In an age where information is literally at the fingertips of anyone, it is normal for parents to be more concerned than ever about what their children are doing or viewing online. It seems daunting and nearly impossible to allow children to use the internet as they might need to for school, but still keep them safe from harmful information.
Thankfully, there are parental control options out on the market to make all of our jobs easier and to help us sleep better at night. Some routers have parental controls built-in while others have separate devices.
What to Look for In a Parental Control Router
When you are looking for router that has parental controls, there are a few things that you should take into consideration. To begin with, you should make sure that the router has content filtering. This type of filter can limit the types of websites or videos that can be accessed across the network. The ideal router would be able to allow you to indicate which devices need the strongest lockdown, ensuring that the devices that your children are using are completely safe.
Next, your router should have time limit options or scheduling, allowing you to control when the internet can be accessed on certain devices. Not all routers come with that feature so you should pay close attention. Being able to access this through a mobile device on your phone would also make the process much simpler.
Finally, you should be able to see what has been going on throughout the network with the use of a site history usage log. You can then see which websites your children are visiting and how much time they are spending online. BlueGadgetTooth has a list of the best routers for parental controls if you would like more specific models to use as a jumping off point in your search.
There are other options out there, instead of simply buying a router that has a lot of parental lockdowns on it. In fact, there are some devices that act like routers that will create a whole separate system for your children’s devices. These routers completely limit what can happen with the devices connected to it and even have a kill-switch option to disable the internet, without causing the adults to lose access at the same time.
Some computers also have children-safe modes or account access that will prevent certain websites from being accessed. It is also a good idea to have Safe Search on your browsers to keep search engines from returning inappropriate content.
What to Block
If you are wondering what type of content should be blocked for your children, it is not an easy question. The answer would vary greatly from home to home, where some parents would allow children to see some things that other households would not approve of. That said, you can still make sure that there is not explicit content that children should not have access to.
In addition, social media has become a mine field of cyberbullying and other cybersecurity concerns. If your child has already had access to these sites, it might be best to start with a conversation before jumping straight to blocking out all social media. All the same, these sites may need a good kind of filter and need limited access to.
Setting Up Controls
Some routers will come with controls in place. Every device is different, but you likely need to log into your router’s settings and configure them to be able to filter out what you would like it to. You can also change your router’s DNS server to use OpenDNS, which will let you choose which types of websites that you would like to be blocked from your router.
Whichever router that you decide to go with, make sure it has all of the control options that you really want to get the level of security you need.