to you, but then looks kind and happy with everyone else is a difficult time.
So, lets stick together this holiday season. Please join Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club so you can get support and help everyday if you need it.
Until next week, stay safe out there.