January 16, 2020

WiFi: A Kids Unfortunate Best Friend

What can parents do about it?

When it comes to WiFi, the biggest problem always comes down to troubleshooting why your internet won’t connect to any of your devices. Surprisingly, the second biggest issue of the decade is rapidly becoming the fact that your children spend the entire day using your WiFi — for who knows what purposes.

Dinnertime disturbances be gone

In an issue as broad as the connection to the internet and how to control that for some but not others, where do parents begin? Mostly it comes down to the Router, for better or worse. The Router is the center of the wireless network, so everything needs to go through there. When it comes to controlling the WiFi for your home and those who are using it, things are not all the same. Parents are obviously going to want to use more features and have more access than they want for their children, which thankfully can be done with many newer router models on the market.

Lots of routers allow for control when it comes to who can use what. Routers that allow the usage of user profiles help the biggest issues. It’s possible to easily control when the WiFi can be used by who with these options. For example, if you want the WiFi to not function on a certain device past a certain time, a bedtime if you will, or dinner time —it’s user friendly and easy to change within the router’s settings. If you’re using Google WiFi, here’s a quick example of how its possible to change these settings on your devices to restrict access for some, but not all users.

Google WiFi is fairly new and has a few quirks, for example it’s easy for our tech savvy children to just give themselves the access they’d like. It’s a bit difficult, because even if the router is reset, they would need the parent’s login credentials still to change any settings; but sometimes parents make that information a little too easy to access. Be sure you’re hiding your accounts and passwords if you take this route with your setup. Google WiFi still remains pretty foolproof when it comes to children not being able to bypass these restrictions. There’s a few other options available that are also a bit cheaper for those not looking to spend a pretty penny on their children's WiFi safety measures.

WiFi is the way of the future for our children, so its important to guide them with parental controls and set times of usage

Disney sells a wireless addition which simply connects to the router —by doing this it makes it possible for parents to create WiFi options that make it easy to create a foolproof system to keep wireless connections out of dinnertime. The product’s name is Circle (by Disney), but it doesn’t come without a few setbacks. While it is incredibly affordable, only costing $59, it only works with certain routers. Make sure you have one that is compatible, and avoid the return hassle before you buy one.

Router Limits can help you see everything your kids do on the Cloud - and your guests (yikes!)

If you’re turned off by the Disney Circle, there’s a few more options to consider. Router Limits offers a slightly different approach by keeping all of your home’s internet traffic on the Cloud. What this means is that everything that passes through your Router will be transferred through a program which allows the master user to see everything happening on the network. The pro of this access is the ability for parents to see every user and device along with it’s actions. This is a great way to have some important talks with your kids while keeping them away from the scary stuff the web can offer. It’s possible to filter out almost any type of website using this service, so it’s very useful when it comes to restricting certain types of traffic. Unfortunately there are two large cons with this device. The first one is that it can’t set dead zone limits (dinner time and bedtime won’t mean anything to this device), and the second is that it shows what everyone is doing on the network, so you might want to let your friends know what they’re getting themselves into when they ask for your WiFi password (yikes!).

There’s a few other problems to consider when it comes to tackling the issue of WiFi, such as the possible workarounds children can think of. Since children these days are much more into technology than their parents were (anyone remember the computers we had as children even in the 90's?) they know a lot of stuff that we don’t. For example, even something as simple as Google Chrome’s Incognito Mode can be entirely unbeknownst to a parent from their children.

Kids can conceal their history not only from themselves, but from their parents too.

Without getting into the even more technical workarounds such as hiding Proxies and things that even I wouldn’t be able to fully wrap my head around, the main point is simple: Make sure you do your research when you’re spending all this money on limiting what children can do. With a few steps it’s possible to find and block several workarounds from your children such as the Incognito Mode on Google Chrome. It’s always an important role in a parents life to always be one step ahead of the child. Fortunately there’s a quick learning curve when following some simple internet steps to stay ahead of the curve as a parent.

Make sure you do your research when you’re spending all this money on limiting what children can do.

It’s always a good idea to consult your local Audio Video installers to help make sure everything is foolproof with your WiFi solutions. There’s several reputable dealers in the Bay Area — such as Regent5 — that can offer several solutions to this annoying problem that parents have to deal with on a regular basis. They can offer help with other issues as well, and help tackle all your homes needs at once.

Let’s make sure their innocence stays intact as long as possible

Don’t fret parents, it’s easy to come up with a good solution when you worry about what children might be doing with their time on the internet. Children can become over saturated with internet time and can find a lot of things they shouldn’t be in very easily without controls on what and when they do. Thankfully it’s possible to save their innocence at least until they’re a bit older with these WiFi controls — as long as they’re done right and have all the bases covered. Make sure they can’t slip through the cracks and find a workaround and you’ll be all set with your home WiFi.