Parental controls are an important part of every parent whose kids own smartphones and computers. While you can’t watch their every move, you can filter out sites you don’t want your kids to visit. Some programs also alert you when your kids attempt to visit blocked sites.
Unfortunately, the software doesn’t work properly on all devices. Some offer more controls for Android and Windows phones and little to no support on iPhones. In this article, we explore how parental controls perform in managing Wi-Fi access by your kids.
Some routers come with a parental control package. Check it out before you buy an independent parental control program. Many routers provide control through web configuration. You receive an IP address that resembles something like this: 188.8.131.52. Click it and you’re introduced to the router’s website.
Some routers group parental control features together with Firewall settings. This doesn’t apply to all routers, so check around to find out if such features even exist. If you find anything related to “restrictions” on your account page, then it’s possible to filter out content for your kids through your router alone.
Most routers offer parental control in the form of sites you can block. If it’s YouTube you want to block, enter the name or a URL like youtube.com. Advanced routers also allow you to make schedules for blocked content. Make sure you test the service though. Not many routers are as effective at blocking sites as parental control software.
Wi-Fi Restriction Apps
Yes, there are apps that help organize devices that use your home Wi-Fi in a better manner. Most routers also allow you to block and unblock devices using your home’s network. Parental control Wi-Fi blockers pack more features, including the ability to block sites visited by your kids.
A typical Wi-Fi restriction app lets you place time limits on your home Wi-Fi. That way, your kid loses connection after his or her time limit is over. The best apps are organized to allow better management for kids of different age groups.
The best advantage of using parental controls that manage Wi-Fi networks is that they cover all devices used by your home network. If you block access to Facebook, your kid can’t access the social network irrespective of which device they choose. Of course, this is also a disadvantage. Settings made on a Wi-Fi network cuts across all device that use that network.
Parental Controls with Wi-Fi Settings
In many cases, it’s the routers that add parental control features and not the other way round. Parental controls focus on giving you authority over how your kids use their phones and laptops. It would make sense if reputable parental controls also offered Wi-Fi restrictions, but this would come with some limits.
First, parental controls would have to be compatible with most routers. There are hundreds of popular router manufacturers around the world, each with different settings. Worse, the best routers already feature parental controls.
Most reputable parental controls, including Qustodio, come with every feature required to guide your kids’ use of the Internet. However, the controls are not related to Wi-Fi settings. Instead, modern parental control software works in the following ways.
- Account Creation
The first step before you can access parental control settings involves creating an account on the platform. Both Qustodio and Norton Family Premier allow you to create an account on the web or through their respective apps.
Basically, you provide your personal details and information related to the people whose Internet access you want to restrict. The next step involves installing parental control’s mobile or desktop app. This confirms you own the devices you want to manage. It also makes it possible for the controls to block content and send you updates related to your kids’ Internet searches.
- What Parental Controls Cover
Parental controls mostly manage access to the Internet. They feature dozens of filters that range from news to entertainment, social networks to religion. As a parent, you select sites you are okay with and block what you believe your kids shouldn’t have access to.
The best parental controls do more than block access to online websites. They also update you on a regular basis. You receive complete details on sites your child has visited in the past 24 hours or several days.
In addition to the Internet, some parental controls also monitor texts and calls. Norton Family Premier, for example, records texts made on Android devices and Windows phones. You get a rundown of all texts once in a while plus you are also able to block contacts you don’t want your kids to be involved with.
- Supported Devices and Costs
The best parental controls function on all major devices: Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. If your children use any of the aforementioned operating systems, there is a way to manage their devices. The best controls are inexpensive and don’t put a limit to the number of devices you can manage.
Each parental control has its pros and cons though. Qustodio, for example, has tiered packages. There is a free package that offers a few settings. The company’s package for five devices cost $54.95 while a plan for 10 devices cost $96.95.
Norton Family Premier has one plan for $49.99 and covers an unlimited number of devices. There are more controls out there, including Net Nanny and Kaspersky Safe Kids that charge as little as $14.99 per month. Before you purchase any parental control package, check out everything that is covered.
Most parental control software programs are designed to monitor phones and laptops, not routers. As such, they customize their features to block content accessed through devices and not via home routers. Some routers also feature parental controls, but they are mostly basic features.
If you are looking for comprehensive parental control services, choose companies in that line of business. You will be able to monitor any number of devices you want with a single account. You also receive updates of everything your kids search online, which makes it easier to manage what they do.