A challenge that all modern parents face is controlling screen time for children. This is not as simple as it once was because there are screens throughout our homes and many kids even have their own tablets.
Focus on Controlling Wi-Fi
The prevalence of screens in the modern home has made controlling screen time a growing problem for parents, and for many parents, the pandemic has exacerbated the issue. After all, kids have had to do much of their schoolwork through a screen. A common reason parents struggle to deal with this issue is that they focus on the screens themselves instead of the source of the content that the children are consuming. If you control the Wi-Fi and thus their easy access to the internet, the problem is much simpler to manage.
Invest in a Wi-Fi Router With Parental Controls
The easier way to control access for your children is purchase a router that has parental controls. The more parent control features and customization options the better. With this investment, you are no longer worried about controlling your children’s internet consumption habits on a per-device basis. You can do it at the source, and the choices you make will affect all of the devices in your home.
A key feature of parental router controls is scheduling. You can dictate when Wi-Fi is and is not available. You can also set up special permissions so that mom and dad, for instance, are not blocked just because it is time for the kids to do some written work or get some fresh air. Another important feature is pause. This gives you the power to pause the connection right then and there, which can be invaluable, for instance, if the children are being inattentive or naughty.
Restrict Content on a Per-Device Basis
You can restrict access on a per-device basis, such as blocking Twitter on a child’s tablet. Such blocks can be quite sophisticated, such as only allowing the kids’ tablets to access the kid account on Netflix, Dish TV or Flex TV. This gets even easier and more powerful when the content provider you are attempting to control provides settings specifically for parents, and most content providers now do.
Keeping Your Current Router
What if you love your current router that does not have parental controls? An alternative to a router with parent controls is a parent control accessory that you can attach to the router. Some of these devices are quite powerful, but is also worth mentioning they often require a subscription, which can make them the more expensive option. A great example of this is Circle, which is one of the more popular parent control devices. The initial cost is just around $70. But after your 14-day free trial, you are looking at $10 a month—or $90 a year if you are willing to pay up front.
Wi-Fi Blocking App
What if you simply cannot fit another big purchase or subscription into your current budget? Consider a Wi-Fi blocking app. Most of the good ones are not free either, but you are a looking at a one-time fee of around $5 and at most $10. WiFi Blocker is a great example. Be aware that not all of these apps work with all routers. Check your router model number and then ensure compatibility before you make a decision. These apps are a bit more hands-on but can also be quite powerful once you have mastered them.