The internet is now as much a part of our lives as electricity and running water. But for most parents the question is how to make it safe for their kids. There are really only two things that you need to consider if this is the case.
- The amount of time that your kids get to spend on the internet
- What they get to see on the internet
How much time your kids should be spending on the internet is up to you and your child. Local experts such as Jill Goldson and Nigel Latta have covered this topic extensively. This post is about how you can manage the internet in a simple and no fuss manner.
You can begin by replacing the router supplied by your ISP, Netgear routers are a great tool for filtering content and managing access to the internet. You might be able to achieve some scheduling and content filtering on the router from your ISP but changes are tedious and slow to make. With a Netgear router you can easily schedule the time that your children can use the internet, or manually control access to the internet with the Netgear Parental Control App. The router will also permit you to filter up to 50 different content categories.
You can setup multiple user profiles for individual users and devices. Young children can be protected from viewing any disturbing content, while adolescents might only need to have inappropriate categories blocked. Homework time might allow for internet use with Facebook and Instagram access blocked. Switching off the router to prevent access by the children becomes a thing of the past.
Make sure you balance the parental control feature with other other aspects of performance, such as the speed and quality of wi-fi, support for multiple multiple users, and the ability to prioritise the types of data streams such as video and VoIP connections.
Placing your router
Depending on how large your house is and where the router will be located, you may wish to get a router with wi-fi that is powerful enough to extend throughout the house. For smaller homes where the router will be in a central location this is a good option.
In larger houses where the router might not be ideally positioned it’s often more effective getting a Netgear router with lesser wi-fi, then adding extra wi-fi access points for more effective wi-fi coverage over the house. The Parental Control App will still be effective.
OpenDNS is a great alternative if you just want content filtering and monitoring and you would prefer not to change your router. It is a very cost effective cloud-based subscription service (USD20 per year). Once you have set it up, the service will cover all devices in your home network.
You can choose to filter the content of up to 40 categories and even block specific websites. Or you can simply monitor the activity on your network. Depending on what stage your kids are at, especially if they are older, sometimes all you need is the assurance that their viewing habits are appropriate.
These solutions aren’t the only way to setup a great home network, but they are some of the easiest ways to ensure your family is kept safe from content you’d rather they wouldn’t see. If you have any further questions about how to get the best internet and make it safe for your kids, feel free to contact CODA for a free, no obligation chat.