How does SafeZone actually work?

We get a few questions from people about SafeZone and how it really works. Can my kids cleverly hack it or somehow get around it? Is it really going to protect me? Is it spying on me?

Here is some information that should hopefully answer most of your questions, and put your mind at ease about how SafeZone works and what its benefits are.

Getting around the internet - introducing DNS

The internet is made up of locations (websites, servers, individual homes, businesses, etc) that are each allocated what is known as an Internet Protocol Address (or IP Address). The current worldwide practice is to use the IPv4 standard for these IP addresses, which you will see expressed as 4 groups of 1-3 digits separated by a dot. For example, our website has the IP Address of 104.20.5.103

Currently there are just over 4.3 million IP addresses available for use worldwide. Now you could use these IP addresses to find websites... but not only is does it make it incredibly difficult to remember these addresses, it also impacts the security of these websites.

Which is why we use domain names to reference websites, which translate the IP address into something more memorable and useful to humans (like www.StuffFibre.co.nz). And there are servers the world over, known as Domain Name Servers (DNS) that store the records of all of the website IP addresses matched to the name that has been allocated to them.

At every internet service provider you will be using a domain name server to look up website addresses for you. You can use other DNS settings if you like, although it is strongly recommended that you use the one automatically allocated to you by your provider to ensure the best response times and internet experience.

How SafeZone uses DNS and IP addresses to help protect you

We have partnered with the very clever team at Bypass Networks, to offer all of our customers our SafeZone product free of charge. It is very exciting for us, as we care deeply about our children and our community, and believe that there should be ways in which we can protect them easily and affordably.

As I'm sure you have already seen and heard, the internet is full of a whole range of things, some of which are less than savoury. SafeZone is a way for you to filter out this content or activity, and we have made it as simple as possible for you achieve the outcome you desire.

How does it do this? Well simply put, when you turn it on, SafeZone becomes your DNS for routing traffic from your entire home and out into the internet. When you type in a website or IP address, it compares that to the list you have chosen to give it of websites that are approved, and either lets the request through, or redirects you to our splash page to let you know its blocked. Simple.

How do I set it up? We have built all of the SafeZone functions into your MyStuff dashboard, and made it as easy as possible. There are categories of websites grouped together by type, and you can turn on SafeZone to filter out each category, or leave it off to let that category through. We have even added the ability to block specific social media sites, if you are worried about cyber-bullying for your children. And to make it really easy, we even have pre-defined groups of settings that we have set up by age ranges - so that you can easily set it up for your pre-school children, or set it back to an adult setting. Easy.

For specific instructions on how to setup and change your own SafeZone, please refer to this handy article.

How safe is it really?

The sad reality of the internet, just like what makes it exciting and revolutionary, is that unsavoury content will always be around and more will be added. It is also a fact that it is probably always going to be impossible to filter out completely any part of it - and since we live in a democracy that's probably a good thing. Each person and household has their own choice about what they consider acceptable or not.

Whilst it is not 100% foolproof, we are confident SafeZone is a huge step in the right direction. Combined with the right education and some personal monitoring, you can be comfortable that your children will be well protected from the vast majority of the content you dont want them to see. And best of all, its free! So you can test it out and play around with it, and let us know if its working for you.

Can my kids get around it? Often we are asked this question. This is because a lot of parental control programs and apps out there require installation on a device, and can be turned off or removed by more enterprising young users. Since our SafeZone product sits outside of your home, and back in our Network, it protects your entire home at all times. Once someone is connected to your home network, the SafeZone rules apply regardless of how they set up their own device. And you can then choose the level of filtering yourself, even when you are away from home!

Is it spying on me? Do you record information about me?

Your privacy is of utmost importance to us. You can rest assured that SafeZone is not spying on you, nor is it providing any information to third parties. It performs the same function as a DNS service - it receives requests from you to direct traffic, and it will respond to you with the website or a special splash page.

SafeZone is also not a deep packet inspection (DPI) program, so it cannot see what you are doing on the internet. Your emails, the files your exchange, and the conversations you have on social media, video calls and the like, are completely safe with SafeZone. It will simply filter out access to the content as you choose, and nothing more.

We also protect you by virtue of our Privacy Policy, and you should read it to make sure you understand your rights and protections.

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